In recent months my city has taken great lengths to provide access to resources and be more open about records that previously used to take a hurdle or seven to get to. In addition there are easier ways to request certain services and responses needed in and around the city. There are a few portals of all that I will highlight here. I am just happy that Garden Grove has taken these steps and hopefully it’ll begin a trend around the county.
Public Records Requests
The FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) is a powerful thing, and to request city-related documents and non-classified information has become easier than ever to get now. A simple form on this page will allow you to request information and get it back, most times, electronically right then and there in a matter of days, if not hours. The greatest thing I love about this is you get to see existing and previous requests as well. You can peruse those at your leisure and if you happen to find an item of interest— you’re free to click, read and/or download the item at no charge. The one recurring thing you’ll notice is there’s a lot of “political watchdogs” in the city who ask for certain items and it makes one wonder what that’s all about. But it’s there for all to read!
Now this is a great tool as well. The city set up this page where you can report various city-related concerns needing to be addressed. These include: abandoned furniture, abandoned shopping carts, environmental services, flood control, graffiti on public property, park maintenance, potholes on a public street, sidewalk/curb /gutter issues, street signs, traffic concerns, traffic signals, trees on public property, water and water wasting. For anything else you’d select Other in the menu option and a list of other resources becomes available. A great example of this would be if a street light (non-signal) is out. For this you’d be referred to SCE (Southern California Edison), of which, I didn’t know until earlier this year that they’re responsible for street lights in the city. Just like the Public Records Requests, you can see a full list of existing and previous requests as well. The only difference is your personal information (name, email & phone number) is only seen by staff and not responded to by them— as is the case on Public Records Requests.
Garden Grove Open Government
Now this is the latest feature the city has installed and it was introduced just last week. Over on this page there’s a multitude of information and resources and there’s a lot of stuff to read. At the present you can go through public meetings, the city’s municipal code, OpenGov Portal, Budget and Financial Reports (CAFR), Salary and Benefits of city employees, Labor MOUs, Business License lookup, city maps, City Manager’s (Scott Stiles) Weekly Memo and city contact information. You also get to see the city’s list of social media accounts, it’s new mobile app, learning how to do business with the city, go through your water bill, reGGIster for classes and lookup & file building permits.