How the Measures Are Assigned Letters in the San Bernardino County Election November 6, 2012

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

If you ever wondered the legal basis for measures being assigned letters, here is a release from the Registrar of Voters showing both the measures, and their assigned letters for November 6, 2012:

In accordance with California Election [sic] Code §13116(b), the San Bernardino County
Elections Office of the Registrar of Voters has designated the measures below with the
letters N through V. To determine what letter was assigned to each measure, a random
drawing was held at 10:00 a.m. on August 13, 2012.
School Districts
County
Letter Jurisdiction Measure Description
Q San Bernardino Proposed Charter Amendment by the Board of Supervisors to
enact a permanent cap on compensation and mandatory
transparency for members of the Board of Supervisors
R San Bernardino Proposed Charter Amendment by SEBA to enact
compensation limits and budget reductions for members of
the Board of Supervisors
City
Letter Jurisdiction Measure Description
S Needles Proposed Marijuana Business Tax
T Needles Proposed Utility User Tax
U Yucca Valley Proposed 1 cent sales tax for 30 years
V Rialto Proposed business tax on items related to petroleum
products
Letter Jurisdiction Measure Description
N San Bernardino City Unified Proposed Bond Measure to promote student safety and
school repairs
O Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified Proposed Bond Measure to repair and upgrade local schools
P Chaffey Joint Union High School Proposed Bond Measure to improve neighborhood schools

What does California Elections Code section 13116 say?:

(a) In an election at which state, county, city, or other local measures are submitted to a vote of the voters, all state measures shall be numbered in numerical order, as provided in this chapter or division. All county, city, or other local measures shall be designated by a letter, instead of a figure, printed on the left margin of the square containing the description of the measure, commencing with the letter “A” and continuing in alphabetical order, one letter for each of these measures appearing on the ballot.
(b) An elections official may commence designating local measures with any letter of the alphabet following the letter “A,” and continuing in alphabetical order, in order to avoid voter confusion that might result from different local measures carrying the same letter designation in successive elections.
(c) Where two or more counties or cities submitting measures to the voters are in close proximity, the elections officials of those counties or cities may mutually agree to use letter designation for ballot measures that will not conflict or confuse the voter.

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

“Attention San Bernardino Residents Important City Bankruptcy Information”

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

“ATTENTION SAN BERNARDINO RESIDENTS IMPORTANT CITY BANKRUPTCY INFORMATION” reads the first page of a mailer from the San Bernardino Police Officers Association and the San Bernardino City Professional Firefighters.

The mailer is below (scanned with the back and front first, with the interior page below), and arrived August 4th in post :


The back of the mailer says:

SAN BERNARDINO’S FIREFIGHTERS AND POLICE OFFICERS STAND WITH THE RESIDENTS OF SAN BERNARDINO

Dear San Bernardino Residents,
San Bernardino’s Firefighters and Police Officers go to work each day
risking their lives and their safety to protect the lives and safety of the
City’s neighborhoods and families.
We’re in this together with you. We have your back- and we know you
have ours.
Mayor Pat Morris and his administration must be held accountable for
the failed policies that have driven San Bernardino into bankruptcy.
His failures cannot be excused.
Your tax dollars have been squandered.
Jobs have been run out of the City.
Vital city services needed to protect San Bernardino’s families are
facing devastating cuts that will threaten public safety.
We’re willing to do our part and make our fair share of sacrifice to help
the City balance its budget- just as we have for the last several years.
As the City moves forward into Bankruptcy Court we will keep you
informed to ensure that you have the facts about how San Bernardino’s
bankruptcy will affect you and your family.
We thank you for your continued support and are honored to serve you.
Yours truly,
SCOTT MOSS, President
San Bernardino City Professional Firefighters
STEVE TURNER, President
San Bernardino Police Officers Association
Learn more about the City’s Bankruptcy at
www.sanbernardinocitybankruptcy.com

Page Two continues:

WHY DID THE CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO
DECIDE TO DECLARE BANKRUPTCY?
The City claims to have a $45 million budget deficit that will prevent it from
paying its employees and the other bills it owes by the end of summer.-
WHAT CAUSED SAN BERNARDINO’S $45
MILLION BUDGET DEFICIT?
Mayor Pat Morris and his administration failed to make the tough choices
necessary to honestly balance the City’s Budget.
According to an outside independent expert, “San Bernardino faced years
of deficit spending. It’s structural gap, however, was covered-up instead of
addressed. The city sold assets, borrowed from city funds, borrowed from
banks and bondholders, used one year’s surplus to cover the following
year’s deficit, and raided its reserves.”
IS IT COMMON FOR A CITY TO
DECLARE BANKRUPTCY?
No, it’s very rare. Only one or two cities in the entire
nation declare bankruptcy each year. Recently the
cities of Stockton and Mammoth Lakes declared
bankruptcy, and Vallejo declared bankruptcy in 2008.
Vallejo has completed the bankruptcy process but the
financial benefits are unclear. Vallejo spent $13 million
of taxpayer money on legal bills and still does not
have a balanced budget.

Page Three says:

IS THE COST OF THE SALARIES AND PENSIONS
OF FIREFIGHTERS AND POLICE OFFICERS THE
CAUSE OF THE CITY’S BANKRUPTCY?
No. Pat Morris is falsely making this claim to hide the fact that his failures
to stop wasteful spending and balance the City’s budget have driven San
Bernardino into bankruptcy.
The truth is the San Bernardino City Charter, as approved by the voters,
protects taxpayers by limiting the salaries and benefits of the City’s
Firefighters and Police Officers.
Additionally, San Bernardino’s Firefighters and Police Officers have always
been willing to do their fair share to help balance the budget. They’ve
offered and accepted reductions to their pay and benefits for the last four
years that has saved the City millions of dollars.
Unfortunately Mayor Morris and his administration failed to use the money
from these savings to cut the deficit. Instead the money was used for
wasteful pet projects like the SBX line.
WILL BANKRUPTCY BE BAD FOR
SAN BERNARDINO?
The greatest risk bankruptcy poses to residents is in the area of job creation.
The decision to declare bankruptcy will likely make it more difficult to attract
job-creating businesses to the City because they will be afraid to invest in
San Bernardino.
That would likely result in an increase in San Bernardino’s already high
unemployment rate.

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 Wrong Answer to Post-Bankruptcy San Bernardino

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

There is a lot of misinformation out there about the City of San Bernardino regarding proposed reform efforts to the system of government for the City of San Bernardino.

One was a suggestion to transform the City of San Bernardino from a Charter city to a general law city.  There are generally benefits to being a charter city in that you have a modicum more home rule then a general law city.  However, if people think that converting to a general law city will get rid of the ward system they are mistaken for two reasons.  First, general law cities can have elections by district.  Redlands (a general law city), briefly, had elections by district, and Colton, a general law city, still has districts.

