making local government more ethical


The State's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), created by the Political Reform Act of 1974, works to promote the integrity of state and local government through impartial interpretation and enforcement of political campaign, lobbying, and conflict of interest laws.

California law mandates that state officials complete an ethics training course every two years. The FPPC and the Attorney General's Office developed an online Ethics Orientation for State Officials to help them meet the requirement. In addition, under California's state lobbying disclosure law, every individual who registers as a lobbyist must periodically attend a lobbyist ethics orientation conducted by the Assembly Legislative Ethics Committee and the Senate Committee on Legislative Ethics. The course is conducted at least twice each year and there is a small fee to attend.

Fair Political Practices Commission
428 J Street, Suite 620
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (866) 275-3772 (866-ASK-FPPC)
Fax: (916) 322-0886

A 2002 report provides an overview of local government ethics ordinances throughout California and how they are enforced.

Largest Cities:

Los Angeles (3,694,820 - pop. 2000, U.S. Census Bureau)

The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission was created out of a comprehensive package of local ethics and campaign finance laws approved by voters in 1990. This independent Commission administers and enforces the law, while its staff administers mandated programs, conducts investigations, audits campaigns and meets with the community. In 2005, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa issued Executive Directive 2005-1 regarding "Ethics in Government" and circulated an "Ethics Pledge" to all General Managers. The City of Los Angeles also has a one-page Code of Ethics.

Contact information:
LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director
Los Angeles City Ethics Commission
200 N. Spring Street
City Hall, 24th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 978-1960
Fax: (213) 978-1988

San Diego (1,223,400 - pop. 2000, U.S. Census Bureau)

The San Diego Ethics Commission is governed by sections added to the San Diego Municipal Code in June of 2001. The Commission administers and enforces City ethics laws, conducts investigations and advises and educates City officials and the public about the laws. Individuals may file a Commission Complaint Form if they believe a City official has violated one or more of the City's governmental ethics laws.

Contact Information:
Stacey Fulhorst, Executive Director
City of San Deigo Ethics Commission
1010 Second Avenue, Suite 1530
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 533-3476
Fax: (619) 533-3448

San Jose (894,943 - pop. 2000, U.S. Census Bureau)

The San Jose City Council has established a Blue Ribbon Task Force on Ethics to review and revise the Ethics Provisions of the Municipal Code. In September of 2004, the Council approved a new ordinance that amends the lobbyist reporting process.

City Clerk
200 East Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 535-1260
Fax: (408) 292-6207

San Francisco (776,733 - pop. 2000, U.S. Census Bureau)

In 1993 San Francisco voters amended the City Charter to establish an Ethics Commission. The San Francisco Ethics Commission serves the public, city employees and officials and candidates for public office through education and enforcement of ethics laws. Duties include auditing campaign finance disclosure statements, lobbyist regulation, investigations of complaints, and enforcement education and training on pertinent local laws.

San Francisco Ethics Commission
30 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 3900
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 581-2300
Fax: (415) 581-2317

Largest Counties:

Los Angeles (3,871,506 - est. pop. 2003, U.S. Census Bureau)

Orange (2,957,766 - est. pop. 2003, U.S. Census Bureau)

Other links of interest:

Founded in 1955, the Institute for Local Government is the research affiliate of the League of California Cities. The Institute develops tools and raises awareness on key issues to help local agencies better serve the State's communities.

Contact Information:
JoAnne Spears
Executive Director and Ethics Program Director
Institute for Local Government
1400 K Street, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 658-8233
Fax: (916) 444-7535

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University works with students and faculty, members of the community and public to approach ethical issues more effectively in teaching, research, and action. Their website provides articles, cases, briefings, and dialogue in all fields of applied ethics.

Contact Information:
Judy Nadler
Senior Fellow, Government Ethics
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
89 Main Street
Phone: (408) 554-7892

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