The Recall Process Under the Charter of the City of San Bernardino

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The current Charter of the City of San Bernardino, Article VII is entitled “Initiative, Referendum and Recall.”  Section 122 of the Charter reads (with annotations):

Section 122. The Recall. Proceedings may be commenced for recall of the

holder of any elective office of this City and the election of a successor of the

holder sought to be removed by the service, filing and publication of a notice of

intention to circulate a recall petition. Such proceedings may not be commenced

against the holder of an office unless, at the time of commencement, the holder

has held office for at least ninety days and no recall petition has been filed against

such holder within the preceding six months. A petition demanding the recall of the

officer sought to be recalled shall be submitted to the City Clerk. The petition shall

be signed by not less than fifteen percent (15%) of the voters of the City, or in the

case of a City Council Member elected by ward twenty-five percent (25%) of the

voters of that ward, according to the County Clerk’s last official report of

registration to the Secretary of State. No signature may be affixed to the petition

until the proponents have served, filed and published a notice of intention to

circulate a recall petition, containing the name of the officer sought to be recalled

and the title of his/her office, a statement in not more than 500 words of the

grounds on which the recall is sought, and the name and address of at least one,

but not more than five proponents. The notice of intention shall be served,

personally or by certified mail, on the officer sought to be recalled, and a copy

thereof with a certificate of the time and manner of service shall be filed with the

clerk of the legislative body. Within seven (7) days after the filing of the notice of

intention, the officer sought to be recalled may file with the City Clerk an answer in

not more than 500 words to the statement of the proponents and if an answer is

filed, shall serve a copy thereof, personally or by certified mail, on one of the

proponents named in the notice of intention. At the time the proponents publish

the notice and statement referred to above, the officer sought to be recalled may

have the answer published at his/her expense. If the answer is to be published the

officer shall file with the City Clerk at the time the answer is filed a statement

declaring his/her intent that the answer be published. The statement and answer

are intended solely for the information of the voters and no insufficiency in the form

or substance thereof shall affect the validity of the election or proceedings. The

notice and statement as referred to above, and the answer, if it is to be published

shall be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation, as described

in Sections 6000 to 6066 of the Government Code, adjudicated as such.

Seven (7) days after the publication of the notice, statement and answer, if it

is to be published, the recall petition may be circulated and signed. The petition

shall bear a copy of the notice of intention, statement and answer, if any. If the

officer has not answered, the petition shall so state. Signatures shall be secured

and the petition filed within ninety (90) days from the filing of the notice of intention.

If such petition is not filed within the time permitted by this section, the same shall

be void for all purposes. The signatures to the petition need not all be appended to

one paper; but each signer shall add to his/her signature his/her place of

residence, giving the street and such other identification as may be required by the

registration law. One of the signers of each such paper shall make oath before an

officer qualified to administer oaths, that the statements therein made are true, and

that each signature to the paper appended, is the genuine signature of the person

whose name purports to be thereunto subscribed. Within thirty (30) days after the

date of filing such petition the City Clerk shall examine and ascertain whether or

not said petition is signed by the requisite number of qualified electors and, if

necessary, the Council shall allow extra help for that purpose, and the City Clerk

shall attach to said petition a certificate showing the result of said examination. If,

by the City Clerk’s certificate, the number of signatures on the petition is shown to

be insufficient, it shall be returned forthwith by the Clerk to the filer(s) thereof who

shall have an additional thirty (30) days from the date the petition is returned to

them by the Clerk to obtain the required number of signatures. The City Clerk shall,

within thirty (30) days after such additional thirty (30) day period to obtain

additional signatures, make like examination of said petition, and, if his/her

certificate shall show the same to be insufficient it shall be void for all purposes. If

the petition shall be found to be sufficient, the City Clerk shall submit the same to

the Council without delay and the Council shall thereupon order and fix a date for

holding said election, not less than fifty (50) days, nor more than seventy (70) days

from the date of the City Clerk’s certificate to the Council that a sufficient petition is

filed.

The ballots used when voting upon said proposed recall shall contain the

words “shall (title of office and the name of the person against whom the recall is

filed) be recalled?” and the words “yes” and “no.”

The Council and the City Clerk shall make, or cause to be made, publication

of notice and all arrangements for conducting, returning and declaring the results

of such election in the same manner as other City elections.

Qualified candidates to succeed the person against whom the recall is filed,

shall be listed on the ballot, except that the incumbent shall not be eligible to

succeed himself/herself in any such recall election.

