OCEANSIDE — The motion to form an ad hoc committee to help interpret the newly adopted city charter failed July 14 due to lack of a second on the motion.
Proposition K’s city charter was approved by 14,951 yes votes to 12,846 no votes in the June 8 election.
The charter gives the city power to change city election procedures, public works contracts, and city taxes and assessments.
Three central charter provisions that deal with labor and construction issues take effect automatically. A provision frees the city from paying prevailing wage on construction projects that do not involve state or federal money, a provision prevents the city from requiring project labor agreements on construction projects, and a provision requires city workers to give written permission for labor groups to deduct dues from their paychecks for political purposes.
The option to forego the payment of prevailing wage has already saved the city money.
“With three projects we got $140,000 in immediate payback,” Councilman Jerry Kern said. “I’m really happy the charter passed. As time goes on we’ll save more and more money.”
While the charter provisions are clear-cut the city’s authority over municipal affairs is open to interpretation. These areas range from regulation of the police force, developing sub-government in parts of the city, conduct of city elections, and appointment or removal of city employees.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez made the motion to form a seven-member ad hoc committee of two council members and five citizens to help interpret these areas of the city charter law. “My biggest fear is that we ensure we are protected,” Sanchez said. “It’s a lack of respect for residents not to include them in process. Due process is something I’m very passionate about.”
Residents also expressed concerned about the newly adopted charter that was brought to the June ballot with no public input and 3-2 council support, from Councilmen Jerry Kern, Jack Feller and former Councilman Rocky Chavez.
“It’s what it doesn’t say,” Dave Branfman, an Oceanside resident, said. “Prop. K is lacking in substance. Getting some citizen involvement is a good thing.”
“We did not get to have input in the charter,” Susie Coker, an Oceanside resident, said. “We’re facing a brand new road. The desires and voices of citizens should not be diminished.”
Other council members said an ad hoc committee is premature and may not be necessary. “We’re getting our feet wet and figuring out how we can take control from the state,” Feller said.
Many California charter cities have committees to help interpret their charters. There is a possibility an Oceanside ad hoc committee will be formed in the future.