This unplanned “sequel” is an attempt to generally respond to the e-mails generated by Petaluma’s Charter–A Little Civics Lesson.
More than one e-mail mentioned the fact that Bell, California is one of the 120 charter cities and suggested that the charter form of government contributed to the massive municipal “thievery” recently exposed in the press. The fact that Bell happened to be a charter city is coincidental as opposed to causative. Corruption and incompetence are not confined to any particular form of government.
Many suggested that it would be too expensive, time-consuming, and politically impossible to devote any time to working on proposed charter revisions. I fully appreciate these objections. However, when will it ever be done?
- Setting up a small commission or committee–and I mean small–of perhaps five people involves no significant cash outlay.
- I would also suggest that it be a regular body, much like the other volunteer city boards, with a charge to working out and proposing amendments in stages.
It is tempting to go for a total charter rewrite; but, I fear that would just fall into a political morass of never-ending discussion, debate, and argument serving only to provide general fodder for the press. I think it is far better to start out with small technical clean up changes that would be presented to the voters every four years as funds permit. This would get people used to the process and eventually we could work towards larger changes if needs be.
If nothing else, I suppose I have succeeded in making people aware of the general components of a California charter city and how it should be maintained.
At the end of the day, however, I am a realist. As I said in my previous article: “A pretty tall order, I realize. Please consider this one of my rare streaks of optimism. My doctor says he has a pill for it…I have an appointment tomorrow.”
I can advise that I picked up the prescription this morning!
Let’s see if it works…
Whew! That was close….