Maria Rivera is an associate justice for the First District Court of Appeal, Division Four, where she has served since January 2002. From January 1997 to January 2002, she was a judge of the Superior Court in Contra Costa County. She can be reached at Maria.Rivera@jud.ca.gov.
This article is excerpted and condensed from a speech given by Justice Rivera to the League’s City Attorneys Conference on May 3, 2007, in Monterey, California.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A good public servant becomes so at a high cost of personal sacrifice. We need such men and women; when we find them we owe them our gratitude and, above all, our respect.”
Special thanks to the following California Association of Public Information Officials members who contributed to the on-site conference newsletter and this article, and helped staff the conference media room: Ann Erdman, public information officer, Pasadena; Brad Rovanpera, public information officer, Walnut Creek; Judy Franz, retired deputy city manager, Santa Monica; Mark Mazzaferro, public information officer, Vacaville; Mike Maxfield, public information officer, Yorba Linda; Scott Summerfield, principal, SAE Communications; Sue Schlerf, assistant city manager, Reno, Nev.; and Tom Manheim, public outreach manager, San Jose.
Rod Diridon Jr. was a founding member of both the Santa Clara Campaign Finance Reform Committee (chair) and the Ethics Ordinance Committee. He is a former two-term city council member and currently the city auditor and elected city clerk for the City of Santa Clara. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Santa Clara won the Grand Prize in the Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics and Community Involvement category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.
For many, “ethical government” is an oxymoron. At all levels of government, too many disappointments in promising candidates have made voters skeptical and cynical about the ability of government officials to achieve a high professional standard of ethics.
The City of Pittsburg won an Award for Excellence in the Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics and Community Involvement category of the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.
Pittsburg is a historic city in the east San Francisco Bay Area with many older established neighborhoods, some of which are showing their age and have fallen into disrepair and blight. In 2004, the city launched a major redevelopment effort aimed at various commercial and industrial areas — but primarily focused on downtown. Longtime residents expressed dismay that they were being left behind and the city didn’t care about their issues or improving older neighborhoods. Although various municipal departments were working to address these issues, there was no uniform action plan among the various departments to effectively demonstrate these efforts to residents.
This column is a service of the Institute for Local Government (ILG) Ethics Project, which offers resources on public service ethics for local officials. For more information, visit www.ca-ilg.org/trust. ILG is grateful to these individuals for their assistance in preparing this article: Dan Purnell, executive director, Oakland Ethics Commission; Heather Mahood, assistant city attorney, Long Beach; Jennifer Sparacino, city manager, City of Santa Clara; and Carol McCarthy, deputy city manager, City of Santa Clara. Generous funding for the development of this column was provided by the International City-County Management Association (ICMA) Retirement Corporation (www.icmarc.org), whose mission is to build retirement security for the public sector.
We have a citizens’ group in our community considering whether to propose establishing an ethics commission. We have looked for information about ethics commissions but have not really found much. Can you help?