City Journal Spring 2014

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Spring 2014
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Jeremy Rozansky
The Problem and Promise of Charter Cities « Back to Story

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What's happening re: Charter reform as of this date.

I try go read the charter on line at the official site but it won't open up.
The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) does not necessarily oppose either of the options being considered for San Bernardino’s City Charter, but instead we would strongly support a revised charter that includes language that ensures open, fair and competitive bidding on all public works projects here in the City of San Bernardino.

Remember, it is not a choice of just the current charter or no charter. By passing the RIGHT city charter, one that ensures open and fair competition on city projects, we can address this out-of-control government spending before we saddle our next generation with even more debt.

A charter ensuring fair and open competition would give your citizens a RARE opportunity to meaningfully free San Bernardino from some of the costly, excessive, and unnecessary mandates endlessly coming from the California State Legislature.

By passing a charter ensuring fair and open competition, San Bernardino will be able to establish its own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing” wages) for purely municipal construction.

Until the legislature approves reasonable prevailing wage reform bills, San Bernardino and all other general law California cities will continue to be victimized by bizarre methods of calculating prevailing wage and absurd definitions of public works.

But with a charter ensuring fair and open competition, on projects that San Bernardino pays for with its own money, once a reformed Charter is passed, SB will be able to see substantial savings.

As was recently pointed out in the Daily Pilot newspaper in Costa Mesa, if the Charter had passed in June, the savings would have been a minimum of 10% on prevailing wages for the road work that’s being started on the city’s Eastside, approximately $670,000 in savings.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Just one small project would already save Costa Mesa taxpayers well over a half million dollars.

Including a provision in a revised SB charter guaranteeing fair and open competition in construction contracts ensures the best quality work at the best price for taxpayers.
The real problem isn't that the cities have charter status, but that the local voters haven't paid attention to their local governments. They get what they deserve, e.g. Bell & Vernon, California, Compton Community College District, etc. Regardless of the status of the government in question, the local electorate needs to pay attention to what is going on around them.
Charter reform is needed but not complete repeal as was attempted. Now is not the time though. We must first get through the BK and then we can work through the charter.
Excellent, objective analysis and advice.