The Number One Issue in the San Bernardino City Clerk’s Election in November 2011

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The City of San Bernardino City Clerk’s Office is currently responsible for maintaining and updating the Municipal Code.  While, as I discussed before, the online municipal code is not authoritative, and should not be relied on, good government dictates that cities maintain a fairly up-to-date online municipal code.  Yet, as of the date of this post, the online City of San Bernardino Municipal Code was last revised on November 2, 2009.  This may not be the number one issue in the San Bernardino City Clerk’s Election in November 2011 for the candidates, but it should be.

My recent dealings with the San Bernardino City Clerk’s Office, and indeed my dealings in almost five years as a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, have been good.  When I asked for a copy of the garage sale ordinance, it was emailed to me right away.  They also very promptly presented me with a copy of David L. McKenna’s campaign filings in person.  I recently filed a batch of Government Claims with the City Clerk’s Office, and the staff was professional and courteous.  This is contrast to other dealings with local public entities, such as found in my post, How Not To Handle Government Claims.   The retiring City Clerk, Rachel Clark, was always very nice to me during the duration of my time with the City and after.

However, in this day and age, the online San Bernardino Municipal Code should be online because it takes time away from staff to have to provide updated information not available online.   If the City Clerk’s Office is not open, the public should be able to find out about the current code.  Lastly, even though no one should rely on an online municipal code, nor can they rely on an out-of-date municipal code. If you cannot easily find the current law, how can a resident obey the law?

If the City Clerk’s Office does not have the resources to update the code online, then it should be sent out to a private company.  I am not sure when the codification came in-house, but the City Clerk’s Office handled codification during my entire tenure at the City Attorney’s Office.  Looking at the online code, this was not always the case:

San Bernardino Municipal Code section 1.01.010 Adoption.
Pursuant to the provisions of Sections 50022.1 through 50022.8 and 50022.10 of the Government Code, there is adopted the “San Bernardino Municipal Code” as published by Book Publishing Company, Seattle, Washington, together with those secondary codes adopted by reference as authorized by the California State Legislature, save and except those portions of the secondary codes as are deleted or modified by the provisions of the “San Bernardino Municipal Code.” (Ord. 3981 §1, 1980.)

As far as I can tell, Book Publishing Company or BPC was acquired in 2001, so it no longer exists.  Yet, the Municipal Code still lists it as the Code’s publisher, and as I discussed, it was not the Code’s publisher in 2001, and possibly even before.

In 2011, there is no excuse not to have an accurate online code with timely updates.  Hopefully, the next City Clerk will immediately rectify the situation

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.

Address : 300 E. State St. Suite 517

                  Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

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 300 E. State St. #517 Redlands CA 92373-5235

2 Responses to The Number One Issue in the San Bernardino City Clerk’s Election in November 2011

  1. Pingback: Codification of the San Bernardino Municipal Code: A 2012 Update « Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law Blog

  2. Pingback: San Bernardino’s Code Enforcement Problems « Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law Blog

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