November 2008 Presidential Election/Measure N

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Measure N is a local ballot measure on the November 2008 Presidential Election ballot that authorizes adoption of the Davis City Charter, thus making Davis a charter city.

At the October 30, 2008 ASUCD Senate meeting, ASUCD endorsed a YES on Measure N.
Who cares about what resolutions ASUCD passes, I'm sure a bunch of effing college kids from out of town who like playing politics when they aren't distracted from what should be all consuming studies know what is best for the republic?! —StevenDaubert

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Does this measure have something to do with Choice Voting? —BrentLaabs

Yes, only as a Charter City can Davis consider using choice voting to elect city councilmembers. For more info go to [WWW]www.homerulefordavis.orgStephenSouza


2008-10-31 00:55:58   Things a charter city may do that a general law city cannot:

Government and elections
By council majority vote, and without a vote of the people:

A city council may change the form of government; e.g., strong mayor.

May establish any election rules and procedures; e.g. choice voting. district elections.

May establish criteria for office; e.g., residency requirement.
General law cities have minimum qualifications established by state law. Nothing in this charter or the present municipal code sets minimum qualifications.

May enact public financing of election campaigns.

Management

May decide how to enact ordinances.
General law cities have requirements for open reading of ordinances and a minimum of five days after they are introduced (unless they are urgency ordinances). In a charter city any ordinance can be introduced and voted on at the same meeting without prior publication.

May set council quorum. General law cities require a majority.

Council members may set their own salaries. General law cities have state limits.

Competitive bidding is not required for contracts.

Do not have to pay prevailing wage on public works projects.

Taxes and zoning
Taxation for both charter and general law cities is governed by Prop 218, but:
Charter cities may impose a tax on the transfer of property;
May impose business license taxes and fees for any purpose.

In Fremont, Mayor Bob Wasserman … “requested that Fremont once again consider becoming a charter city primarily to see if doing so would provide more options to boost revenue.” – Oakland Tribune, March 15, 2008.

Zoning changes are not required to be consistent with the general plan unless such a requirement is in the charter (it isn’t).

Source: California League of Cities
Search for:
Chart: General Law – Charter City comparison (.doc)

How many of these differences between charter cities and general law cities were you aware of? How many of these differences were the members of ASUCD aware of when they voted to endorse Measure N?

Most of these problemmatic new powers that would be granted to city councils under charter status can be easily dealt with.
—The charter can include specific language about each one; for example, stating that a public vote is required for change to choice voting or district elections, or to raise their own pay.

—Or, to make it simpler, language could be inserted that state law shall prevail unless an issue is otherwise addressed in the charter. Then any change would require a public vote as an amendment.

Either approach would protect the public from abuse of charter city status by the city council. But Measure N contains no such language.

Charter city status is not inherently bad. A well-written charter has great potential for city governance. But there are also pitfalls, and they should have been addressed before a charter proposal was put before the voters. Send this proposal back to the drawing board. Vote NO on Measure N. —DonShor

Ok, a couple things seem obvious on this measure. It allows faster results for outside special-interests as our voting for city-changing decisions shifts more to the Council, who doesn't need to let us know beforehand in various cases. City officials can set their own salaries...and I don't trust them enough to be comfortable with that. Really, the Charter removes various checks-and-balances that protect us...and no word from the proponents really on how we, the residents of Davis, keep those protections against any corruption of government power. Measure N is asking us to 'Trust us, we know what's best'. I'll wait for better language and for the Council to *convince* us that this way is better. No blank check, No on N. JeffWood

I voted against the charter, I am firmly against the concept as well for many of the reasons that JeffWood touched upon —StevenDaubert


2008-11-04 08:28:34   I'm for N. Give me more representation and choices in local voting, yes please. Any reservations about what the charter says, can be addressed as it's created, unless DonShor is correct, then we're screwed. —PxlAted :Don't zoom like a moth to the choice voting flame pxl, I swore you were more of a thinker than that! —StevenDaubert


2008-11-04 11:18:25   Er, worry about the content of the charter as it is created? Picture the Constitution being agreed upon in that manner: "Just sign this blank page...we'll fill it in later as long as you agree to whatever it will say now. Don't worry, you'll get more than you have now, we promise! Here's a pen." No on N, facts first, sign-on-the-dotted-line second. ;) — JeffWood

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