The Recount Process: What happens during a recount?

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

California Elections Code section 15620 et seq. governs recounts requested by voters.  Any voter may file a request for a recount pursuant to Elections Code section 15620.

As discussed before, the recount is done publicly.  California Elections Code section 15629. The voter requesting the recount should request all ballots and other relevant material (which in the case of the San Bernardino City Clerk’s election, should include the voter envelopes that were not signed and the ballots not counted, in case there is a court challenge about whether the ballots were validly voted under California law).  Elections Code section 15630 says:

All ballots, whether voted or not, and any other relevant material, may be examined as part of any recount if the voter filing the declaration requesting the recount so requests. No examination of any ballot shall include touching or handling the ballot without the express consent of the elections official or the election officer supervising the special recount board. No ballot may be touched or handled during the examination unless the elections official or the elections officer supervising the special recount is present to observe the examination. Except as provided in this section no ballot shall be touched or handled by any person during the recount unless that person is the elections official, a person acting at the direction of the elections official, a member of the special recount board, or by order of the superior court.

The observers can challenge a ballot using the procedure found in Elections Code section 15631:

On recount, ballots may be challenged for incompleteness, ambiguity, or other defects, in accordance with the following procedure:

(a) The person challenging the ballot shall state the reason for the challenge.

(b) The official counting the ballot shall count it as he or she believes proper and then set it aside with a notation as to how it was counted.

(c) The elections official shall, before the recount is completed, determine whether the challenge is to be allowed. The decision of the elections official is final.

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: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

The San Bernardino City Clerk’s Election Results and The Recount Process in San Bernardino County

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The semi-official results in yesterday’s General Municipal Election for City of San Bernardino City Clerk are that Gigi Hanna won by two votes:

Last Updated: February 7, 2012 9:20 PM
Registration & Turnout
71,881 Voters
Vote Count Percent
Precinct Turnout 12,192 16.96%
Total 12,192 16.96%
City Clerk, City of San Bernardino
170/170 100.00%
Vote Count Percent
GEORGEANN ”GIGI” HANNA 6,066 50.01%
AMELIA SANCHEZ-LOPEZ 6,064 49.99%
Total 12,130 100.00%

Close elections sometimes involve recounts. It can involve a closer look to see if ballots were correctly counted by machines and if any votes counted were illegal or improperly voted.

California Elections Code section 15620 et seq. governs recounts requested by voters.  Any voter may file a request for a recount pursuant to Elections Code section 15620.  The request must be filed no later than five days after the completion of the official canvass.  The completion of the canvass occurs when the elections official signs the Certification of  Election Results.  Elections Code section 15620.

The request must be in writing, specify the contest to be recounted, and state on behalf of which candidate (in this case), slate of electors, or position on a measure it is filed.  Elections Code section 15620.  The request may specify the order in which precincts shall be recounted, it may specify the method of counting to be used, and any other relevant material to be examined.  Elections Code sections 15622, 15627, 15630.

If it is not a statewide measure, as this is not, the request needs to be filed with the county election official responsible for conducting the election.  However, the request needs to be filed with the City Clerk if it is a city election or if the city has not consolidated with the County.  Elections Code section 15620.

The election official will post a notice stating the date and place of the recount at least one day before the recount, and the candidates will be notified by overnight mail or personally.  Elections Code section 15628.

A recount is open to the public, and must start no later than seven days following the receipt of the request and shall be continued daily, except for Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, for no less than six hours a day until completed.  Elections Code sections 15626, 15629.  A manual recount must be conducted under the supervision of the election official by recount boards, (each consisting of four San Bernardino County voters), appointed by the election official.  Elections Code section 15625.  Every vote in every precinct must be recounted, or the results are null and void, and if a different candidate wins, the results of the official canvass will be changed.  Elections Code section 15632.  A copy of the results shall be posted conspicuously in the office of the election official.  Elections Code section 15633.

There is a cost associated with a recount, and the amount for this San Bernardino City Clerk General Municipal Election recount, should it occur, will depend on a variety of factors.  The election official determines the amount of the deposit necessary to cover the costs of the recount for each day.  The voter filling the request must deposit, before the start of the recount and at the beginning of each day , the amounts to cover the cost of each day.  If the results are reversed, the deposit must be returned.  Elections Code section 15624.

