Rancho Palos Verdes Adoption of a City Charter, Measure RPV-C (March 2011)
If Measure C had been approved, the City of Rancho Palos Verde would have been governed by its own charter, rather than under the California's general law city provisions. In addition to changing Rancho Palos Verde from a general law city to a charter city, Measure C also would have adopted a specific charter. The specific charter that Measure C would have enacted was the source of most opposition to Measure C.
The "yes" and the "no" campaigns for Measure C both sported lengthy lists of supporters. Former mayors of Rancho Palos Verdes were about equally split, with several in the "yes" camp and several in the "no" camp.
The official voter guide arguments in favor of a "yes" vote on Measure C were signed by:
- Ann Shaw, a former mayor of Rancho Palos Verde
- Anthony Self, a businessman in Rancho Palos Verde
- Stefan Wolowicz, member of the Rancho Palos Verde city council
- Paul Tetreault, Rancho Palos Verde planning commissioner
- William James, chair, Rancho Palos Verde Finance Advisory Committee
The "Yes on C" campaign committee also lists several dozen supporters, including:
- Tom Long, Mayor
- Anthony Misetich, Mayor Pro Tem
- Brian Campbell, Councilmember
- Douglas Stern, Councilmember
Arguments in favor
The main arguments that "Yes on C" supporters made are that as a charter city, Rancho Palos Verde would be able to:
- "Potentially save millions of dollars on city construction projects because prevailing wage laws will apply to fewer projects."
- "Award contracts to the most qualified bidder, instead of the lowest."
- "Use a design-build process for public improvements, which saves time and money."
- "Adopt ordinances and city codes in a shorter time period."
- "Better protect our revenue streams from diversion by the state."
Supporters of C also said that the charter would retain state limits on councilmember compensation, retain RPV's current process to approve staff compensation, prohibit gifts of public funds, and ensures the Zoning Ordinance's consistency with our City's General Plan.
Opponents of Measure C included:
- Sharon Yarber, who chaired the No on RPV Measure C committee.
- The Honorable Edward A. Hinz, Jr., retired Justice of the 2nd District California Court of Appeal
- Former Mayor Barbara Ferraro
- Former Mayor Marilyn Lyon
- Bob Nelson, Past Vice Chairman RPV Finance
- Barry Hildebrand, Former Chair, RPV Traffic Committee
- List of those supporting a "no" vote on Measure C
Arguments for a "no" vote on Measure C primarily related to the specific city charter that was being proposed, rather than being an objection to the basic idea of having a city charter. The objections to the specific city charter that would have been enacted if Measure C is approved included:
- The proposed charter is poorly written and gives too much power to the city council.
- "The proposed charter would give power to just THREE members of the Council to enact all new election laws without voter approval, including dividing the city into voting districts, establishing City registration requirements, establishing new Council candidate qualifications for office [and] increas[ing] the percentage of registered voters' signatures required on a petition to place a referendum, recall, or initiative on the ballot."
- If the city is adopted, it will take only three votes on the council to "adopt an ordinance (subject to voter approval) to impose a real property transfer tax on all real estate sales transactions."
- If the city is adopted, it will take only three votes on the council to "adopt ordinances imposing huge fines and penalties with no maximums, since no maximums are included in the proposed charter."
- Under the proposed charter, the city council will be able to "adopt ordinances more quickly with less voter awareness and input."
- Adopting this charter will make RPV vulnerable to the same type of corruption that occurred in Bell, California because it will remove from RPV the general law city safeguards built into the state's constitution. Sharon Yarber, an attorney who is a leading opponent of Measure RPV-C, said at a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters, "Thank God Bell broke because if the scandal in Bell hadn't broken we would have a one-page charter that wouldn't have any restrictions whatsoever."
Opponents of Measure C have also objected to arguments made by supporters, by asking these questions:
- "If possibly saving money by not paying prevailing wages is the primary motivation for Measure C, why doesn't the proposed charter exempt the city from paying them?"
- "Why is the city saying they can 'nail down' tax revenues when the city attorney wrote that charter cities have not avoided Sacramento's tax-revenue raids better than general law cities?"
- "Have neighborhoods that support Measure C, like those adjacent to Marymount College, been led to believe voting districts will be formed so they can keep their own eastside representative on council, or the initiative process will become more difficult?"
Text of measure
The question on the ballot:
|Measure RPV-C: Shall the proposed City Charter be adopted to change the City of Rancho Palos Verdes from a general law city to a charter city?|
- Official website of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes
- Text of the proposed charter
- City attorney's analysis
- Argument in favor
- Extensive background information on Measure C
- "Yes on C" website
- "No on C" website