Second, when City Attorney Penman suggested a charter measure to do away with the ward system, he was met with challenges from rights groups.  I believe that effort was before the California Voting Rights Act was passed, which makes it easier to prove dilution in an at-large election.

If the City of San Bernardino’s structure (the composite Strong Mayor, Strong City Manager, Strong Council Form of Government) is the problem, removing the Charter gives the residents less choice in creating a government. If this is just an end-run to trying to get rid of the elected City Attorney, the voters have already shown with the resounding defeats of Measures C and M that they do not want that.  Going to a general law council-manager form of government would not have prevented this kind of insolvency, because if there were illegal activities by staff, they council still would not detect it, and if the council refused to listen to staff regarding the need for cuts, it wouldn’t matter if they were elected according to general law or a charter.

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 San Bernardino Bankruptcy: What Did They Know and When Did They Know It?

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

We do not yet know the full story about what went wrong as far as misstatements or miscalculations (incompetence) or concealment (fraud) of numbers in the City of San Bernardino that led to the situation wherein the City of San Bernardino had or has, at some point, less than $150,000 in its bank account.

First, from primary sources, City staff (on July 9, 2012) stated that as of April 3, 2012, City staff was still misreporting the fund balance.

The Finance Department of the City of San Bernardino created a report, dated July 9, 2012 , Page 7:

Starting General Fund balance has been erroneously stated for the past 2 fiscal
years

Fiscal Year                                July 1st Audited Fund Balance              Staff Reported Fund Balance
FY 2009-2010                           $2,708,319                                                     $2,557,900
FY 2010-11                               $410,293                                                             $1,770,400
FY 2011 -12                              $(1 ,181,603)                                                       $2,044,100*
*Mid-Year report presented April 3, 2012.

Going back to the April 3, 2012 meeting in the City of San Bernardino’s online archives, I was unable to find any minutes after January 23, 2012.  Here is the April 3, 2012 Agenda for the Joint Adjourned Regular Meeting of the Mayor and Common Council.

In a staff report by Rebecca Garcia, through City Manager Charles McNeely, for Item 3A, the purpose of the workshop was to “Discuss proposed revenue enhancements and cost containment strategies and provide direction
as to measures to be researched and presented for further Council review, analysis and consideration at a future meeting.”  This staff report includes the chart that gives the $2,044,100 opening fund balance for FY 2011-2012, but also has a different number (then in the July 9, 2012 report) for 2010-2011: $2,998,000.

In the staff report by Jason Simpson, Director of Finance, for Item 1A,  on the April 3, 2012 agenda he warns on Page 10:

A major concern that needs to be noted is that the City’ s General Fund continues to be in an
increasing weakening condition and immediate changes need to be made to reverse this financial
condition, build the General Fund Reserve, and stabilize this fund. If these efforts are not made,
insolvency or bankruptcy may result. The Council has an opportunity to resolve the issue and
change the City’ s course. If not, control may be taken out of the Council’ s hands. [Emphasis Added]

However, on packet page 12, Jason Simpson’s report gives the opening fund balance for 2012 as $2,044,100.

Imran Ghori wrote an article published April 3, 2012 at 9:15 p.m., “San Bernardino: City Faces $3.8 millon shortfall[;] The decline in sales and property taxes are hurting the city, a mid-year budget report shows.”  The story starts:

San Bernardino could be headed for insolvency or bankruptcy if it’s not able to get its general fund budget under control, according to a mid-year budget report presented to the mayor and City Council on Tuesday. [Emphasis Added].

The first time the fund balance issue was in the traditional press is in The Sun, “San Bernardino facing bankruptcy if deep cuts aren’t made” by Ryan Hagen, posted online on July 7, 2012 at 8:13:10 p.m. PDT.  In the article, ”

“[Council member Wendy] McCammack also said she was troubled by the budget report’s note that the general fund’s starting balance has been erroneously stated for the past two fiscal years.

That reached a peak several months ago, when then-City Manager Charles McNeely said the fund had a balance of $2 million but the audited fund balance on July 1 turned out to be in the red by $1.2 million.

It appears that the first time that City Attorney James F. Penman mentioned, in public, that 13 out of 16 budgets may have been falsified (and I am paraphrasing from the press account) was at the July 9, 2012 Council Meeting.

As far as what did people know and when did they know it, the rest is from press articles. This article, from public radio station KPCC, “San Bernardino authorities confirm probe into city finances” by Steven Cuevas with Nick Roman, posted 6:00 a.m. on Friday, July 13, 2012 says:

Before the San Bernardino City Council’s bankruptcy vote Tuesday, City Attorney Jim Penman announced that unidentified city administrators had cooked the books to make it appear the city had more cash in reserve than it actually had.

The alleged deceit was uncovered during an audit by new finance staff working under interim city manager Laura Travis-Miller, who took over four months ago.

. . .

Sixth District [sic] councilman Rikke van [sic] Johnson said Penman gave a short briefing to council members prior to the council’s emergency budget meeting Tuesday. But he said it was short on details.

“It wasn’t nothing as far as, ‘OK, this year that happened’ or ‘that year, this happened’ or anything like that,” said Van [sic] Johnson.

“There wasn’t no specifics, other than he said that it’s under investigation. And unfortunately, what was said in that so-called briefing should have stayed in that so-called briefing and went to the right parties. Because we’re dealing with an even bigger issue then that that as far as bankruptcy. All the sudden your issue becomes the lead issue when it shouldn’t be.”

Presumably, this information was given in closed session.
This blog piece comes from an interview yesterday with Interim City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller:  The piece appears in the Los Angeles Times Blog LA NOW, posted July 13, 2012 at 7:25, by Abby Sewell and Phil Willon, labled “Criminal Probe

Miller said the city’s financial problems had been evident for many years, but the full scope was not evident until more recently, when she and the new finance director took a hard look at the books.

She said there had been inaccurate financial reporting in the city for many years, which delayed the process of understanding the full financial picture, but she said she had not seen evidence of deliberate wrongdoing.

“I have not found that there’s anything more than negligence, maybe sloppiness,” she said, adding that staffers at the time were stretched thin because of cuts.

Andrea Travis-Miller became acting City Manager on May 8, 2012, but was assistant before.  Jason Simpson began work on March 28, 2012.  So, if the quotes from Andrea Travis-Miller are correct, the problem was found sometime between March 28, 2012 and when the July 9, 2012 report was posted.

Bankruptcy was first mentioned in the April 3, 2012 staff report.  The misstating of the fund balance was found some time after March 28, 2012, but not reported on April 3, 2012 by Jason Simpson in his staff report.  The first public document showing the wrong data for two years was in a report for the July 9, 2012 meeting.  Time will tell  what they knew, and when they knew it.

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

What Charter Reform Measures Might Have Helped the City of San Bernardino Avoid Bankruptcy? An Elected Auditor and an Elected City Prosecutor.

