Last Saturday, the City of Bell convened an historic, open-to-the-public budget planning session that was the first of its kind in Bell and kicked off the city’s mission to be the most open, accountable and transparent muncipality in California.
In attendance were new mayor Ali Saleh and the City Council, as well many residents eager to take part in an open and transparent session with their city government.
The above video from the session captures the renewed spirit of Bell. The mayor and city council have a clear mission: to ensure that all their constituents feel like a stakeholder in the city’s governing process.
It was abundatly clear that those who participated were eager to dive in at the beginning and very enthusiastic about the new processes after it was done. The reciprocity between local officials and their constituents is the type of two-way dialogue that needs to happen in every corner of the state.
Who knew it would be happening in Bell so quickly? The scandal of 2010 was a necessary evil of sorts. It catalyzed the institutional house-cleaning necessary to affect the type of change we saw effervescing from every corner of the room on Saturday.
Out of the ashes, a new model of governance is rising – one based on openness and civic engagement. This ensures processes are transparent and leaders are accountable to the people who elected them.
These are virtues we espouse every day at California Forward, and we applaud Bell for making such a drastic turnaround in such a short amount of time, positioning themselves as standard-bearers on the right end of the spectrum in California.