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Open Government Ordinance

UPDATE: At its meeting on March 8, 2011, City Council adopted Berkeley’s Open Government Ordinance (Ord. No. 7,166–N.S.).

The Open Government Ordinance (OGO) is a local law that provides additional assurances that community members have access to public meetings and public documents.California’s Brown Act and Public Records Act make basic guarantees to everyone in the state regarding access to public meetings and documents, but local jurisdictions may expand those guarantees by adopting laws of their own.

On January 27, 2009, the Council directed staff to analyze a Sunshine Ordinance that was provided by a group of Berkeley citizens.  A report on the fiscal impacts of the ordinance was provided to council on June 2, 2009. A staff report on the legal and procedural impacts was scheduled for the fall of 2009. On November 17, 2009, the citizen group submitted a significantly revised version of the ordinance. Staff analyzed the revised version and a council worksession was scheduled for March 23, 2010.  However, the worksession was put on hold due to a petition being circulated to place an item on a ballot.

On February 5, 2010, a citizen group submitted a Notice of Intent (NOI) to circulate a Charter Amendment petition and requested a Title and Summary from the City Attorney.

On February 18, 2010, the citizen group withdrew the Charter Amendment and submitted a NOI to circulate an initiative ordinance petition and requested a Title and Summary from the City Attorney.

The Title and Summary was provided to the proponents on March 15, 2010. The proponents also submitted their petition for review by the City Clerk on March 15, 2010. The first version was found to have defects, but a revised version was submitted and approved as to form on March 17, 2010. The proponents published the Notice of Intent (NOI) to Circulate and Title and Summary in the newspaper prior to circulating the petition. The Registrar of Voters has verified the signatures and placed it on the November 2012 General Election ballot.

A staff analysis of the initiative ordinance was provided to the City Council and the public in the May 18, 2010 City Council agenda packet. The report is available here and on the City Clerk’s website.

September 28, 2010: The City Council held a work session on Elements of an Open Government Ordinance. Click here for the workshop agenda and related materials.

January 13, 2011: City Manager memo to Berkeley City Council, and notice of upcoming January 20 Fair Campaign Practices Commission meeting. 

January 25, 2011: The City Council discuss the Open Governance Ordinance. Click here to see the agenda, staff report and Council vote.

February 15, 2011: The City Council adopts first reading of Open Governance Ordinance. Click here to see the agenda, staff report and Council vote. Note: The second reading of the ordinance was March 8 and incorporated all of the changes adopted by the Council at the February 15 meeting. 


Communications to the Mayor and Councilmembers regarding this matter may be submitted care of the City Clerk at Please contact the City Clerk Department at 981-6900 for further information regarding submission deadlines.

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