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

We do not yet know the full story about what went wrong as far as misstatements or miscalculations (incompetence) or concealment (fraud) of numbers in the City of San Bernardino that led to the situation wherein the City of San Bernardino had or has, at some point, less than $150,000 in its bank account.  Some political campaigns in San Bernardino County have more than that in their accounts right now.

The Finance Department of the City of San Bernardino created a report, dated July 9, 2012, that blames, on page 1 in the Executive Summary:

. . . the City is still facing insolvency due to a variety of issues including accounting errors, deficit spending, lack of revenue growth, and increases in pension and debt costs.

Something went wrong with the way government is supposed to work, with checks and balances regarding these unspecified accounting errors.

The Charter of the City of San Bernardino has a variety of checks and balances, and there are also external checks and balances in the municipal system of government from California law and to some extent in Federal law.

Within today’s Charter, there are eleven elected officials in the City of San Bernardino: Council members from seven geographical wards, an elected Mayor, an elected City Clerk, an elected City Treasurer, and an elected City Attorney. However, the structure if the City lacks an appropriate check and balance to find either a well-concealed fraud, or even a miscalculation of numbers that appeared on financial reports but did not reflect actual amounts.

Here is the problem, from the same July 9, 2012 report, Page 7:

Starting General Fund balance has been erroneously stated for the past 2 fiscal
years

Fiscal Year                                July 1st Audited Fund Balance              Staff Reported Fund Balance
FY 2009-2010                           $2,708,319                                                     $2,557,9oo
FY 2010-11                               $410,293                                                             $1,770,400
FY 2011 -12                              $(1 ,181,603)                                                       $2,044,100*
*Mid-Year report presented April 3, 2012.

Shouldn’t an audit have found the problem? Maybe, but if there was actual fraud, it can be difficult to find because some skilled in financial deceit can falsify document to make the numbers match up.  Even if a skilled City Council member with a background in accounting exists, they probably won’t find the discrepancy.   However, from these numbers, it seems that an audit did catch these numbers, though it doesn’t say when and who it was reported to.

What about the City Treasurer?    The Treasurer’s Duties are:

The Treasurer shall receive and pay out all moneys belonging to the City, and shall keep an account of all receipts and expenditures, under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed. He/She shall make a
monthly statement to the Mayor and Common Council of the receipts and expenditures of the preceding month, and shall perform all duties required of him/her by law and the Mayor and the Common Council. He/She shall not pay out any monies belonging to the City except on claims presented, allowed and submitted in the manner provided by this Charter.   Charter section 70.

However, if numbers are falsified by members of the Finance Department (which the Charter gives day-to-day supervision to the City Manager), the City Treasurer’s Office may not catch the problem.

What then, is the answer?  Part 1, Create a City Auditor, like the City of Los Angeles Controller, that is elected and has the power to audit, investigate, and request prosecution or discipline according to the needs of the situation.

The Controller in Los Angeles, per the Los Angeles City Charter, has these duties:

BookmarkSec. 260.  Auditor and General Accountant.

The Controller shall be the auditor and general accountant of the City and shall exercise a general supervision over the accounts of all offices, departments, boards and employees of the City charged in any manner with the receipt, collection or disbursement of the money of the City.  The Controller shall be elected as provided in Section 202.

BookmarkSec. 261.  Powers and Duties.

The Controller shall:

(a)     appoint assistants, deputies, clerks and other persons as the Council shall prescribe by ordinance;

(b)     prescribe the method of keeping all accounts of the offices, departments, boards or employees of the City in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, except that any change of the system of accounting shall first be authorized by the Council;

(c)     regularly review the accounting practices of offices and departments and upon finding serious failings in accounting practices, be empowered to take charge of the accounting function, and thereafter assist the office or department in implementing appropriate accounting standards and practices;

(d)     maintain a complete set of accounts which shall be deemed the official books and accounts of the City, which shall show at all times the financial condition of the City, the state of each fund, including funds of departments responsible for managing their own funds, the source from which all money was derived and for what purposes all money has been expended;

(e)     in compliance with generally accepted government auditing standards, audit all departments and offices of the City, including proprietary departments, where any City funds are either received or expended; be entitled to obtain access to all department records and personnel in order to carry out this function; establish an auditing cycle to ensure that the performance, programs and activities of every department are audited on a regular basis, and promptly provide completed audit reports to the Mayor, Council, and City Attorney and make those reports available to the public;

(f)     maintain a reconciliation between the accounts in all offices and departments with the accounts in the Controller’s office, and from time to time, verify the condition of all City funds in the City Treasury, and report to the Mayor and Council thereon;

(g)     allocate among the several respective funds all public money at any time in the City Treasury not otherwise specifically allocated and appropriated by law or ordinance, and promptly notify the Treasurer of the allocation or appropriation;

(h)     report to the Mayor and Council, at times established by law, the condition of each fund, and make other reports as the Mayor or Council requests;

(i)     maintain each fund on a parity with its obligations at all times by transferring from the Reserve Fund as a loan to any fund which may become depleted through tardy receipt of revenues, and upon receipt of revenues sufficient to make an allocation as will restore each fund to parity, retransfer the amount of the loan to the Reserve Fund;

(j)     monitor the level of debt incurred by the City and report periodically to the Mayor and Council on City debt; and

(k)     conduct performance audits of all departments and may conduct performance audits of City programs, including suggesting plans for the improvement and management of the revenues and expenditures of the City.  Nothing in this subsection shall preclude the Mayor or Council from conducting management studies or other review of departmental operations.

BookmarkSec. 262.  Approval of Demands on Treasury.

(a)     The Controller shall, prior to approval of any demand, make inspection as to the quality, quantity and condition of services, labor, materials, supplies or equipment received by any office or department of the City, and approve before payment all demands drawn upon the Treasury if the Controller has adequate evidence that:

(1)     the demand has been approved by every board, officer or employee whose approval is required by the Charter or ordinance;

(2)     the goods or services have been provided, except that advance payment may be authorized by ordinance for specified categories of goods and services;

(3)     the payment is lawful;

(4)     the appropriation for the goods or services has been made;

(5)     the prices charged are reasonable;

(6)     the quantity, quality and prices correspond with the original specifications, orders or contracts; and

(7)     any additional criteria established by ordinance have been satisfied.

(b)     Notwithstanding subsection (a), the Controller shall delegate to the various offices and departments the duties of inspection of goods and services and approval of demands, in accordance with methods for inspection and approval established by the Controller, but the Controller may suspend the authority delegated pursuant to this subsection upon a finding of abuse of that authority or on a determination that the office or department lacks adequate controls to exercise that authority properly.  In the event of suspension of the authority delegated pursuant to this subsection, the Controller shall assist the office or department to achieve adequate controls and standards prior to reinstatement of that authority to the office or department.