In any such removal election, if a majority of the votes cast is for “yes” on

the question of whether or not the incumbent should be recalled, the candidate

receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected. The incumbent

shall thereupon be deemed removed from the office upon qualification of his/her

successor. In case the party who received the highest number of votes should fail

to qualify within ten (10) days after receiving notification of election, the office shall

be deemed vacant. The successor of any officer so removed shall hold office

during the unexpired term of his/her predecessor. (Effective March 16, 2005)

Any elected official in the City of San Bernardino can be recalled using this procedure.  The limitations are stated above in which the office holder must be in office at least 90 days, and no recall petition has been filed against the office holder in the preceding six months.  The elected officials of the City of San Bernardino are the Mayor, the seven members of the Common Council, the City Clerk, the City Treasurer, and the City Attorney.

The Municipal Code further gives the procedure for recall elections as follows:

2.56.160 Recall elections.
A recall election to remove an elected officer pursuant to Charter Section
122 shall be ordered, held and conducted and the result thereof made known and
declared in the same manner provided in this chapter for municipal primary and
general elections except as follows:
A. Time for Obtaining Signatures. Nomination papers shall be issued and
verification deputies appointed to obtain signatures to nomination papers of
any candidate at any time not earlier than the thirty-fifth day nor later than
five p.m. on the twenty-ninth day before the recall election.
B. Date filed with City Clerk. All nomination papers shall be filed with the City
Clerk not later than five p.m. on the twenty-ninth day before the recall
election.
C. Not earlier than the thirty-fifth day, nor later than the tenth day before a recall
election, the City Clerk shall publish a notice of the election at least once in
one or more newspapers published and circulated in the City. The notice
shall be headed “Notice of Election,” and shall contain a statement of:
1. The time of the election;
2. The offices to be filled, specifying full term or short term, as the case
may be;
3. The hours the polls will be open.
D. Absentee Ballots. Not earlier than the twenty-sixth day, nor later than the
seventh day before a recall election, any voter entitled to vote by absent
voter ballot as provided in Elections Code Section 14620 [See now §3003],
may file with the City Clerk either in person or by mail, his written application
for an absent voter’s ballot. The application shall be signed by the applicant,
shall show his place of residence, and shall make clear to the City Clerk the
applicant’s right to a ballot.
Applications received by the City Clerk hereunder on or after the
fortieth day but prior to the twenty-sixth day before election shall not be
returned to the sender, but shall be held by the City Clerk and processed by
him following the twenty-sixth day prior to election in the same manner as
if received at that time.

(Ord. 3601 (part), 1976; Ord. 2048 §10, 1954.

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.

Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP
A: 1447 Ford St. #201
      Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 296-6708

Did the San Bernardino Unified School District Violate Education Code Section 7054 Regarding Advocacy For Measure N on The November 6, 2012 Ballot?

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Measure N is the San Bernardino City Unified School District’s bond measure is to sell $250,000,000 (250 million dollars or a quarter billion dollars) in aggregate principal of  bonds with a maturity not to exceed twenty-five years. The ballot statement and resolution do not give the total cost to the bond issue including principal and interest.  The District’s estimate is that it will cost property owners $34 per year for each $100,000 of assessed value to pay the principal and interest on the bonds (which is in addition to any existing bonds).  It was placed on the ballot by the Board of Education on August 7, 2012 by a six to one vote.  The members voting for were Barbara Flores, Mike Gallo, Margaret Hill, Bobbie Perong, Lynda Savage, Judi Penman.  Danny Tillman voted no.  The measure requires a 55 percent “yes” vote to pass per Proposition 39 (2000) and Education Code section 15264.  In connection with Measure N, the San Bernardino Unified School District has sent mass mailings, including this piece:

California Education Code section 7054 reads, as of today:

(a) No school district or community college district funds, services, supplies, or equipment shall be used for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate, including, but not limited to, any candidate for election to the governing board of the district.
(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of any of the public resources described in subdivision (a) to provide information to the public about the possible effects of any bond issue or other ballot measure if both of the following conditions are met:
(1) The informational activities are otherwise authorized by the Constitution or laws of this state.
(2) The information provided constitutes a fair and impartial presentation of relevant facts to aid the electorate in reaching an informed judgment regarding the bond issue or ballot measure.
(c) A violation of this section shall be a misdemeanor or felony punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both, or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months, or two or three years.
Therefore, a school district cannot use funds for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate.  California Education Code section 7054(a).  However, a limitation to California Education Code seciton 7054(a) is that a school district may expend public resources to provide information to the public about the possible effects of any bond issue if two conditions are met.  The informational activities are otherwise allowed by law, and the “information provided constitutes a fair and impartial presentation of relevant facts to aid the electorate in reaching an informed judgment regarding the bond issue or ballot measure.”  California Education Code section 7054(b).  The violation of this section is a wobbler, punishable as a misdemeanor or felony. California Education Code section 7054(b).
In the resolution of August 7, 2012, the San Bernardino Unified School District Board of Directors made this finding:
WHEREAS, the District needs to install lighting, replace and fix fences and update security
alarms to keep students safe during and after school and to protect our schools from gang
members who break into schools, vandalize and steal equipment;  . . .
The front of the mailer states “From the Desk of School District Police Chief Joseph Paulino”