How much will the recount be, if one is requested?  San Bernardino County does not give the typical fees, but some other California Counties do (information was obtained from the Internet and is not necessarily reliable or up-to-date:

Santa Cruz:

COST BREAKDOWN FOR MANUAL TALLY:

  • 1 Board $240 – Supervisor Pay $325 – Cost per day $565
  • 2 Boards $480 – Supervisor Pay $500 – Cost per day $980
  • 3 Boards $720 – Supervisor Pay $675 – Cost per day $1395

Sutter:

COST AND PAYMENT
Manual Tally Recount Fees
Number of Boards Fee Per Day
1 $969.00
2 $1,674.00
3 $2,379.00

Other Costs
Item Fee
Legal Notices Actual Cost
Security Actual Cost
Computer Support $106.00/hr
Materials Actual Cost
Copy Charges Per Code/Resolution
Postage Actual Cost
County Counsel $112.00/hr
Accounting $56.57/hr

There is also an automatic manual recount established by Election Code section 15360.  By law, a random sample of ballots from every election must be recounted manually to verify the computer count.  A minimum of one percent of all votes cast is included in the process.  This must occur before the election is certified.  The automatic manual recount is open to the public.  A court explained it like this:

“1 percent manual tally” is a procedure used in California to test whether there are any discrepancies between the electronic record generated by a voting machine and what is essentially a manual audit of that electronic record. Essentially, after each election, the “official conducting the election” is to conduct a “public manual tally of the ballots tabulated” by any voting machines “cast in 1 percent of the precincts chosen at random by the elections official.” (§ 15360.)  Nguyen v. Nguyen (2008) 158 Cal.App.4th 1636, 1643.

There are court challenges available after the recount, but since the recount in this case is mere speculation, they will be discussed at a later time.

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: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

The San Bernardino General Municipal Election: A History

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Here is the election post about today’s General Municipal Election over at sbdpolitics.com.  This post is about the history of the San Bernardino Charter regarding primary and general elections.

The Charter of the City of San Bernardino created San Bernardino’s Primary Municipal and General Municipal Elections.

A primary election shall be held in said City on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March of each odd numbered year, for the nomination of candidates to be elected at the ensuing general election, and a general election shall be held in said City on the first Tuesday in May of each odd numbered year, for the election of City officers. Beginning with the primary election in 1995, and thereafter a primary election shall be held in said City on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in each odd numbered year for the nomination of candidates to be elected at the ensuing general election, and a general election shall be held in said City on the first Tuesday in February of the following even numbered year for the election of City Officers. Said election shall be conducted in the manner provided for by general law; provided, however, that the Mayor and Common Council shall have power, by ordinance, to provide for the manner of holding such election.  Charter of the City of San Bernardino section 10.

However, if someone wins a majority of votes in the Primary Municipal Election, then there is no need for a General Municipal Election:

Any candidate for any City office who at a primary election shall receive votes on a majority of all the ballots cast for candidates for the office for which such candidates seek nomination, shall be elected to such office. Where two or more candidates are to be elected to a given office and a greater number of candidates receive a majority than the number to be elected, those candidates shall be elected who secure the highest votes of those receiving such majority, and equal in number to the number to be elected. Any officer elected shall hold office until his or her successor is elected and qualifies.  Charter of the City of San Bernardino section 10A.

That is why candidates were elected at the Primary Municipal Election on November 8, 2011.  The original section 10 of the 1905 Charter read:

 The provisions of all general laws governing elections for state and county officers, not inconsistent with the provisions of this charter, are hereby adopted as the laws governing city elections for city officers, and the provisions of all laws governing general or special elections in municipalities applicable to all municipalities of the state, or to municipalities of the fifth class, and not inconsistent with the provisions of this charter, are hereby adopted as the laws governing all general or special elections held within the city, and in all elections the mayor and common council and the city clerk respectively shall exercise the powers and perform the duties conferred or imposed by law on boards of supervisors and county clerks concerning elections.

Even though there was no reference to a primary nominating election, there was one in existing state law, and there were primary elections before the 1935 adoption of the new section 10.  I have information from one such election in which the candidates actually ran on a partisan ticket to be nominated in the general election.