(c)     The Controller shall withhold approval of any demand, in whole or in part, if there is a question as to whether it is improper, illegal, or unauthorized, and immediately file a report with the Mayor and Council stating the objections to the demand.  The Council shall promptly consider the report and may overrule or sustain the objections of the Controller.

(d)     The Controller shall keep a record of all demands on the Treasury approved by the Controller and of all demands to which objections have been made and overruled.

BookmarkSec. 263.  Approval of Expenses of Controller.

All demands for the expenses of the office of the Controller shall, before payment, be presented to the Mayor, who shall have the same powers as to approval or disapproval as are exercised by the Controller in the case of other demands. The action of the Mayor shall be subject to review by the Council.

BookmarkSec. 264.  Reduction of Demand on Treasury.

No demand upon the Treasury shall be allowed by the Controller in favor of any person or entity indebted to the City without first deducting the amount of the indebtedness, to the extent permitted by law.

BookmarkSec. 265.  Payment of Bonds.

Nothing in this Article shall be construed as interfering with or preventing the payment by the Treasurer of principal and interest on bonds payable by the City in accordance with the California Constitution, laws and ordinances authorizing the issuance and payment of those bonds.

BookmarkSec. 266.  Periodic Surveys of Proprietary Departments.

(a)     The Controller, Council and Mayor shall jointly cause, at least once in every five years, an industrial, economic and administrative survey to be made of the business and property of each of the Harbor, Water and Power and Airports Departments and shall select an independent qualified industrial engineer or organization specializing in such surveys to conduct the survey.  The cost of each survey shall be paid for from the funds of the surveyed department.

(b)     Each survey shall be made in consultation with the Mayor and City Council to ascertain if the surveyed department is operating in the most efficient and economical manner.

(c)     A copy of the report of each survey shall be transmitted to the Mayor, Council, and board of the surveyed department and shall be made available to the public.

Solution Part 2: Create an Elected City Prosecutor.  The City Attorney in San Bernardino is already the City prosecutor.  However, by splitting the functions, the City will have the best of both worlds.  An elected City Attorney will give advice to the City as an entity without the fear of being fired for not giving advice to the other elected officials in power, and a City prosecutor can prosecute violations of the Municipal Code and the areas of State law given by Charter or state law with the independence necessary, with the independently elected City Auditor, to root out these kinds of corruption.

If an elected City Attorney is an elected watchdog, a City Prosecutor would be doubly so.  The City Attorney’s client is the City of San Bernardino, the entity, and the City Attorney must protect the entity’s pocket book.  The role of exposing corruption sometimes is at odds with that goal.  Adding a separate elected City Prosecutor can rectify that situation and protect, in the long run, the People’s interest without regard to the City’s financial interest.

Of course, the bad numbers shown above do not add up to the alleged deficit, but if Council members were going on the correct numbers to start with, perhaps they would not have made the political choices that led to the fiscal emergency.

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

City of San Bernardino’s 1919 Charter Amendments: Pay Raises

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

After the people of San Bernardino adopted a charter in 1905 amended it in 1908, rejected amendments in 1911, and  amended it  in 1913, the Charter was amended again in 1919.     The amendments concerned salaries of local public officials.  I have drafted a legislative version with the 1913 version with the amendments adopted by the citizens of San Bernardino and approved by the California Legislature.

A special municipal election was held on March 19, 1919, and a majority of voters approved Proposed Charter Amendments One through Five.  Below is a strikeout version:

 

Sec. Section 24. The officers hereinafter named shall receive the salaries, following annual salaries: The mayor shall receive an annual salary of , $800; councilmen, each, $200; city clerk, $1000; city attorney, $600; chief of police, $1500.00; police judge, $1000, who shall be ex-officio treasurer. Salaries of all officers shall be , payable monthly.

Section 24A.  The councilmen shall each receive an annual salary of $300.00 payable monthly.

Section 24B.  The City Clerk shall receive an annual salary of $1500.00 payable monthly.

Section 24C.  The City Attorney shall receive an annual salary of $1500.00 payable monthly.

Section 24D.  The police Judge shall receive an annual salary of $1500.00 payable monthly.  The Police Judge shall be Ex-officio City Treasurer.

 

Section 24, salary of the Mayor, was approved again on June 4, 1974, March 6, 1974 and November 5, 2002.  Section 24-A was amended at least once, as the annual Council salary is now a princely $600 a year.  Section 24C was amended, and repealed.  Section 24D was also repealed.
Currently, these sections read:

Section 24. Salary of Mayor. The Office of Mayor shall be a full time
position and the incumbent shall not engage in any business, professional or
occupational activities which interfere with the discharge of the duties of such
office. Effective January 1, 2003, the annual salary of the Mayor shall be set at
fifty percent (50%) of the salary for a Superior Court Judge, County of San
Bernardino, State of California, as of July 1, 2002, and shall thereafter be adjusted
and implemented January 1 of each subsequent year at the same fifty percent
(50%) figure of the salary for said Superior Court Judge then in effect on said
January 1 date.
Section 24-A. Salary of Council. The Council Members shall each receive
an annual salary of six hundred dollars ($600.00), payable monthly.
Section 24-B. Salary of City Clerk. That the salary to be received by the
City Clerk shall be fixed by the Mayor and the Common Council.

 

Here is the preamble from Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 23 “Approving certain amendments to the charter of the City of San Bernardino in the county of San Bernardino, State of California, voted for and ratified by the qualified electors of said city of San Bernardino, at a special municipal election held therein on the eighteenth day of March, 1919 [Filed with Secretary of Sate April 11, 1919.]  Found at Chapter 38 of the Statutes of California 1919, starting on page 1485:

PREAMBLE

            Be it known that,

WHEREAS, The city of San Bernardino, of the county of San Bernardino, State of California, has at all times mentioned herein been and now is a municipal corporation of said State of California, containing a population of more than three thousand five hundred (3,500) inhabitants, and has been ever since the eighth day of February, 1905, organized and existing and acting under a freeholders’ charter adopted under and by virtue of section eight, article eleven of the constitution of the State of California, which charter was duly ratified by the qualified electors of said city at an election held for that purpose on the sixth day of January, 1905, and approved by the legislature of the State of California, on the eighth day of February, 1905 (Stats. 1905, page 940, et seq.); and

WHEREAS, the mayor and common council of said city of San Bernardino, did by resolution designated as “Resolution No. 928” adopted by said mayor and common council on the twentieth day of January, 1919, and approved by the mayor of said city on the twentieth day of January, 1919, and pursuant to section eight of article eleven of the constitution of the State of California, duly propose to the qualified electors of said city of San Bernardino certain amendments, hereinafter set forth, to the charter of said city to be submitted to said qualified electors at a special municipal election to be held in said city on the eighteenth day of March, 1919; and,