The letter says

Dear Neighbor:

As School District Police Chief, my job is to keep our students and school sites safe.
I also seek to protect our schools from intruders who break into schools, vandalize, steal school equipment and tag walls with graffiti. Unfortunately, many of our schools have outdated security alarms, inadequate fences and limited lighting.
Measure N is on your local ballot.  Among the priorities included in Measure N are the following safety and security upgrades to San Bernardino and Highland schools:
  • Maintain safe, clean clasrooms
  • Repair/replace leaky roofs
  • Remove asbestos and other hazardous materials
  • Repair/replace fire alarms, security and electrical systems
  • Replace old playground equipment with new, safer equipment

Remember to vote on Measure N.

Sincerely,
/s/
Chief Joseph Paulino
San Bernardino School District
Police Department
The Measure does not give an actual project list (meaning, x amount is going to do x at Cajon High School on x date).   However, there is a more generic project list, and this is the relevant section:
School Safety and Energy Efficiency School Projects
Goal and Purpose: The District must protect its schools from gang members who break
into schools, vandalize and steal equipment and tag walls with graffiti. Unless the District
replaces outdated security alarms, inadequate fences and limited safety lighting, it can’t
keep them out. To keep students safe during and after school, projects such as proper
lighting, fences and security alarms are needed:
Student Safety
• Repair and replace security and electrical systems, such as security lighting, fencing,
gates and classroom door locks.
• Upgrade fire alarm systems including fire safety equipment and sprinklers to make
students safe in the event of an emergency.
• Upgrade schools to meet handicap accessibility requirements.
• Remove hazardous materials like asbestos and lead paint from older school sites.
• Increase after-school program space to reduce juvenile violence.
The headline’s question is whether the District’s statement has violated California Education Code section 7055 regarding advocacy for Measure N.  The California Supreme Court decision in Stanson v. Mott (1976) 17 Cal.3d 206 is important to consider in such cases. The Court ruled:
On June 4, 1974, California voters approved a $250 million bond issue to provide funds for the future acquisition of park land and recreational and historical facilities by state and municipal authorities. One day before the election, plaintiff Sam Stanson filed the present taxpayer suit, alleging that defendant William Penn Mott, Jr., director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation (department), had authorized the department to expend more than $5,000 of public funds to promote the passage of the bond issue. Asserting the illegality of such use of public funds, plaintiff sought a judgment that would require Mott personally to repay the funds to the state treasury and any other appropriate relief.

. . .

As we explain, past decisions in both California and our sister states establish that, at least in the absence of clear and explicit legislative authorization, a public agency may not expend public funds to promote a partisan position in an election campaign; in the present case, no legislative provision accorded the Department of Parks and Recreation such authorization. Although the department did possess statutory authority to disseminate ‘information’ to the public relating to the bond election, the department, in fulfilling this informational role, was obligated to provide a fair presentation of the relevant facts. Since plaintiff specifically alleged that public funds were expended for ‘promotional,’ rather then ‘informational,’ purposes, his complaint stated a valid cause of action, and the trial court erred in sustaining defendant’s demurrer. If plaintiff proves the allegations of his complaint at trial, he will be entitled to at least a declaratory judgment that such expenditure of public funds was improper, and, perhaps, to injunctive relief as well.
Whether defendant Mott may be held personally liable for the funds which have already been spent presents a more difficult question. Although early California decisions held public officials strictly liable for any unauthorized expenditure of public funds, even when such expenses were incurred in good faith, subsequent legislation has considerably narrowed the circumstances under which public employees are generally held personally accountable for resultant losses. In accommodating the policy underlying this legislative development with the long-recognized public interest in protecting the public treasury from potential mismanagement or abuse, we conclude that defendant may be held personally liable to repay expended funds only if he failed to exercise due care in authorizing the expenditure of the funds. Stanson v. Mott (1976) 17 Cal.3d 206, 209-210.
What is the difference between promotional and informational? Stanson v. Mott says it’s a fine line, but in the case of Mr. Stanson v. Mr. Mott, left it to the trial court to decide:

