The Escondido City Council will hold the second public hearing on the proposed Charter City ballot measure on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at the 6:00 p.m. City Council meeting. A copy of the draft charter may be found on the City’s website at http://www.escondido.org/Data/Sites/1/media/PDFs/CC_Proposal.PDF
As part of the public hearing, the City Council requested that staff evaluate and bring back alternative forms of electing the mayor and city council for possible inclusion in the City Charter. Options to be reviewed include, among others, district elections, cumulative voting, run-off style elections and other options to the current at-large system of electing the Mayor and City Councilmembers.
The Escondido City Council currently plans to place a charter city proposal on the November 2012 ballot to change the governing system from a general law city to a charter city. In California, there are two kinds of cities: charter cities and general law cities. Of the 477 cities in the state, 105 are chartered. Both kinds of cities have broad powers and enjoy considerable freedom in the form of government, which may be established, and the types of activities in which they may engage.
A general law city operates within the parameters of California municipal law. The advantage of a general law city is that general state laws have been subjected to judicial scrutiny and tested over the years, so there is relatively little confusion about their application. A charter city is defined by the city's own charter rather than by state, regional or national laws. An advantage of a charter city is that its powers are not restricted to only those outlined in the general state municipal law, so a city can tailor its organization to provide for unique local conditions and needs.
The first public hearing was held on April 18, 2012.