WHEREAS, said resolution and said certain proposed amendments hereinafter set forth was published for one day in a daily newspaper  printed and published in said city and of general circulation therein, to wit: In the San Bernardino Daily Sun, said publication being on the twenty-second day of January, 1919; and

WHEREAS, copies of said proposals containing said proposals containing said proposed amendments were printed in convenient pamphlet form and until the date fixed for election hereinafter described and required by law, an advertisement was published in said San Bernardino Daily Sun, that such copies could be had upon application thereof, at the office of the city clerk;

WHEREAS, Thereafter the mayor and common council of said city did by an ordinance designated “Ordinance No.714” which was duly passed and adopted on the third day of February, 1919, and approved by the mayor of said city on February 4, 1919, call and order the holding of a special election in the city of San Bernardino on the eighteenth day of March, 1919, which said last-mentioned date was at least forty days and not more than sixty days after the completion of the publication of such resolution and proposed amendments to said charter for one day  in said San Bernardino Daily Sun, a daily newspaper of general circulation, printed, published and circulated in said city, and which said ordinance calling such special election specified and ordered and ordained that said proposed amendments be submitted to the qualified electors of said city at said special election for ratification or rejection, and designated the time of such election and established election precincts, and designated the polling places therein, and the election officers for each such precinct, and which said ordinance was published ten  times in said San Bernardino Daily Sun, the last date of such publication being on the twentieth day of February, 1919; and

WHEREAS, Said amendments were duly submitted to the qualified electors of said city of San Bernardino at said special election held on said eighteenth day of March, 1919, which said special election was held not less than forty days nor more than sixty days after the completion of the publication of such proposal for one day in said daily newspaper; and

WHEREAS, In and by said ordinance and said resolution so passed, approved and published as aforesaid, said proposed amendments were submitted to the qualified electors of said city at said special municipal election; and

WHEREAS, On the twentieth day of March, 1919, at a meeting of said mayor and common council of said city of San Bernardino duly convened in accordance with law and with the provisions of said charter of said city, said mayor and common council of said city of San Bernardino did duly and regularly  canvass the returns of said special municipal election so held on the eighteenth day of March, 1919, and did find thereupon that each said proposed amendments to said charter, hereinafter particularly set forth, was duly ratified by the electors voting thereon; and

WHEREAS, Said mayor and common council after canvassing said returns and at said meeting so held as aforesaid, after said canvass, did duly find and declare that said proposed amendments had been ratified and adopted by the majority of the electors voting thereon; and

WHEREAS, Said amendments so ratified by the electors of said city of San Bernardino at said special municipal election held on the said eighteenth day of March, 1919, are now submitted to the legislature of the State of California for approval or rejection, as a whole, without power of alteration or amendment, in accordance with the provision of section eight of article eleven of the constitution of the State of California; and

WHEREAS, No other proposed amendment to said charter had been submitted to the electors of said city of San Bernardino within two (2) years immediately prior to said 18th day of April, 1913 [sic, it was unchanged from the Preamble of the 1913 amendment];

Now, THEREFORE the undersigned, J.W. Catick, the mayor and chief executive of the city of San Bernardino, and J.H. Osborn, city clerk and clerk of the mayor and common council of said city, authenticating their signatures, with the official seal of said city, do hereby certify, that said amendment to said charter of said city so ratified by the majority of the electors, voting thereon at said special municipal election, held on the eighteenth day of March, 1919, as submitted to said electors in the words and figures as follows, and are and shall, if so approved by said legislature, be in the words and figures following, to wit:”

The Charter of the City of San Bernardino, as amended in 1919, was not amended again until 1921.  I find it amusing that even in 1919, the Preamble was largely a cut-and-paste job.

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-
T: (909) 296-6708

City of San Bernardino’s 1913 Charter Amendments: Raising the Debt Ceiling

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

After the people of San Bernardino adopted a charter in 1905 and  amended it in 1908, they amended it again in 1913.     The amendment concerns the bonded indebtedness  of the City of San Bernardino for public improvements.  Effectively, the qualified electors of 1913 raised the debt ceiling found in the 1905 Charter.  The 1905 Charter capped the City’s debt for public improvements at $350,000.  The 1913 amendment raised the ceiling to 15 percent  of the assessed value of the City’s real and personal property.   This particular section amendment is not mentioned in the 2005 annotated charter, but some of the concepts survived the 1956 amendment that exists today.  I am not sure if there were any amendments between 1913 and 1956 related to bonded indebtedness.  I have drafted a legislative version (with additions and strikeouts of the 1905 (as amended in 1908) Charter with the amendments to the Charter added by the 1913 election and approved by the California Legislature.

A special municipal election was held on April 18, 1913, and a majority of voters approved “Proposed charter amendment one.”  Below is a strikeout version I created comparing the 1905 version of section 133 with the changes in the 1913 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.

The section was amended in 1956.  Here is the current (2005 Charter) version:

Section 133. Indebtedness for Municipal Improvement. General obligation bonded indebtedness of the City for any purpose for which the City is
authorized to provide or for carrying out any of the powers possessed by the City may be incurred in the manner provided by the general laws of the State of
California at the time such proceedings are taken. The City shall not incur any indebtedness evidenced by general obligation bonds which shall in the aggregate
exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the total assessed value for purposes of City taxation of all the taxable real and personal property in the City. The City shall not
incur any bonded indebtedness constituting a general obligation of the City unless such indebtedness is authorized by the affirmative votes of not less than two-thirds
(2/3) of those electors voting on the question of incurring such indebtedness at any election at which such question is submitted to the electors of the City.
Notwithstanding any other provision or limit in this Charter, bonds of the City payable solely from the revenues of any revenue-producing improvement, building,
system, plant works, facilities or undertaking used for or useful in (a) the producing, obtaining, conserving, treating, storing, transmitting, distributing and supplying of
water for domestic use, irrigation, sanitation, industrial use, fire protection, recreation or any other public or private use, and (b) the collection, treatment or
disposal of sewage, garbage, refuse waste or storm water, including drainage, may be authorized and issued in the manner provided by the general laws of the State
of California at the time such proceedings are taken. The issuance of such revenue bonds must be authorized by the affirmative votes of a majority of the electors
voting upon the proposition of their issuance at any election at which such question is submitted to the electors of the City.

When two or more questions or propositions for the incurring of general obligation bonded debt or for the issuance of revenue bonds are submitted at the same election to the votes cast for and against each question or proposition shall be counted separately.

