Costa Mesa gets 'A' for transparency

For the second consecutive year, Costa Mesa received an award from a national nonprofit that grades government transparency.

The city received one of 250 Sunny Awards from the Sunshine Review, which analyzed 7,000 agencies nationwide, according to a city news release.

The fourth annual award is based on a 10-point checklist that includes information available online, such as meetings, budgets, records and taxes, according to the release.

"The Sunny Awards recognize governments that make transparency a priority," Michael Barnhart, president of the Chesterfield, Va.-based Sunshine Review, said in a prepared statement. "The winners of the Sunny Awards are cities, counties and school districts that proactively share the public information that empowers citizens and keeps government accountable to the people."

Costa Mesa and Huntington Park were the only cities in California to get Sunshine Review's A-plus transparency rating.

Sunshine Review recognized Costa Mesa in 2011 with an A-plus for its online transparency. Before that, the city website had an "F" rating. The improved grade had its critics, who questioned Sunshine Review's Wikipedia-style website and city spokesman Bill Lobdell's revisions to Costa Mesa's entry.

In response, Lobdell said at the time that "nothing was manipulated or below board," and that Sunshine Review judges independently arrived at their conclusions.

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