This section was repealed in 1921 by the voters of San Bernardino.  The a version of the current section 10 was adopted by the voters on April 8, 1935:

Section 10: A primary election shall be held in said City on the third Monday in March  of each odd numbered year, for the nomination of candidates to be elected at the ensuing general election, and a general election shall be held in said City on the second Monday in April of each odd numbered year, for the election of City officers. Said election shall be conducted in the manner provided for by general law; provided, however, that the Mayor and Common Council shall have power, by Ordinance, to provide for the manner of holding such election.

Charter section 10 was next amended in 1949 to read:

Section 10. A primary election shall be held in said City on the Third Tuesday in March of each odd numbered year, for the nomination of candidates to be elected at the ensuing general election, and a general election shall be held in said City on the Second Tuesday in April of each odd numbered year, for the Election of City Officers. Said election shall be conducted in the manner provided for by general law; provided, however, that the Mayor and Common Council shall have power, by ordinance, to provide for the manner of holding such election.

The next Charter election held on March 20, 1951 added section 10A, though not in the modern form:

Any candidate for a judicial, school, or any City office who at a primary election shall receive votes on a majority of all the ballots cast for candidates for the office for which such candidate seeks nomination, shall be elected to such office. Where two or more candidates are to be elected to a given office and a greater number of candidates receive a majority than the number to be elected, those candidates shall be elected who secure the highest votes of those receiving such majority, and equal in number to the number to be elected.

In 1966, section 10 was amended again:

Section 10. A primary election shall be held in said City on the first Tuesday in February of each odd numbered year, for the nomination of candidates to be elected at the ensuing general election, and a general election shall be held in said City on the Second Tuesday in April of each odd numbered year, for the Election of City Officers. Said election shall be conducted in the manner provided for by general law; provided, however, that the Mayor and Common Council shall have power, by ordinance, to provide for the manner of holding such election.

In the event any amendment to the Charter involving an election is ratified by the electorate and its approval by the Legislature is not reasonably anticipated to occur before the ninety (90) day period preceding such election, the Mayor and Common Council by ordinance may authorize the necessary election process and procedures to commence, change and establish the boundaries of existing and future wards and authorize related acts in preparation for the election; and such ordinances or acts will be effective and operate retrospectively, cured, ratified and validated, provided the approval of such amendment by the Legislature occurs before said election.

Section 10 was amended on June 4, 1974, and I believe it amended the section to delete the second paragraph added in 1966, and change the primary to March and the  general election to May:

Section 10. Primary and General Election. A Primary election shall be held in said  City on the first Tuesday after the first  Monday in March of each odd numbered year for the nomination of candidates to be  elected at the ensuing general election and a general election shall be held in said City on the first Tuesday in May of each odd numbered year, for the election of City Officers. Said election shall be conducted in the manner provided for by general law; provided, however, that the Mayor and Common Council shall have power by ordinance to provide for the manner of holding such election.

Section 10 was amended for on June 2, 1992 to read (which was readopted by voters in November 2004):

Section 10. Primary and General Election. A Primary election shall be held in said  City on the first Tuesday after the first  Monday in March of each odd numbered year for the nomination of candidates to be  elected at the ensuing general election and a general election shall be held in said City on the first Tuesday in May of each odd numbered year, for the election of City Officers. Beginning with the primary election in 1995, and thereafter, a primary election shall be held in said City on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in each odd numbered year for the nomination of candidates to be elected at the ensuing general election, and a general election shall be held in said City on the first Tuesday in February of the following even numbered year for the election of City Officers. Said election shall be conducted in the manner provided for by general law; provided, however, that the Mayor and Common Council shall have power by ordinance to provide for the manner of holding such election.

Section 10A was also amended on June 2, 1992:

Any candidate for a judicial, school or any City office who at a primary election shall receive votes on a majority of all the ballots cast for candidates for the office for which such candidate seeks nomination, shall be elected to such office. Where two or more candidates are to be elected to a given office and a greater number of candidates receive a majority than the number to be elected, those candidates shall be elected who secure the highest votes of those receiving such majority, and equal in number to the number to be elected.  Any officer elected shall hold office until his successor is elected and qualifies.

Section 10A was changed when the new Charter was adopted in 2004 to clean up the language regarding judicial and school election, and to put in gender neutral language in the last sentence.  However, the second line about “Where two or more candidates are to be elected to a given office and a greater number of candidates receive a majority” no longer makes sense because no City office allows more than one office holder.  It referred to the school board election, but the amendment deleted a reference to that language.  It could be useful if a “pick two” or “pick four” office is added to the Charter, but as it is currently written, it is anachronistic.