The preamble of the charter amendment sent to the Legislature is interesting in that it gives some procedural history.  The Legislature had to approve the Charter pursuant to the California Constitution then in effect.  In 1913, the Charter could not be changed more than every two years.  The procedure for publishing also was different than in 1908 (including a switch of newspapers). The City Clerk also refers to himself as the clerk of the Mayor and Common Council, even though that’s one of the duties of the Clerk in the Charter. Here is the preamble from Assembly Concurring Resolution No. 32, May 6, 1913:

PREAMBLE

            Be it known that,

Whereas, The city of San Bernardino, of the county of San Bernardino, State of California, has at all times mentioned herein been and now is a municipal corporation of said State of California, containing a population of more than thirty five hundred (3,500) inhabitants, and has been ever since the 8th day of February, 1905, organized and existing and acting under a freeholders’ charter adopted under and by virtue of Section 8, Article XI of the Constitution of the State of California, which charter was duly ratified by the qualified electors of said city at an election held for that purpose on the 6th day of January, 1905, and approved by the legislature of the State of California, on the 8th day of February, 1905 (Stats. 1905, page 940, et seq.); and

Whereas, the mayor and common council of the city of San Bernardino did by resolution designated as “Resolution No. 593” adopted by said mayor and common council on the 17th day of March, 1913, and approved by the mayor of said city on the 17th day of March, 1913, and pursuant to section 8 of article XI of the Constitution of the State of California, duly propose to the qualified electors of said city of San Bernardino a certain amendment, hereinafter set forth, to the charter of said city to be submitted to said qualified electors at a special municipal election to be held in said city on the 18th day of April, 1913; and,

Whereas, said resolution and said certain proposed amendment hereinafter set forth was published for ten (10) times in a daily newspaper, printed and published in said city and of general circulation therein, to wit: in the San Bernardino Daily Sun, said publication ending on the 28th day of March, 1913; and

Whereas, Thereafter the mayor and common council of said city did by an ordinance designated “Ordinance No. 516” which was duly passed and adopted on the 17th day of March, 1913, and approved by the mayor of said city on said last mentioned date, call and order the holding of a special election in the city of San Bernardino on the 18th day of April, 1913, which said last mentioned date was at least twenty (20) days and not more than forty (40) days after the completion of the publication of such resolution and proposed amendment to said charter for ten (10) times in said San Bernardino Daily Sun, a daily newspaper of general circulation, printed, published and circulated in said city, and which said ordinance calling such special election specified and ordered and ordained that said proposed amendment be submitted to the qualified electors of said city at said special election for ratification or rejection, and designated the time of such election and established election precincts, and designated the polling places therein, and the names of the election officers for each such precinct, and which said ordinance was published five (5) times in said San Bernardino Daily Sun, the last date of such publication being on the 23d day of March, 1913, and which said ordinance was approved by the mayor of said city on the 17th day of March, 1913; and

Whereas, said amendment was duly submitted to the qualified electors of said city of San Bernardino at said special election held on said 18th day of April, 1913, which said special election was held not less than twenty (20) days nor more than forty (40) days after the completion of the publication of such proposal for ten (10) times in said daily newspaper; and

Whereas, In and by said ordinance and said resolution so passed, approved and published as aforesaid, said proposed amendment was submitted to the qualified electors of said city at said special municipal election; and

Whereas, On the 21st day of April, 1913, at a meeting of said mayor and common council of said city of San Bernardino, duly convened in accordance with law and with the provisions of said charter of said city, said mayor and common council of said city of San Bernardino did duly and regularly  canvass the returns of said special municipal election so held on the 18th day of April, 1913, and did find thereupon that said special proposed amendment to said charter, hereinafter particularly set forth was duly ratified by the electors voting thereon; and,

Whereas, Said mayor and common council after canvassing said returns and at said meeting so held as aforesaid, after said canvass, did duly find and declare that said proposed amendment had been ratified and adopted by the majority of the electors voting thereon; and

Whereas, said amendment so ratified by the electors of said city of San Bernardino at said special municipal election held on the said 18th day of April, 1913, is now submitted to the legislature of the State of California for approval or rejection, as a whole, without power of alteration or amendment, in accordance with the provision of Section 8 of Article XI of the Constitution of the State of California; and

Whereas, No other proposed amendment to said charter had been submitted to the electors of said city of San Bernardino within two (2) years immediately prior to said 18th day of April, 1913;

Now, therefore the undersigned, J. S. Bright, the mayor and chief executive of the city of San Bernardino, and S. G. Batchelor, city clerk and clerk of the mayor and common council of said city, authenticating their signatures with the official seal of said city, do hereby certify, that said amendment to said charter of said city so ratified by the majority of the electors, voting thereon at said special municipal election, held on the 18th day of April, 1913, as submitted to said electors in the words and figures as follows, and is and shall, if so approved by said legislature, be in the words and figures following, to wit:”

The Charter of the City of San Bernardino, as amended in 1913, was not amended again until 1919.

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

The Relationship Between the City Manager and the City Attorney in California

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

I have worked in three cities: I was a clerk in the City of Santa Clara in an in-house City Attorney’s Office of a charter city with an appointed City Attorney; I was a Deputy City Attorney in the City of San Bernardino, with an elected City Attorney, and I was the Assistant City Attorney of the City of Redlands, a general law city with an in-house appointed City Attorney.   There was only one City Attorney and City Manager for the City of Santa Clara during my tenure, only one City Attorney and one City Administrator transformed by a charter change to City Manager in San Bernardino, yet there were two City Managers and one interim City Manager during my time as an Assistant City Attorney in Redlands.   In Redlands and San Bernardino, the same City Attorneys reign still, and the City Attorney of Santa Clara, Mike Downey only retired within the last decade after decades of service.

Typically, the relationship in a general law city between the City Attorney and the City Manager is that they are both appointed by the Council, and subject to removal by the Council.  That means they have similar interests.  Typically, both the City Attorney and the City Manager have to keep the Council happy and do their respective jobs, and only rarely will they be on the opposite side of any issue.  In the best situations, the City Attorney can assist the City Manager in accomplishing the City Manager’s duties in accordance with municipal, state and Federal law.

In a charter city, it depends on what the Charter says, but I am not aware of any Charter that subordinates the City Attorney to the City Manager.  Certainly, Santa Clara, San Bernardino and Riverside do not. Typically, the functions are separate, and the two must work together in the same way as in a general law city to meet the city’s needs, whether administratively, during budgeting and on employment matters.

An elected City Attorney, a relatively rare position, has an independent base of power granted by the electorate, subject to removal from office by regular election or recall.  This can create a different dynamic between the appointed City Manager and the elected City Attorney, because their interests are not necessarily the same.

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) 708-6055

City of San Bernardino’s 1908 Charter Amendments

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

By 1908, the electorate of the City of San Bernardino decided to make changes to the 1905 Charter.   None of these changes survive in the Charter today, but it is interesting to see the evolution of what has been referred to as the “constitution” of the City of San Bernardino. These changes over the years have shaped both the City of San Bernardino as an entity, and the city, as a geographical unit.  I have drafted a legislative version (with additions and strikeouts of the 1905 Charter with the amendments to the Charter added by the 1908 election and approved by the California Legislature.