Problems may arise, of course, in attempting to distinguish improper ‘campaign’ expenditures from proper ‘informational’ activities. With respect to some activities, the distinction is rather clear; thus, the use of public funds to purchase such items as bumper stickers, posters, advertising ‘floats,’ or television and radio ‘spots’ unquestionably constitutes improper campaign activity (see, e.g., Mines v. Del Valle, supra, 201 Cal. at p. 276, 257 P. 530; Porter v. Tiffany, supra, 502 P.2d at p. 1386), as does the dissemination, at public expense, of campaign literature prepared by private proponents or opponents of a ballot measure. (See 51 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 190, 194 (1968); Stern v. Kramersky, supra, 375 N.Y.S.2d 235.) On the other hand, it is generally accepted that a public agency pursues a proper ‘informational’ role when it simply gives a ‘fair presentation of the facts’ in response to a citizen’s request for information (see Citizens to Protect Pub. Funds v. Board of Education, supra, 98 A.2d 673, 677; Stern v. Kramarsky, supra, 375 N.Y.S.2d 235, 239—240; 51 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 190, 193 (1968)) or, when requested by a public or private organization, it authorizes as agency employee to present the department’s view of a ballot proposal at a meeting of such organization. (See Ed.Code, s 1073;cf. Citizens to Protect Pub. Funds v. Board of Education, supra, 98 A.2d 673, 677.)

      Frequently, however, the line between unauthorized campaign expenditures and authorized informational activities is not so clear. Thus, while past cases indicate that public agencies may generally publish a ‘fair presentation of facts’ relevant to an election matter, in a number of instances publicly financed brochures or newspaper advertisements which have purported to contain only relevant factual information, and which have refrained from exhorting voters to ‘Vote Yes,’ have nevertheless been found to constitute improper campaign literature. (See 35 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 112 (1960); 51 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 190 (1968); cf. 42 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 25, 27 (1964).) In such cases, the determination of the propriety or impropriety of the expenditure depends upon a careful consideration of such factors as the style, tenor and timing of the publication; no hard and fast rule governs every case.  Stanson v. Mott (1976) 17 Cal.3d 206, 221-222.
The question, then, is this presentation “fair and impartial?  The mailer does not say Vote for Measure N, (it says “vote on Mesaure N”).  On the other hand, it says that the Chief wants to keep students and school sites safe, and protect schools from intruders, and that many schools have outdated security alarms, inadequate fences and limited lighting. It then says that Measure N is on the ballot.  It then says that the priorities included in Measure N are the following safety and security upgrades.  Arguably, each of these things are true.  However, someone may argue that in placement of the needs and the solutions to that need together, the San Bernardino Unified School District has gone from a strictly informational piece about Measure N to advocating for voters to vote for Measure N.  Further, the style of the mailer looks like a campaign advocacy piece, showing the picture of the Chief in his uniform, showing stock photos of alarms and a fire pull box, and a drug free, gun free, school zone sign.
Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP
A: 1447 Ford St. #201
      Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 296-6708

Garage Sales and Yard Sales (and permits) in the Cities of Highland, Colton, Rialto, San Bernardino, Grand Terrace, Loma Linda, Redlands, Yucaipa and unincorporated San Bernardino County

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

People want to know how to get yard sale and garage sale permits in the East Valley, and they find this site because of this article about the City of San Bernardino’s yard sale ordinance.  Therefore, here is a chart to give a basic (but not complete) understanding of the rules and regulations regarding yard sales in the East Valley, here defined as the Cities of Colton, Rialto, San Bernardino, Grand Terrace, Loma Linda, Highland, Redlands, Yucaipa and unincorporated San Bernardino County such as Muscoy, Mentone, Oak Glen, Devore, Arrowhead Suburban Farms, Devore Heights, and Del Rosa.  Per the City Clerk of Loma Linda, there is no yard sale ordinance in the City of Loma Linda as of 10/17/2012.  Note also that homeowners associations (HOAs) probably have additional restrictions (particularly East Highlands Ranch) which you should look into.