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: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

Voter Pamphlet in the February 7, 2012 San Bernardino City Clerk General Municipal Election

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters has the Voter Pamphlet online, including candidate statements, a copy of the ballot showing ballot position, voting instructions and a letter from San Bernardino City Clerk Rachel Clark.  The materials are in English and Spanish.

The General Municipal Election is the run-off from the Primary Municipal Election held in November 2011.  The top two candidates were Amelia Sanchez Lopez and Georgeann “Gigi” Hanna, and they are the only candidates in this race.  This is an all mail-in election, and the votes must be received by February 7, 2012.

For more coverage of the San Bernardino General Municipal election, go to sbdpolitics.com.

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.

Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

City of Riverside Charter Change and the City Attorney’s Office

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

I have previously written about the City of Riverside City Attorney’s Office.  In today’s Press-Enterprise, there is an article about proposed Charter changes that would limit the office of the City Manager.   The article is written by Alicia Robinson and is titled Charter changes would set limits on City Manager.  I do not know where it was located in the physical newspaper.

The section regarding the City Attorney’s Office is very interesting:

The other change removes the city manager’s authority over employees of the . . . city attorney. . . .

City Attorney Greg Priamos, who proposed the change, would only speak generally about it and would not comment on whether it was a response to a specific incident.

The charter now lets the city manager approve or disapprove hiring decisions of the city clerk and attorney. Priamos said he doesn’t think that matches the intent of the charter to keep those three positions independent.

“Having the city manager having any influence whatsoever on the personnel decisions of the city attorney can … impair the city attorney’s ability to provide independent, unbiased legal advice and counsel to my client,” which is the city as represented by the council, Priamos said.

. . .

. . . Barbara Purvis, a retired assistant city attorney . . . said she is puzzled as to why a charter change is needed. But city documents suggest former City Manager Brad Hudson was likely the impetus for the proposal.

According to documents released in response to a California Public Records Act request, former Deputy City Attorney Rachele [sic] Sterling filed an internal complaint in February alleging Hudson accessed her city emails because of her political support of Councilman Paul Davis, and because he wanted to know what city employees had told her about “improper and unethical practices in the public works department.”

In March, Sterling wrote to the council detailing alleged improprieties in awarding contracts, saying employees were directed to steer work to Hudson’s friends. Hudson and the city have denied the allegations and a city-commissioned outside legal investigation found no wrongdoing. Sterling was fired in May.

The city has never explained why Hudson was looking at the emails of one of Priamos’ subordinates, and officials have not clarified whether that could be a violation of attorney-client privilege. When asked in August, Hudson refused to say why he was looking at Sterling’s emails, but in documents from the outside law firm’s investigation, Hudson said he had heard complaints that Sterling was interfering in public works matters.

The report noted that Hudson “functioned as a supervisor” over Sterling and thus had the power under city policy to review her emails. Priamos said attorney-client privilege prevents him from discussing the email incident.

Purvis said it would be “totally improper” for anyone outside the city attorney’s office to review its employee emails. She’d like an explanation of the proposed change, she said, because the charter shouldn’t be altered without a compelling reason.

As background, Raychele Sterling was my immediate predecessor at the City of San Bernardino.  She returned to the City of Riverside in 2001, opening up the position of Deputy City Attorney in San Bernardino.  She was always very helpful to me both in the brief hour or so we discussed the cases and matters I was inheriting from her in San Bernardino, or to point me in the right direction in the Riverside City Attorney’s Office, or if I had a public works question.  I last spoke to her last year, in person, at Riverside City Hall, before her firing.  I have not spoken to her since, and I have no inside knowledge of what happened in Riverside beyond what has been reported in the Press-Enterprise.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find the charter committees proposals online, so I cannot explain the actual changes to the existing charter.  The committee will present its proposal to Council on January 24, 2012.

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: 300 E. State St. Suite 517
Redlands CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

Creating a Tracked-Changes Version of An Ordinance, Resolution, or Charter Is Helpful to The City Council or Legislative Body

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

In my series about the Charter of the City of San Bernardino, I have created tracked change versions of the Charter through the years.  I started by recreating a modern version of the 1905 Charter.   I created that by finding the Statutes of 1905, page 940.  This book is now in the public domain, having left copyright a long time ago.  Google has scanned the book.  If you look at the first page, the physical book scanned by Google was from the ” Library Leland Stanford Junior University.”  Though it is a cut-and-paste job to get from the OCR version provided by Google,  you have to go line-by-line and take out the funky annotations.