Here are the changes:

The election replaced the 1905 Sec. 182 with a new Section 182 (though it made only a few changes).  The selection process for choosing the Chief of Police was changed.  The duties of the chief were changed, making him the ex-officio tax collector, and a full member of the board of health.  The mayor and common council were given the power to give the Chief of Police no more than one percent of the tax collected, in addition to the $1,500 annual salary given in section 24 of the Charter.

Sec. 182. On or before after twelve o’clock noon of the third second Monday of Aprilin May, 1907next succeeding his election, the mayor shall appoint, a chief of police, subject to the confirmation of the common council, some competent person who shall be known as the chief of police of the City of San Bernardino. The chief of police, for the suppression of any riot, public tumult, disturbance of the public peace, or any organized resistance against the laws of public authorities in the lawful execution of their functions, shall have the powers that are now, or may hereafter be conferred upon sheriffs by the laws of this state, and shall in all respects be entitled to the same protection; and his lawful orders shall be promptly executed by deputies, police officers and watchmen in the city, and every citizen shall also render aid when required for the arrest of offenders and maintenance of public order. He shall execute and return all process issued and directed to him by any legal authority; and shall enforce all ordinances of the city, and arrest all persons guilty of a violation of the same. He shall prosecute before the competent tribunal all breaches, or violations of city ordinances.

He shall also have charge of the city prison and prisoners confined therein, and all those who are sentenced to labor upon the streets, or public works of the city, and shall see that all orders and sentences in reference thereto are fully executed and complied with, and shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the mayor and common council.

The chief of police shall be ex-officio a member of the board of healthtax collector, and ex-officio license tax collector, and a member of the board of health.  He shall collect all taxes and license taxes as prescribed by law and the ordinances of the city.  As tax collector and license collector the mayor and common council shall have power to fix extra compensation for the chief of police not to exceed one per cent of the amount actually collected, which shall be in addition to his salary otherwise fixed in this charter.

The 1908 election added a new section 195, subdivision thirteen to read,

Thirteenth—In their discretion to admit nonresident children to any of the departments of the public schoolsof the city, upon the payment, at such time terms and conditions as the board may direct, of tuition fees to be fixed by the board; provided that the tuition fee required and collected shall in no case be less than the cost per capita of maintaining the school to which the pupil is admitteddeem just;

Basically, this change allowed the Board of Education to decide the terms and conditions to admit children outside the district.  It is not clear when this section was deleted from the charter, but probably either at the 1961 election or the 1973 election.

The election added Section 238a, which established a minimum wage of $2 a day for public works, and requiring that workers on San Bernardino Public Works projects be “native born or naturalized citizens”:

Section 238a. The time of service of any laborer, workman, or mechanic employed in or upon any of the public works of the city of San Bernardino, or in or upon any work done by or for said city is hereby limited and restricted to eight hours during any one calendar day and no person shall be employed in or upon any such works except he be a native born or naturalized citizen of the United States, and the minimum wages of laborers employed in the execution of any such works shall be $2.00 per day; and there shall be inserted in every contract entered into for any such work a stipulation that no person shall be employed in the execution of such contract who is not a native born or naturalized citizen of the United States, and that in the performance of such work eight hours shall be the maximum number of hours that any laborer, workman or mechanic shall be required or permitted to work on any calendar day, and that $2.00 per day shall be the minimum wages paid to any person employed by the contractor in the execution of his contract: provided, that this section shall not apply to cases of extraordinary emergency, caused by fire, flood or danger to life or property, or to work upon any public, military or naval defenses or works in time of war.

The only trace of section 238a today is a note in the current (2004) City Charter which states in an annotation that “Section 238, Subsection (a) repealed by election held February 6, 1973).  It probably was amended some time between 1908 and its repeal in 1973.”  To give some context, according to the State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations, California’s first minimum wage was .16 an hour in 1916, so assuming an eight hour day, the minimum set by the Charter was high for the times.  I do not know the history or the impetus for the citizenship requirement.

California Senate Concurring Resolution No. 3 [1909]  had this preamble which discussed the election and a little of the legislative history of the 1908 amendments:

Whereas, the mayor and common council of the city of San Bernardino did by ordinance number 399, adopted by said mayor and common council on the 19th day of October, 1908, and approved by the mayor of said city on the 19th day of October, 1908, and pursuant to section eight of article eleven of the constitution of the State of California, duly propose to the qualified electors of said city certain amendments to the charter of said city to be submitted to said qualified electors at a special municipal election to be held for that purpose, in said city, on the 28th day of December 1908: and,

Whereas, said proposed amendments were, and each of them was, published for twenty days, in a daily newspaper printed and published in said city and of general circulation therein, to wit. The Evening Index said publication ending on the 16th day of October, 1908; and,

Whereas, the mayor and common council of said city did, by an ordinance known as Ordinance No. 401, which was duly adopted on the 23rd day of November, 1908, call and order the holding of a special election in said city of San Bernardino, on the 28th day of December, 1908. (at least forty days after the publication of said proposed amendments for twenty days, in said daily newspaper of general circulation in said city of San Bernardino, to wit: The Evening Index) and did provide in said ordinance for the submission of said proposed amendments to the said charter at said special election, which said ordinance was approved by the mayor of said city on the 23rd day of November, 1908, and was published, for at least ten days prior to the time appointed for the holding of said election, in “The Evening Index.” a daily newspaper printed and published in said city; and,

Whereas, at said election a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon voted in favor of the ratification of and did ratify three of said proposed amendments to said charter: and,

Whereas, the common council of said city of San Bernardino, pursuant to said charter did, at a special meeting thereof, held at 7.30 o’clock P. M. on the second day after said election, duly canvass the returns of said election and duly found, determined, and declared that a majority of such qualified electors voting thereon, had voted for and ratified three of said proposed amendments to said charter: and,

Whereas, said three amendments to said charter, so ratified by a majority of the qualified electors of said city voting at said election are in words and figures as follows, to wit:

The next amendment o the Charter was passed in 1913.

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

City of San Bernardino’s 1905 Charter

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

This week, I’m focusing on the City of San Bernardino.  I am starting with the City of San Bernardino’s original 1905 Charter.  The 1905 Charter is the beginning of the modern structure of the City of San Bernardino.  It created the Mayor and Common Council.  You can still see much of the same verbiage that is found in today’s Charter (passed in full by the voters on November 2, 2004, almost one hundred years later).

Linked here is the City of San Bernardino’s original charter from 1905.   The current version omits the preamble and the freeholder’s certificate.  The current version of the document was drafted while I was a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino.  I did not have a hand drafting the current Charter as part of my duties as Deputy City Attorney.  However, there may have been a discussion about keeping the freeholder’s certificate, as it certainly was considered a part of the Charter before then.

