A little background on Measure U.Measure U is the result of a year-long process that is part of the last time major amendments were made to the city's charter. At that time, those who created the current version of our charter, decided that it would be a good idea to revisit the charter every 10 years to update it and make it more of a "living" document, responsive to the times in which we are living.
In May of 2010 (5 months later than it should have) the city council formed, per the charter, a special commission made up of 15 members, 2 appointed by each councilmember and 3 by the mayor, to review and make amendments to the charter. Under the charter, the council was obligated to put onto the next general election ballot anything that came out of the commission. The result is Measure U on the November ballot.
First, who were these commissioners and what did they bring to the table?The 15 members of the commission were a diverse group of men, women, anglo, latino, African-American, and Native Americans from all areas of the city. There were conservatives, liberals, moderates and all stripes of citizens. Many on the commission were then serving, or had previously served on most of the city's commissions including Planning, Cultural Arts, Parks & Rec, and Library Commission. Most had a deep understanding of their communities and the overall needs of the city.
In a series of posts I will endeavor to go over all of the changes that this amendment will provide in a new charter. But as background I'd like to first discuss one of the things that I most often hear as a complaint, "why did you group all of this into one ballot measure?" While I, and others on the commission would have preferred to have split this into multiple ballot measures, we were constantly bombarded by the city with the argument that each measure is costly and the city cannot afford it at this time. We heard that argument on a lot of the issues that we tackled and some good ideas were left behind as "too costly." It was the decision of the commission to group everything into a single item as a cost saving measure, no other motives were involved.
Over the next few days I will endeavor to go over the individual issues that are included in the measure. They include:
- Change of voting for mayor
- Police Commission
- Changes to Charter Review Process
- Instant Runoff Voting/Ranked Voting
- Addition of Council job description
- Changes to conflicts of interest section
- Issues relating to changes in district boundaries
- Inclusion of Youth and Family Master Plan
- Council absentees
- Filling of commission vacancies