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Atherton - Charter City?

Original post made by Bell Rizzo on May 12, 2012

Atherton's Council will consider whether to become a Charter City this Wednesday.

From Wikipedia:

For example, in California, cities which have not adopted a charter are organized by state law. Such a city is called a General Law City, which will be managed by a 5-member city council.

A city organized under a charter may choose different systems, including the "strong mayor" or "city manager" forms of government.

One example of abuse of the charter system was in Bell, California. The charter was created after a lit­tle-no­ticed spe­cial elec­tion, where few voters understood what becoming a charter city meant. After a charter was approved, state laws limiting city salary no longer applied and City Manager Robert Rizzo gave himself a salary of $1.5 million for managing a city of about 36,000 people.

As of June 2008, 112 of California's 478 cities are charter cities. A few examples include Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, and Irvine.

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Comments (3)

Posted by farmville, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm

What could possibly go wrong?


Posted by Between the lines, a resident of Atherton: other
on May 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Unions hate charter cities since they have more flexibility in dealing with fiscal union issues. In a charter city, voters can determine benefits for union workers such as police and fire.

Smart move by Atherton to try to get its fiscal house in order. Expect unions to lobby strenuously to prevent it.


Posted by Questions, a resident of Atherton: other
on May 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Since the council eliminated one union last year, this is about more than union. Would a charter city allow the council to tax real estate transactions?


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