Adoption and Amendments to the San Bernardino City Charter by Election

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The City of San Bernardino is a charter city, and since the charter was first adopted on January 6, 1905, it has been amended from time to time, with a complete readoption in 2005.

Below is a list of dates when the voters of San Bernardino considered adopting, adding to, or amending existing sections to the Charter of the City of San Bernardino.  There is at least one other election in the mid 1950s which added section 186 to the Charter.  Not all measures passed, most notably the Measure M election on November 7, 2000 and the Measure C election on November 2, 2010.  There are probably elections with failed charter sections that are not listed.

January 6, 1905 [Special Charter Election, Charter of the City of San Bernardino, adopted by a majority]

December 8, 1908 [Special Municipal Election, Unknown title amending section 182 (Chief of Police), amending section 195, Subdivision 13 (Schools, Non-Residents),  and added Section 238a  (Wage and Hour Law for Public Works) , adopted by a majority]

April 18, 1913 [Proposed by Mayor and Common Council as “Proposed charter amendment number one”, amending section 133 (Bonded Indebtedness), adopted by a majority] [Special Municipal Election]

March 18, 1919 [Proposed by Mayor and Common Council, “Proposed Charter Amendment No.1, No.2, No.3, No.4, and No. 5, adopted by a majority] Special Municipal Election]

April 11, 1921 [Proposed by Mayor and Common Council, “Proposed Charter amendment number one”  amending section 1, “Proposed charter amendment two” repealing section 10, “Proposed Charter amendment three” amending section 40, “Proposed amendment Four, repealing section 224, “Proposed charter amendment number five” repealing section 234, and “Proposed charter amendment number two”, amending section 133 (Bonded Indebtedness , adopted by a majority [Special Municipal Election]

November 7, 1922 [Special Municipal Election]

November 4, 1924  [Special Municipal Election]

April 13, 1925 [Special Municipal Election]

April 8, 1935 [Proposed Charter Amendments 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, all adopted] [Special Municipal Election]

March 15, 1937 [Proposed Charter Amendments 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 adopted, amendment 5 defeated] [Special Municipal Election]

March 20, 1939 [Proposed Charter Amendment No. 1, adopted by a majority]  [Municipal Primary Election]

November 3, 1942 [Propositions Number One, Two and Three, adopted by a majority, Propositions Number Four, Five, Six, and seven defeated]  [Special Municipal Election]

May 16, 1944 [Special Municipal Election]

November 7, 1944 [Proposed Charter Amendment Two and Three adopted by a majority, Proposed Charter Amendment One defeated, Special Municipal Election]

March 19, 1945 [Proposed Charter Amendment No. One, Two and Three adopted by a majority] [Special Municipal Election consolidated with a Municipal Primary Election]

April 11, 1949 [Proposed Charter Amendment Number One, Two and Three] [Special Municipal Election]

March 20, 1951 [Proposed Charter Amendments Number One, Two, Three, Four, Rejected, Five, Six and Seven, adopted by a majority] [Special Municipal Election consolidated with a Municipal Primary Election]

April 12, 1955 [Proposed Charter Amendments Number 1 amending section 55 (City Attorney), Number 2, Number 3 (adding section 186 regarding police and fire salaries), adopted and Number 4, rejected]  [General Municipal Election]

June 5, 1956 [Measure N adopted by a majority, Measure O and P, rejected by a majority] [Special Municipal Election consolidated with the Consolidated Direct Primary Election]

March 19, 1957 [Primary Municipal Election]

June 3, 1958 [Special Municipal Election consolidated with the statewide Primary Election]

March 17, 1959 [Primary Municipal Election]

March 21, 1961

February 5, 1963 [adding section 116, andamending section 11,approved by a majority] [Primary Municipal Election]

February 2, 1965 [Proposed by Mayor and Common Council, amending section 141 (City Treasury), approved by a majority] [Primary Municipal Election]

June 7, 1966 [Proposed by Mayor and Common Council,  amending Section 3 (Creating 7 wards), amending sections 10, 11, 13, 14, 30, 31 136, 160, 215, 219 and 282, and repealing 53], approved by a majority] [Special Municipal Election Consolidated with the Direct Primary Election

February 4, 1969 [Proposed by Mayor and Common Council, amending sections 33, 135, 60 (City Clerk), repealing sections 136, 137, 138, 236 and 237, amending section 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 249,  [Primary Municipal Election]

February 6, 1973

June 4, 1974

November 2, 1976 [Held with a Presidential General Election]

March 6, 1979

November 1984

November 1988 [Held with a Presidential General Election]

March 7, 1989

June 2, 1992

March 7, 1995

November 5, 1996 [Measure E, Mayor’s Veto Power, adopted, (18,404 votes Yes (56.6%), 14,103 No (43.3%)] [Held with a Presidential General Election]

November 2, 1999 [Measure X, adopted (8,016 votes Yes (86.6%), 1,234 votes No (13.3%))] [Consolidated Election]

November 7, 2000 [Measure M, Adopt New Charter,  defeated (23,691 votes No (67.7%), 11,277 votes Yes (32.2%)) ] [Held with a Presidential General Election]

November 6, 2001 [Measure H, Incompatibility of Offices, adopted (5,628 votes Yes (64.3%), 3,116 votes No (35.6%)]; [Measure I, Approval for Hiring Outside Counsel, amend section 241, adopted (5,459 Yes (60.3%), 3,592 No (39.6%))] [Consolidated Election]

November 5, 2002 [Measure C, Salary of Mayor amend section 24, adopted (10,355 Yes (52.2%), 9,458 No (47.7%)]; Measure D, Council Salary, defeated (9,333 Yes (47.6%), 10,235 No (52.3%))] [General Election]

November 2, 2004 [Measure G,  Adopt New Charter (1905 Charter with changes) adopted (23,214 Yes (61.83%), 14,333 No (38.17%))] [Held with a Presidential General Election]

November 2, 2010. [Measure C, Appointed City Attorney, Treasure and Clerk, defeated, (11,333 Yes (36.86%), 19,409 No (63.14%))]  [General Election]

The tally, by decades (assuming that the first year (say, 1990) belongs to the next decade and is not the last year of the previous decade):

1900s: 2

1910s: 2

1920s: 4

1930s: 3

1940s: 5

1950s:6

1960s:5

1970s: 4

1980s: 3

1990s:4

2000s: 4

2010s: 1

By my count, attempted adoption or amending of the Charter has happened 43 times in a little over 100 years.

The history of the San Bernardino City Charter is interesting, and I will discuss it more in the future.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 1255 W. Colton Ave. Suite 104, Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 708-6055
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About Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law
Michael Reiter is a Redlands, California-based lawyer, serving San Bernardino County and Riverside County in Southern California's Inland Empire. Michael Reiter is a lawyer practicing in the following fields of law: Municipal Law, Code Enforcement Law, Small Business Law and Real Estate Law. Michael Reiter practices in all the local courts, including San Bernardino Superior Court, Riverside Superior Court, and the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Michael Reiter was admitted to the California State Bar in 1998. Michael Reiter was Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands, a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, and Staff Attorney for Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino. Michael Reiter serves all of San Bernardino and Riverside County, Orange County, and Los Angeles County. Michael Reiter can be reached at (909) 296-6708, or by electronic mail at michael@michaelreiterlaw.com. 300 E. State St. #517 Redlands CA 92373-5235

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