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Too broad charter will be rejected by voters

From: domainremoved <Lynne>
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2018 18:26:20 -0700

Hello Council,

The staff report (18-055-CC) for the draft charter process and timeline has
some concerning details. It starts by asserting that "over the years, Menlo
Park has wanted to pursue certain initiatives that were only available to
charter cities."

The vague, "over the years" and "Menlo Park" and "certain initiatives"
should be more specific. How many years? Who is "Menlo Park?" Staff?
Council? The public deserves the details.

The "certain initiatives" phrase that the unspecified "Menlo Park" wants to
implement pertains to a sweeping list of potential initiatives. Agreeing
to this would give too broad powers to staff and council. As explained in
paragraph four, staff recommends that council adopt a "simple enabling
charter" that would give the city "power to establish local regulations in
the key municipal areas of public works contracts, purchasing, public
financing, utilities, revenue retention, land use, elections, fines and
penalties." The list seems more like items that staff gets involved in and
then presents to Council. Giving staff even more power (without enough
accountability, transparency and responsiveness to the public) is not a
good idea and this will be rejected by voters.

I agree with Steve Chessin and Jen Wolosin's recommendations on this topic.
Adopt a simple charter that is completely transparent. Focus the charter on
codifying the districting plan that you adopt. If you want to add changes
later, than do that in a way that's transparent and allows for a public
vote.

Voters will reject a too-broad charter that is basically a blank check for
staff and/or council to fill in.

Lynne Bramlett
Received on Tue Mar 13 2018 - 18:28:40 PDT

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