City/Unincorporated Permit Required Permit Cost Where? Duration
Colton Yes $2, except charity, nonprofit, religious Finance Department 3 d, 8am-8pm
Grand Terrace Yes (Except Exemptions) $5 Finance Department 3 d, 8am-8pm
Highland Yes $7 Finance Department 3 d, 8am-8pm
Loma Linda N/A N/A N/A N/A
Redlands Yes $2.50 Treasurer 3 d or 2d each over consecutive weekends; 8 am-8pm
Rialto Yes (Except Exemptions) $5.40 Finance Department 3d, daylight
San Bernardino No (anomoly regarding Estate Sales) N/A N/A 3d, daylight
Yucaipa After 1st sale $2.50 (sales 2-4) Front Desk, City Hall 3d, 8am-8 pm
Unincorporated San Bernardino County No (See SBCC section 84.25.030(e) unless exceed standards of 84.10. N/A N/A 3d, 8am-5 pm
City/Unincorporated Frequency Display Signage Exemptions Ordinance Codified At Violation
Colton 1/quarter Not in PROW During, onsite Court sales Ord 1483 (1975); 0-3-1989 (1989) Colton Municipal Code Chapter 5.45 Misdemeanor
Grand Terrace 2/yr Not in PROW 2 onsite, unlit, 4ft area, 5 day limit, not on PROW, trees, fences, utility poles, removed at end Court sales, charitable, nonprofit, religious Ord 35 (1980) Grand Terrace Municipal Code Chapter 5.40 Infraction
Highland 3/12 mo Safety 1 onsite doublesided, 6 ft area, 5′ tall, 24 hours before until end. Court sales Ord 239 (1998) Highland Municipal Code section 5.04.370 Infraction
Loma Linda N/A N/A N/A N/A None N/A N/A
Redlands 3/12 mo Not in PROW, safety, only during sale Court sales Prior Code secs 24001-10; Ord 2684 (2007), 2779 (2012), Redlands Municipal Code Chapter 5.68 Infraction
Rialto 4/calendar yr only first weekend in March, June, September and December Not in PROW, front or side yards 2 onsite, 4ft area, 4directional signs, prohibited in PROW, >864 sq in., with permission of property owner. Nonprofits, Ord 1416 (2008) Rialto Municipal Code Chapter 5.69 Infraction; misdemeanor for <3/yr
San Bernardino 12/yr only on 3rd weekend of mo Not in PROW, safety, only during sale 3 onsite unlit 24 hr prior until end; 4 Directional 2 sq ft  on private property w/consent Estate sales as to frequency nonprofits as to frequency Ord MC-1344 (2011) San Bernardino Municipal Code Chapter 8.14 Infraction/misdemanor (woblette)
Yucaipa 4/12 mo Not in PROW 1 onsite, not in PROW Court sales Ord 102 (1992) Yucaipa Municipal Code Chapter 5.22 Infraction
Unincorporated San Bernardino County 4/yr Not in PROW 2 onsite, 4ft area, 4 directional signs, prohibited in PROW, 864 sq in., w/permission of property owner. None Ord. 411 (2007) San Bernardino County Code  Chapter 84.10 Infraction; misdemeanor for >3/yr

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. BE SURE TO CHECK WITH THE INVOLVED CITIES FOR CURRENT LAW AND FEES.

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

Friday Aside: A History of In-N-Out Burger in San Bernardino and environs

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

I’ve written about In-N-Out Burger a few times, particularly in relation to trade dress.  Someone reached my blog by asking “when did in n out open first in san bernardino ca.”  If the searcher was seeking when the Fifth Street location  (795 W. Fifth Street, San Bernardino) was built, that location was built in 2011, and opened at the end of 2011 (December 8, 2011).  It replaced the Second Street location (the address was technically 190 Bungalow Court), which closed on December 7, 2011.  The Second Street location was demolished after the State of California took possession on January 1, 2012.  The State of California acquired the parcel through eminent domain for the Interstate 215 widening project.  See Resolution CDC/2011-50 of the Community Development Commission of the City of San Bernardino.

The Bungalow Court location was there as long as I can remember,  and consisted of a double drive through and no inside eating area.  The location in south San Bernardino,was moved slightly to the north to 1065 E. Harriman Place during the creation of the HUB Project.  There was an Owner Participation Agreement between In-N-Out and the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Bernardino, acknowledged by Resolution 2001-317, approved by Mayor Valles on October 3, 2001. The old In-N-Out in North Loma Linda was also a double drive through.  According to a letter dated January 23, 1997 from then-attorney (and now Judge) Cynthia Ludvigsen, the old In-N-Out was on the northwest corner of Rosewood Drive  and Tippecanoe.  The Highland store  (28009 Greenspot Road, Highland, CA 92346) opened in 2012.
So, when did In-N-Out Burger open in San Bernardino?  The area near Central City Mall was redeveloped in the 1970s.  The Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Bernardino put out a photo survey of the downtown area before redevelopment, and if I recall correctly, the area on 2nd Street had houses in the early 1970s.