Then, as the Charter of the City of San Bernardino was updated, first (successfully) in 1908, I took the 1905 Charter, reviewed the changes added by charter amendment, and made a strike out version with additions and deletions.  Each charter amendment is in the Statutes of California for the respective year of passage, because the Legislature of the State of California had to approve the changes until the law changed, and now municipal charters must be sent to the Secretary of State, so they still appear in the Statutes of California.  You can find these at better law libraries; in particular, I can recommend the Victor Miceli Law Library, where I found the versions that I use in the series.  They also have an excellent legislative history collection.

Back to the subject at hand, here is an example of a strikeout or legislative version:

Section 133. Whenever the mayor and common council shall by ordinance or resolution, determine that the public interest or necessity demands the acquisition, construction, or completion of any municipal improvement, the cost of which would be too great to be paid out of the ordinary annual income and revenue of the city, they are hereby given the power and authority to call a special election and submit to the qualified voters of the city the proposition of incurring indebtedness to pay the cost of such improvement set forth in said ordinance or resolution. If said proposition be accepted by a two-thirds vote of the qualified electors voting at such election, the mayor and common council may issue and dispose of bonds of said city in evidence of said indebtedness.; provided that such indebtedness, together with the unpaid and outstanding bonded indebtedness actually existing at the time such proposition is submitted to said voters, shall not exceed three hundred and fifty thousand dollars.  But the city or municipal corporation of San Bernardino shall not incur any indebtedness for public improvements which shall in the aggregate exceed fifteen (15) per cent of the assessed value of all the real and personal property of said city or municipal corporation.  In all other respects not herein provided for, the procedure for calling and holding such elections and the issuance of bonds shall be governed by general law of the State of California applicable to cities of the fifth class.

A strikeout version allows the city council member (or in the case of a charter amendment, the voter to see what is being changed).   A strikeout version is particularly useful to a member of a legislative body if an entire chapter or title is being changed because it allows them to see a large amount of changes.  I recommend to any municipal attorney to consider creating a strike out version for their clients even if one is not specifically requested.

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.

Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

A: 300 E. State St. Suite 517
Redlands CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

AB 1344 (Feuer and Alejo) Chaptered: A Reaction to the City of Bell Scandal

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Even though I no longer work as Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands or a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, municipal law continues to fascinate me, and I still help governments, business entities, organizations, and private citizens with their municipal legal issues. Even if I did not, the process of municipal government and the interplay between law and politics is fascinating.

The City of Bell scandal has had a large impact on cities, from cities jettisoning the City of Bell’s auditors, to citizens taking another look at how government works.  AB1344 is an attempt to fight the last war, and try to close perceived loopholes that allowed the situation in Bell to occur.  Here is the Legislative Counsel’s Digest for this bill, which was signed by Governor Brown and chaptered on October 9, 2011, and will be operative on January 1, 2012:

AB 1344, Feuer. Local governance.

(1) Existing law requires a charter commission to submit, among other things, a city charter to the voters of a city at either a special election called for that purpose, at any established municipal election date, or at any established election date, provided that there are at least 88 days before the election. Existing law also authorizes the governing body of any city or city and county to, among other things, propose a charter and submit the proposal for the adoption to the voters at either a special election called for that purpose or at any established municipal election date or at any established election date, provided there are at least 88 days before the election.
This bill would require a city charter or charter amendment, whether submitted to the voters by a charter commission or the governing body of the city or city and county, to be submitted at the next established statewide general, statewide primary, or regularly scheduled municipal election date, provided there are at least 95 days before the election. This bill would also require a proposal to adopt a charter, whether submitted to the voters by a charter commission or the legislative body of a city or city and county to include in the ballot description an enumeration of new city powers as a result of the adoption of the charter, including, but not limited to, whether the city council will, pursuant to an adopted charter, have the power to raise its own compensation and the compensation of other city officials without voter approval.

