The Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter, seeks attorney candidates for a voting seat on San Francisco’s open-government watchdog commission, the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force. The position is one of two whose holders are nominated by SPJ NorCal (the other is for a journalist). It was most recently held by attorney Matt Cate. 

Interested? Please email our Freedom of Information Committee with a resume and brief explanation of interest: spjnorcalfoi[at]gmail[dot]com

About the SOTF

The Sunshine Ordinance Task Force was established in 1993 to protect the public’s interest in open government. It advises the S.F. Board of Supervisors and other city departments on appropriate ways to implement the Sunshine Ordinance (Administrative Code Chapter 67), including:

-Public access to city meetings

-Access to public information and public records

-Implementation of sunshine policies  

The SOTF usually meets the first Wednesday of each month, at 4 p.m. The task force has a handful of committees which generally meet the third week of each month, also at 4 p.m.

Between meetings and preparing for them, members can expect to spend 15-20 hours a month on task force business. The amount of time depends on agenda lengths and the complexity of issues under consideration.

About the Nominations

The SOTF (established in ordinance Section 67.30(a)) has 11 voting members, whom the Board of Supervisors appoints, and two ex-officio non-voting members. The voting members must have “experience and/or demonstrated interest in the issues of citizen access and participation in local government.” Note: San Francisco residency is usually required, though sometimes that is waived.

*Voting members’ terms last two years. There is no limit on the number of consecutive or total terms a member may serve.

This is a great opportunity for people who care deeply about keeping government open and ensuring the public’s access to city meetings and information. It provides invaluable experience in serving in the public sphere and understanding how the public sector works.