Charter to Charter

There are General Law cities and Charter Cities.  General Law Cites typically follow state and federal law.  Charter Cities can kind of make up their own rules as they go along:   The following is a typical measure voted on by the people of Davis, California proposing changing their city to a Charter city.

The City of Newport Beach last changed their Charter after a vote of the people with a vote on “Term Limits” in 1994.  (Someone said that no changes had been made since 1958!)  Hmmm, how soon they forget!  In 1994, only Charter Cities could adopt “Term Limits:, making that distinction from General Law Cities, however after the passage of “Term Limits” for County and State officials in the late nineties….General Law Cities can now adopt “Term Limits” as well.

This November, the City of Newport Beach is going to offer seven or eight different proposals to Change the City Charter.  One proposal which was not included was:  Voting directly for a Mayor of the City, by the people.  Right now, any sitting councilperson only needs four votes out of seven to be elected by their political pals and/or for trade offs to various committees and board assignments. 

The changes being brought forward this November include:  Changing “Gender Designations” (so-called Gender-Neutral) …from Councilman to Councilperson and the like.  How about one prohibiting  offshore oil rigs?  Restricting the ability of the City to TAX residents.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that fees and licensing can’t be jumped with impunity.  One of the largest revisions, was the section about the “Civil Service System”.  Hmmm, perhaps something to do with pensions or retirement pay?  Who knows?   One other interesting change is that of downsizing the current Oil Well footprint within Banning Ranch, near the Huntington Beach border from 466 acres to about 20.  Thusly, allowing the build-out of Commercial/Residential developed on that land.  A particularly offensive Charter Amendent would eliminate the need of a vote of the people and a Charter Change – if the City were to sell beachfront property!

So, here we are…..updating the Newport Beach Charter!  Hmmm, sounds like a lot of money maybe involved in Charter updates – doesn’t it?  What about electing our own Mayor?  Nah, seemingly – a non-important issue when it comes to Representative Government!  Charter or General Law!  Those “good old boys” are already happy as clams – why make people running for office actually have an agenda?  And what about the funding mechanism for our debt in building our new $50 million dollar City Hall in Fashion Island?  Did we vote on that?  Or was that, just the location of where the New City Hall should go?

City Manager Dave Kiff however, assured these reporters that any time we wanted to change the Mayor electoral process – we could, as long as it coincided with any General Election cycle.

We may not want to hold our breath!  In the meantime, we will look forward to an upscale New City Hall – which is supposed to be finished in about 18 months!  Impressive!

About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.