The San Bernardino General Municipal Election: A History

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charter section 10 was next amended in 1949 to read:

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

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

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

In 1966, section 10 was amended again:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

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

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

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.

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

Adoption and Amendments to the San Bernardino City Charter by Election

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 7, 1922 [Special Municipal Election]

November 4, 1924  [Special Municipal Election]

April 13, 1925 [Special Municipal Election]

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

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

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

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

May 16, 1944 [Special Municipal Election]

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 19, 1957 [Primary Municipal Election]

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

March 17, 1959 [Primary Municipal Election]

March 21, 1961

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

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

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

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

February 6, 1973

June 4, 1974

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

March 6, 1979

November 1984

November 1988 [Held with a Presidential General Election]

March 7, 1989

June 2, 1992

March 7, 1995

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1900s: 2

1910s: 2

1920s: 4

1930s: 3

1940s: 5

1950s:6

1960s:5

1970s: 4

1980s: 3

1990s:4

2000s: 4

2010s: 1

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

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

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

A: 1255 W. Colton Ave. Suite 104, Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 708-6055