The In-N-Out website’s history section gives clues, but no answers.  Obviously, the first one opened in 1948 in Baldwin Park, the same year that McDonald’s converted to a quick serve restaurant from a barbecue restaurant in San Bernardino.  By 1958, there were five locations in the San Gabriel Valley.  By 1973, In-N-Out had 13 locations, all in Los Angeles County, and all with two drive through lanes and no inside eating. In 1979, the first In-N-Out with a dining room opened in Ontario as restaurant number 21.  The website adds that only 13 more no dining room locations were built after that.  By 1988, In-N-Out had 50 stores in total, and in each of the core Southern California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura.I have In-N-Out Santa glasses from 1982 that I know we bought from the 190 Bungalow Court location, so that probably means that the original downtown San Bernardino In-N-Out Burger was built between 1973 and 1982. [Update: October 17, 2012.  I couldn’t stand it any longer.  According to In-N-Out’s customer service line, the store was opened on February 11, 1982].

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.

Copyright 2012 Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

 

Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517

Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

E: michael@michaelreiterlaw.com

W: http://michaelreiterlaw.com

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

Measure R Proposed San Bernardino County Charter Amendment Initiative November 6, 2012

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Voters in the County of San Bernardino are voting on two competing charter amendments.  The first, alphabetically is Measure Q, which I wrote about yesterday.

Measure R is a voter-submitted Charter Amendment, but unlike Measure Q, amends more than just Article VI, Section 1 of the San Bernardino County Charter:

County Counsel, as required by the Government Code, created a summary of the charter initiative:

COMPENSATION LIMITS AND BUDGET REDUCTIONS FOR MEMBERS OF THE
COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS. INITIATIVE CHARTER AMENDMENT.
Changes the elected office of County Supervisor to a part-time position. Establishes the
maximum monthly compensation for the office of County Supervisor to a total amount of
$5,000 plus a cost of living adjustment not to exceed 5% annually. Cost to the County
of all County Supervisor benefits, including but not limited to, salary, health insurance,
life insurance, leave, retirement, memberships, portable communication devices, and
vehicle allowances shall be included in the $5,000. Establishes a maximum total annual
budget for each Member of the Board of Supervisors at an amount not to exceed five
(5) times the annual compensation amount for each Member. Limits retirement benefits
for the position of County Supervisor to that of regular, non-sworn-peace officer, County
employees. Eliminates the participation by any County Supervisor in the County’s
401(k), 401(a), or 457(b) Plan.

Article I,  Section 1 of the San Bernardino County Charter would be amended to read:

SECTION 1. The Board of Supervisors shall consist of five members, one from
each supervisorial district. The Supervisors shall be nominated and elected at the time
and in the manner provided by general laws, except that provided that each supervisor
shall be elected by the electors of such district and not by the electors of the County at
large.

The position of County Supervisor shall be considered a part-time position.
“Part-time” is defined as attending a minimum of two regular board meetings per
month. Members may hold full-time employment and must comply with economic
disclosure requirements as set forth in the County Code and the California Government
Code. as required.

Article VI, Section 1 would be replaced and Section 2 would be added:

SECTION I. The total compensation of each member of the Board of Supervisors shall be five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) per month, which amount shall include the
actual cost to the County of all benefits of whatever kind or nature including but not
limited to salary, allowances, credit cards, health insurance, life insurance, leave,
retirement, memberships, portable communication devices, and vehicle allowances. This
compensation amount shall be in full compensation for all services by the respective
member of the Board of Supervisors.
Annually, the compensation of Supervisors shall be increased by the percentage
of increase in the cost of living, to be determined by the County Auditor-Controller as of
November I st of each year as shown in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price
Index for the Los Angeles Region, not to exceed five percent (5%) per year, provided that
such adjustments shall be rounded to the nearest $100. Any amount of increase in the
cost of living in excess of five percent (5%) may be accumulated and applied to increase
in salary in future years.

The foregoing compensation provisions shall not be changed except by a vote of
the people at the time of a general election.

SECTION 2. The compensation amount provided in Article VI. Section 1 shall
not include amounts deemed to be mandatory employer contributions and/or payments
under state or federal law, including, but not limited to, contributions for social security,
workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, Public Employee Retirement System,
and reimbursement for actual expenses.