Here is the preamble from the 1905 Charter, giving the background for adopting the Charter:

Whereas, The City of San Bernardino, a municipal corporation of the County of San Bernardino, State of California, now is and was at all time herein referred to, a city containing a population of more than three thousand five hundred inhabitants and less than ten thousand inhabitants; and

Whereas, At a special municipal election, duly held in said city on the 30th day of July, 1904, under and in accordance with the law and provision of Section eight of Article eleven of the Constitution of said State of California, a board of fifteen freeholders, duly qualified, was elected in and by said city, by the qualified electors thereof, to prepare and propose a charter for the government of said city; and

Whereas, Said board of freeholders did, within ninety days after said election, prepare and propose a charter for the government of the said City of San Bernardino; and

Whereas, The said charter was on the 27th day of October, in the year 1904, signed in duplicate by the members of said board of freeholders and was thereupon duly returned and Charter of filed with the president of the board of trustees of said City of San Bernardino, and the other copy thereof was filed with and in the office of the county recorder of the County of San Bernardino; and

Whereas, Such proposed charter was thereafter published in the San Bernardino Daily Times-Index and in the San Bernardino Daily Sun, each being daily newspapers of general circulation in said City of San Bernardino. The said charter being published for a period of twenty days and more, the first publication thereof was made within twenty days after the completion of said charter; and

Whereas, Said proposed charter was, within not less than thirty days after the completion of said publication, submitted by the board of trustees of the City of San Bernardino to the qualified voters of the City of San Bernardino at the special election previously duly called and therein held on the 6th day of January, 1905; and

Whereas, At said last mentioned special election, a majority of said qualified electors of said city voting at such special election, voted in favor of the ratification of such charter as proposed as a whole; and

Whereas, Said board of trustees after canvassing said returns, duly found and declared that the majority of said qualified electors, voting at special election, had voted for ratifying said charter; and

Whereas, The same is now submitted to the legislature of the State of California for its approval and ratification as a whole without power of alteration or amendment, in accordance with Section eight of Article 11 of the Constitution of the State of California; and

Whereas. Said charter so ratified is in words and figures following, to wit:

The Charter gave the City of San Bernardino a limited version of home rule.  Instead of the Board of Trustees of a City of the Fifth Class, it now had a Mayor and Common Council.

There are some key differences between the Charter today and the 1905 Charter.  The 1905 charter created a judicial department (a police court), that no long exists.  The 1905 Charter governed and created a Board of Education which is now the governing body of the San Bernardino Unified School District.  The original charter created the now-defunct City Assessor, and the City Engineer and Superintendent of Streets.  The latter two positions are no longer mentioned in today’s Charter.  The City no longer has a Health Board, those functions are performed by the County.  However, the basic structure of the 1905 Charter is shared with the current Charter.  Section 55, though amended, still governs the elected City Attorney.

Here is the freeholder certificate attached to the original Charter, which was omitted from the 2004 Charter:

We, the undersigned, members of the board of fifteen freeholders of the City of San Bernardino, in the State of California, elected at a special election held in said city on the 30th day of July, 1904, to prepare and propose a charter for such city, under and in accordance with Sections 8 and 8 1/2 of Article XI of the constitution of this state, have prepared and we do hereby propose the foregoing as and for a charter for said city.

In witness whereof we hereunto sign our names in duplicate at said City of San Bernardino, this 27th day of October, A. D. 1904.

A. G. KENDALL, President;

JOHN ANDRESON,

H. M. BARTON,

M. L. COOK,

GEORGE M. COOLEY,

J. J. HANFORD,

W. S. HOOPER,

L. D. HOUGHTON,

JOS. INGERSOLL,

JAMES MURRAY,

W. M. PARKER,

H. C. ROLFE,

J. W. CATICK, Secretary.

State Of California, County Of San Bernardino,       }

City Of San Bernardino.                }ss.

I, C. F. Riley, President of the board of trustees of the City of San Bernardino, State of California, do hereby certify that the board of freeholders whose names appear signed to the foregoing proposed charter, together with F. B. Daily and I. R. Brun, who were absent at the time the said charter was signed, and whose names do not appear signed thereto, were, on the 30th day of July, 1904, at a special municipal election held in said City of San Bernardino, on said day, duly elected by the qualified voters of said city, to prepare and propose a charter for said city; that each of said freeholders had been a qualified elector and freeholder for more than five years previous to said election; that the foregoing is a true copy of said charter prepared and returned to me as president of said board of trustees within ninety days after said election, as required by Section eight of Article eleven of the constitution of this state; that such proposed charter was then published in the Daily Times-Index and in the Daily Sun of San Bernardino, for more than twenty days, and that the first publication of said proposed charter was made within twenty days after the completion of said charter; that within not less than thirty days after the publication of said charter as required by said Section eight to-wit: On the sixth day of January, 1905, said charter was submitted at a special election duly held therein for the purpose of ratifying or rejecting said proposed charter.

That said proposed charter as a whole was duly ratified at said election by the majority of the votes of the qualified electors of said city, and that the returns of said election were duly canvassed by the board of trustees of said City of San Bernardino on the ninth day of January, 1905, and the result thereof declared as above set forth and that in all matters and things pertaining to said proposed charter the provisions of said section of the constitution and of the laws of the State of California, pertaining to the adoption of the charter, have been fully complied with in every particular.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the corporate seal of said city this 10th day of January, 1905.

C. F. RILEY, President of the Board of Trustees of the City of San Bernardino.

Attest:                                                                         HARRY ALLISON,

[seal]                                                              City Clerk.

Students of San Bernardino History may recognize some of the names.

Albert G. Kendall was a County Supervisor from 1918 to 1926 and namesake of Kendall Drive in San Bernardino, and according to the 1900 Census, County Assessor.  John Andreson is the namesake of the Andreson Building, and was later County Supervisor in the 5th District of San Bernardino from 1926 to 1940.  At the time of the signing, he was with Farmer’s Exchange Bank.  George M. Cooley owned Cooley Hardware.  The other names are a little more obscure.  Per the 1900 Census,  Hiram M. Barton was a fruit dealer. Marian L. Cook  was a civil engineer, John Hanford was a handyman, William S.. Hooper was a banker, Lagona D. Houghton owned a cigar store, Joseph Ingersol was a liquor merchant. James Murray was a saloon keeper, Wilbur M. Parker was a machinist.  Horace C. Rolfe was a lawyer, Joseph W. Catick was an undertaker, I.M. Brun owned a liquor store (not from the Census), and  Frank B. Daily was an attorney.  Charles F. Riley, the President of the Board of Trustees of the City of San Bernardino at the Charter’s adoption, was a proprietor of a soda works in 1900.  Harry Allison, the City Clerk in 1905, was a telegraph operator in 1900.  Joseph Catick was later mayor, elected to two non-consecutive two year terms.

The 1905 Charter sat unamended until amendments passed in 1908.

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