(2) The Meyers-Milias-Brown Act contains various provisions that govern collective bargaining of local represented employees. The Ralph M. Brown Act requires that all meetings of a legislative body of a local agency be open and public and all persons be permitted to attend unless a closed session is authorized. Existing law requires all contracts of employment between an employee and a local agency employer to include a provision which provides that regardless of the term of the contract, if the contract is terminated, the maximum cash settlement that an employee may receive shall be an amount equal to the monthly salary of the employee multiplied by the number of months left on the unexpired term of the contract, with a maximum of 18 months. This bill would, on and after January 1, 2012, additionally prohibit an employment contract for a local agency executive, as defined, from providing an automatic renewal of a contract that provides for an automatic compensation increase in excess of a cost-of-living adjustment or a maximum cash settlement in excess of certain limits, as specified. By expanding the duties of local officials, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

(3) Existing law sets forth the penalties for misuse of public resources or falsifying expense reporting, including, but not limited to, loss of reimbursement privileges, restitution to the local agency, civil penalties for misuse of public resources, and prosecution for misuse of public resources, including imprisonment for 2, 3, or 4 years, and disqualification from holding office, as specified. This bill would, on and after January 1, 2012, require a contract executed or renewed between a local agency and an officer or employee of the local agency to include a provision that requires an officer or employee of a local agency who is convicted of a crime involving an abuse of his or her office or position, as defined, to fully reimburse the local agency for specified payments made by that local agency to the officer or employee. The bill would also require an officer or employee of the local agency, who is convicted of a crime involving an abuse of his or her office, to fully reimburse any such payments that are made by the local agency in the absence of a contractual obligation between the agency and the officer or employee.

(4) The Ralph M. Brown Act enables the legislative body of a local agency to call both regular and special meetings. The act requires the legislative body of a local agency to post an agenda containing a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed at a regular meeting, in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public. The act also requires the presiding officer of the legislative body to deliver written notice to each member of the legislative body, and to each local newspaper of general circulation and radio or television station requesting notice in writing if the presiding officer of the legislative body calls a special meeting. This bill would require the legislative body, or the presiding officer of the legislative body, to provide notice of each meeting, including special meetings, on the local agency’s Internet Web site, if the local agency has one, as specified. In addition, this bill would prohibit any legislative body from holding a special meeting regarding the salary, salary schedule, or other form of compensation for any local agency executive.

(5) The bill would express a legislative finding and declaration that, to ensure the statewide integrity of local government, the provisions of the act are an issue of statewide concern and that, therefore, all counties and cities, including charter counties, charter cities, and charter cities and counties, would be subject to the provisions of the bill.

(6) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.

Specifically, this bill amends Elections Code sections 9255 and 9260; adds Chapter 10.1, commencing with section 3511.1 to Division 4 of Title 1 of the Government Code; amends Government Code sections 34457 and 34458; adds Government Code section 34458.5, Adds Article 2, commencing with section 53243 to Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2  of Title 5 of the Government Code,  amends Government Code sections 54954.2 and 54956.

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: 300 E. State St. Suite 517
      Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

Looking for San Bernardino County Politics? Go to sbdpolitics.com

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

I have started a companion site for the political posts called sbdpolitics.com.   I will probably cross-post now and then between the blogs, especially during election season.  However, the idea is for sbdpolitics to contain the vast majority of political, versus legal, postings.  This blog, michaelreiterlaw.wordpress.com, will include municipal law topics, but less pure political posts.

The new site will be similar to this one: neutral, original content, value-added commentary, not a rehash or aggregators, and not a troll haven.  I invite people to comment, but commenters have to use your real name and not a pseudonym.  The design will hopefully improve over time.

Feel free to read both blogs, I will continue to write on municipal law and other legal subjects at michaelreiterlaw.wordpress.com, as well as about other legal topics.  There are links to sbdpolitics.com under the title, and in the links on the right of this blog.

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: 300 E. State St. Suite 517
      Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

How Did the Candidates Endorsed by the PE and Sun Fare In The November 2011 San Bernardino Elections?

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

How did the local press do with their endorsed candidates?

The Sun endorsed:

San Bernardino City Council:

  • 3rd Ward: Tobin Brinker
  • 5th Ward: Chas Kelley
  • 7th Ward: Jim Mulvihill
  • San Bernardino City Attorney
  • David McKenna
  • San Bernardino City Clerk
  • Gigi Hanna

Of the City of San Bernardino races the Sun’s editorial board endorsed, the Sun went 1-3-1.  The tie was Gigi Hanna, who made the run-off for San Bernardino City Clerk.