Measure R would add Article I, Section 10:

ARTICLE I. SECTION 10: BOARD OF SUPERVISORS BUDGET
The total annual budget for each Member of the Board of Supervisors, including.
but not limited to, all office operations, and including staff member salaries, office
equipment, rent, vehicle allowances, credit cards. health insurance, life insurance, leave,
retirement, memberships, and portable communication devices shall not exceed five (5)
times the annual compensation amount for each Member as provided in Article VI.
Section I of this Charter. Compensation for each member of the Board of Supervisors
shall be separate and apart from the foregoing amount.
At no time shall any County resources be directed to supplant this provision
through any other county department or division including the County Administrative
Office.
The foregoing compensation provisions shall not be changed except by a vote of
the people at the time of a general election.

The Measure continues with the addition of Article VI, Section 6 to the Charter of the County of San Bernardino:

ARTICLE VI. SECTION 6: RETIREMENT BENEFITS OF MEMBERS OF
THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
SECTION 6. Upon the commencement of the next regular individual respective
term of each member of the Board of Supervisors, each member of the Board of
Supervisors shall thereafter be limited to annual retirement pension benefits of regular,
non-sworn- peace officer, County employees. Any supplemental retirement allowance
and/or contribution on behalf of the respective Supervisors is hereby eliminated,
including, but not limited to, participation in the County’s 401(k) and 401(a) retirement
plans; participation in the County’s 457(b) plan is eliminated; and any matching
payment(s) on behalf of any or all of the Supervisors by the County.
For each member of the Board of Supervisors who is a participant in the County
retirement system and/or any successor retirement system (“retirement system”), the
earnable compensation amount used to calculate the relevant pension formula shall
consist of wages derived from the respective Supervisor’s hourly rate equivalent. All
other forms of compensation, including, but not limited to, automobile allowance, health
benefits, insurance, portable communication device allowance, and leave accrual cash-outs
shall be excluded.
The Board of Supervisors shall not take any action, by ordinance, resolution, or
otherwise, which increases the retirement benefits of members of the Board of
Supervisors, with the exception of statutorily-established cost of living adjustments,
without first obtaining the approval of a majority of those qualified electors voting on the
matter.
Prior to placement of any proposed increased benefits on the ballot, the retirement
system shall prepare, or have prepared on its behalf, an actuarial study of the cost and the
funded and unfunded actuarial accrued liability attributable to the retirement benefit
changes proposed by the amendment. Such actuarial study shall be available to the
public and a summary of the actuarial study shall be published in the ballot pamphlet.

The effective date is the next term of each Supervisor.  Measure Q, Section 5.

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

San Bernardino County Measure Q November 6, 2012

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Voters in the County of San Bernardino are voting on two competing charter amendments.  The first, alphabetically is Measure Q, found below:


Measure Q amends Article VI, Section of 1 of the County of San Bernardino’s Charter, which currently reads:

SECTION 1. The annual salaries of elected County Officials, excepting that of Superintendent of County Schools and other than members of the Board of Supervisors, shall be set by, but shall never exceed, the average of the salaries paid corresponding officials in the following California Counties: Riverside, Kern, San Diego, Orange and Ventura. The salaries shall be computed each year on December 1 as follows: On December 1, 1985, 70% of the average, on December 1, 1986, 80% of the average, on December 1, 1987, 90% of the average, and on December 1, 1988, and thereafter, 100% of the average; provided, however, that on December 1, 1989, and each December 1 thereafter, regardless of the amount of increase in the average salaries from the other counties, no increase shall exceed 4% of the annual salary of the elected official unless submitted to and approved by the voters of the county at a county-wide election. Where no comparable offices exist in a majority of named counties, the salary of the office shall be adjusted by the average of the percentage adjustments of the other county officials governed by this section. No provision of this amendment shall provide retroactive benefits. No salary adjustment shall be made on December 1, 1985, for any elected official whose salary has been adjusted since November 7, 1978, but such salaries shall be adjusted thereafter in accordance with this section.

The annual salaries of members of the Board of Supervisors shall be set by, but shall never exceed, the average of the salaries paid members of the Board of Supervisors in the following California Counties:  Riverside, Orange, San Diego and Los Angeles.  Commencing December 1, 2006, the salaries of the members of the Board of Supervisors shall be 90% of the average of the representative Counties.  On December 1, 2007, the salaries of the members of the Board of Supervisors shall be 95% of the average of the representative Counties.  On December 1, 2008, and thereafter, salaries of the members of the Board of Supervisors shall be 100% of the average of the representative Counties.  The salaries shall be adjusted at such times as the representative Counties are adjusted. Commencing January 1, 2007, the Chair of the Board of Supervisors shall be paid a differential equal to 7.5% of the salary of a Board member in recognition of the additional duties of that office.