How about our friendly neighbors to the south from the Riverside Press-Enterprise?:

David McKenna, Tobin Brinker, Chas Kelley and Jim Mulvihill.

How did they do?  1-3.

Either an anonymous wag, a hyperpartisan blogger or a paid political consultant said that a Sun or Press-Enterprise Endorsement was a kiss of death, but I would characterize the endorsements as largely irrelevant.  I think the one place that the endorsement may have helped a candidate is Gigi Hanna, because though she has lived in San Bernardino for some time, she was not as well known as some of the other choices.

What about the other periodicals? The Black Voice News: Lynda Savage, Mike Gallo, Juan Lopez and Margaret Hill for San Bernardino City Unified School District Board.  Not bad, they were 3 for 4.  How about the City of San Bernardino?  A bloodbath.  They endorsed Tobin Brinker, Larry Lee, Rikke Van Johnson, Jim Mulvihill, Esther Jiminez and David McKenna.  Of course, Rikke Van Johnson won because he was unopposed.  Otherwise, The Black Voice News’ picks all lost.

Cross-posted at sbdpolitics.com

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.

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The Absolute Last City Attorney James F. Penman For City Attorney Mailer for the November 8, 2011 Election

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Now that most of the election is over, it is time to refocus this blog on law.  So, let me start with this election campaign maxim from California Civil Code section 3357:

Superfluity does not vitiate

On that note, the absolute last campaign mail for the November 8, 2011 election arrived on Election Day, the ninth mailer from San Bernardino City Attorney James F. Penman.  It is an oversized postcard mailer printed in black and white.  On the front it says:

“We all know City Attorney Jim Penman personally, we have all worked with him professionally for many years and we all endorse him for re-election as City Attorney.

If Jim was ‘divisive, disruptive, intimidating, a bully and a liar’ (as his opponents falsely claim) NONE of us would be endorsing him.

But, we are all proud to endorse him.

He IS the City Attorney San Bernardino needs for the next four years!”

 

Judith Valles                              Tom Minor                                            Evlyn Wilcox

Mayor (1998-2006)             Mayor (1993-1998)                              Mayor (1985-1989)

Honorable Paul Bryant                    Honorable Stanley W. Hodge                    Honorable John Wade

Superior Court Judge (ret.)            Superior Court Judge (ret.)                       Superior Court Judge (ret.)

Chief B. Warren Cocke (ret).                                                                                  Chief Dan Robbins (ret.)

San Bernardino Police Dept.                                                                                 San Bernardino Police Dept.

Chief Ben Gonzales  (ret.)                                                                                                    Chief Lee Dean (ret.)

San Bernardino Police Dept.                                                                                             San Bernardino Police Dept.

P.S. Jim does NOT make over $200,000 a year as his opponents claim.  He is one of the lowest paid full-time City Attorneys in the state and he voluntarily turned down his last 6 raises.

The back of the mailer has a San Bernardino Police Officers Association return address, but also says paid for by Jim Penman for City Attorney 2011

Responding to a David McKenna charge, the back of the mailer says: “Jim Penman was never charged, convicted or pled guilty to ANY Crime.  McKenna’s campaign is trying to deceive you.” The Honorable Craig S. Kamansky ~ Superior Court Judge (ret.)

Under a portrait of City Attorney Jim Penman, the mailer says “City Attorney Jim Penman ‘A Tough Prosecutor.”   Next to the photograph is a quote from retired Superior Court Judge Hodge: “Penman is a tough prosecutor, not a bully.  Those who say differently may have something to hide.  Honest government officials have nothing to fear from Jim Penman but dishonest ones should.”

To the left is this blurb from the San Bernardino Sun:

Penman cleared in illegal contributions probe

The District Attorney’s Office has informed City Attorney James F. Penman that “there is no credible evidence” that he received an illegal gift of $5000.  Investigators were looking into whether Penman took the payment for Attorney’s fees related to his court challenge of language in pro-Measure C ballot arguments, and as a bribe not to sign off on supporting the proposed downtown Regal movie theater.  In a letter to Penman, Deputy District Attorney Michael Abney said “we are closing our files” on this matter. [SB Sun ~ 9-23-11]  . . . but the last minute lies keep coming.

I never saw the mailer or the talking point, or even the newspaper article until receiving this mailer, so I don’t have any details on the allegation.

This post is cross-posted on the new San Bernardino Politics Blog: SBDpolitics.com

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