Here is a legislative version that I have created, taking the new text and the old text and making a strike-out version:

As you can see, this referendum takes the existing paragraph 2 of the Charter and makes it paragraph one, and makes changes to the existing language without making modifications to the original paragraph 1, now paragraph 2.

The changes to paragraph 1 are changing the term salary to compensation (and including salary and benefits), adding the word comparison before California Counties, and deleting Los Angeles as a comparison county.  It removes the language referring to the increases starting December 1, 206, and defines “compensation” to mean “all salary paid, and the amount of all benefits payable to the Board member or payable on behalf of the Board member, but compensation shall not include amounts a county is otherwise  legally obligated to pay to third parties, including but not limited to employer contributions to a defined benefit retirement system, Medicare, workers compensation or Social Security, and reimbursement for reasonable and necessary business expenses.”  It then gives a new method of recalculating compensation starting December 1, 2013, and states on that date that the maximum salary and benefits must be posted on the County website.

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 returning California Mobilehome Parks Act responsibility back to the State of California

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Yesterday, at the October 1, 2012 meeting of the Mayor and Common Council, the council voted 6-0 (with Council member Wendy McCammack absent) to lay over for final adoption an ordinance repealing San Bernardino Municipal Code Chapter 15.55 and returning responsibility for enforcing the California Mobilehome Parks Act to the State of California through the Department of Housing and Community Development.  A substitute motion proposed by staff to transfer responsibility to the code enforcement division was withdrawn.

When I was a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, I had to review every mobilehome notice of violation before they were issued. Long-time readers of this blog will remember that I was hired about a month after the City’s closure of the Cypress Inn Mobilehome Park and the Valente Duran letter.

Because of cut backs related to the City’s bankruptcy, the staff responsible for the inspections was cut.   The move to return responsibility to the state will save about $100,000 according to the staff report, a rather small amount of the City’s budget.

During the roughly sixteen minute discussion, City Attorney James F. Penman said that the need for local inspections was great, that the condition of the City’s mobilehome parks had deteriorated in the last ten to fifteen years, that he didn’t know the solution, because he was confident that code enforcement did not have sufficient training to do the 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 92373-5235
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

City of San Bernardino Mayor’s Office Chart as of July 23, 2012

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

As a follow-up to the post on San Bernardino’s Fiscal Emergency Operation Plan Memorandum, the snapshot of the City of San Bernardino’s Community Development Department Code Enforcement Division, and  Enforcement salaries, and  organization of the City Manager’s Office in San Bernardino, dated July 23, 2012, this is a look at the organization of the Mayor’s Office, headed by San Bernardino Mayor Patrick J. Morris.

As you might guess, Mayor Patrick Morris is at the top of the organizational chart. The first branch under the top of the tree is a branch with the Executive Assistant to the Mayor, Julie Frazier-Matthews.  To the right of that is a leaf that says “Education Partnerships.”  In this chart, an Office Assistant, Raymond Lomeli, reports to the Executive Assistant to the Mayor.  To the right of the Office Assistant is another leaf that says “Administration & Customer Service.”

Below the branch with the Executive Assistant to the Mayor is another branch, on the left side of the organizational tree.  It has one leaf, Chief of Staff Jim Morris.  Jim Morris is the son of Mayor Patrick Morris.

Then, directly below the Executive Assistant to the Mayor and the Chief of Staff, but reporting directly to the Mayor (according to the organizational chart) are three branches, “Environmental & Healthy City Partnerships,” Transportation Partnerships & Intergovernmental Relations,” and “Community Safety Partnerships.”  Each has one employee.  Under the first, “Environmental & Healthy City Partnerships,” is Assistant to the Mayor I, Avianna Cerezo.  Next, under “Transportation Partnerships & Intergovernmental Relations” is Assistant to the Mayor III, Casey Dailey.  Lastly, under “Community Safety Partnerships” is Kent Paxton.

In all, we see as of July 23, 2012, there are seven positions in the Mayor’s Office.  However, according to the proposed budget attached before the organizational chart, there is no line item showing amounts budgeted for salary or benefits for Chief of Staff.  The requested budget for FY 2012-2013 shows $730,434 (an 18.8 percent increase over projected FY 2011-2012)  for salary and benefits for the Mayor’s Office, and $931,715 for the requested budget for FY 2012-2013 (a 1.9 percent decrease from projected FY 2011-2012.  The decrease in the proposed non-personnel budget comes from just two line items: a decrease of $13,700 (to zero) in Professional/Contractual Services and $700 (from $800 to $100) in Fleet Charges, fuel.

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