Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Final Maps for Pomona City

 Well, the final decennial map for the Pomona city council districts has been completed. We now know how the city will be split among the 6 council districts.

The new districts are likely to have impacts on the representation over the next 10 years. Some potential candidates might find themselves running in areas that they wouldn't have anticipated. Some will run in districts that look similar to what they looked like for the past 30 years. The final map will not appeal to everyone, but I congratulate the commission on coming up with a map that gives equal representation throughout the city without marginalizing any single group, nor giving extra representation to any special group.

So Let's Take a Look at The Maps

Here is the map showing the current (pre-redistricting) districts and how they lay out.

Here is the new, final district map which will be in effect prior to the November 2022 election.

You can immediately see that districts 5, 1 and 6 are significantly changed, while 2, 3, and 4 are changed but have a much more traditional feel. This is how the commission dealt with the fact that current D6 was 17% over populated and D5 was almost 23% under populated. In order to make D5 larger and D6 smaller, D1 in the middle had to grow to the north and shrink to the west and south.

How will this impact the city's political climate moving forward?

Below are my opinions, based on my view of the current situation and how these changes will impact it. Again, these are my opinions and I'm sure that others will have differing ideas.

District 1: Current Councilperson, John Nolte, next election, November 2024 (possible primary in March 2024*)

The potential for a major change in the focus for this district is fairly great. While it was originally a middle of the city from Garey to the western border district that included Cal-Poly, it now is the "Ganesha Hills" district and includes Fairplex, Ganesha Hills, Mountain Meadows and neighborhoods north of the 10 Freeway. The district goes from 81% Hispanic to 76%. The African American population there goes from 5% to 6%, The white population here goes from 6% to 10%.

Interestingly, household income will go from over 52% in the $50k and above brackets to 55% in those top brackets. Also it will increase from slightly lower than 50/50 renters to owners to a full 50/50 split.

Politically, current councilman Nolte will probably face some opposition from the well-moneyed area of the hills. Candidates from the old D6 from that area have included former councilwoman Debra Martin, Ron Vander Molen, Miranda Sheffield, and Eunice Russell, among others in recent years. If the voters pass the charter amendment to create primaries, there should be a robust number of candidates vying for this seat in March 2024. The current councilman will do well to reach out to the new residents of his district over the next 2 years. This also means that D6 councilperson Robert Torres will no longer represent the higher income areas of Ganesha Hills, and Mountain Meadows, nor will he represent the Fairplex, whose supporters and detractors mostly will be in D1. D1 also adds the Hacienda Historic District to its current Wilton Heights Historic District.

District 2: Current Councilperson, Victor Preciado, next election, November 2022 (this year)

D2 has been changed mostly along its northern and eastern edges. It has been changed to now include all of the area of downtown, which for decades has been split between 4 council districts. In the past the argument was made that the downtown (development) was too important to give to one councilmember. However, this meant that there was not a unified voice for the actual residents of the area. Early in the redistricting process, the downtown core was identified as a "community of interest," meaning that efforts should be made to allow them to elect a common voice for their area. This map accomplishes that goal.

This district has not changed a whole lot as far as population (there is a lot of business property in this district). It goes from 81% Hispanic to 80% Hispanic. 52% of household income is less than $50k. 62% of residents in D2 are renters.

Politically, this district is having an election this year in November. While there are almost always opposition candidates in this area, councilmember Preciado will find himself with a district where he is well-known. He will need to solidify his vision for downtown if he wishes to continue as the sole downtown councilperson.

District 3: Current Councilperson, Nora Garcia, next election, November 2022 (this year)

D3 is probably the least impacted by redistricting this year. The only changes are adding a small sliver north of the railroad tracks from D4 an squaring off its western border, adding a few blocks from D2.

The demographics of this district have not changed much. It looks pretty much the same as it did for the years that it was represented by councilmember Cristina Carrizosa. Councilmember Garcia should have an easier time with it as it will only include a very few new voters to the district.

District 4: Current Councilperson, Elizabeth Ontiveros-Cole, next election, November 2024 (possible primary in March 2024*)

D4 will see some moderate changes, maintaining its east, north, and western boundaries but losing some population in the south. D4 will lose its small portion of the downtown and some of Holt Avenue west of Towne. The Lincoln Park Historic District will remain completely in D4.

The demographics are almost completely unchanged. The only real major issue for the current councilperson may be the loss of the western end of the Holt corridor, originally D1, which will now be shared by D1, 2, & 5. Since Holt is mainly business and has few voting residents, its importance is mostly in how future councilmembers may view the development of the major corridor in their districts. Again, politically, with little change (exclusively loss of area) this district should not be a target for shifting population politics.

District 5: Current Councilperson, Steve Lustro, next election, November 2022 (this year)

D5 is the district which has been the recipient of the largest population shift as a result of this year's census. The census showed that it was underpopulated by about 22+%. This means that the commission had to add a large number of population to D5 in order to equalize the population among the 6 districts.

The current D5 has much of its western boundary east of the 57 Freeway, skirting Cal Poly. The new D5 will include all of Cal Poly and move the district to the western border of the city including a small area along the 10 freeway even crossing over for a few neighborhoods. The southern portions of the district remain intact. While still not ideal population, it is now only short by under 1%

The demographic shifts here are the most severe in the city. The Hispanic population of D5 goes from the current 46% (currently the only district in the city with less than 50% Hispanic) to 53%. However, if you count voting age population, it is still below 50% at 44%. D5 currently has the largest Asian population at 28%, which now drops to 23%, while still maintaining its rank of the highest. The education level has decreased somewhat going from 25% with a BA to 22%. D5 has the highest level of home ownership with 71% and only 29% renters. This is also the wealthiest district (by average incomes) with 53% of the population having a household income of more than $75k.

Politically, this district will see many new voters and the potential for candidates from different sectors. While this district has traditionally been the "Phillips Ranch" district, it now encompasses a much wider demographic. With its income levels, fundraising should not be an issue. While it still has the lowest Hispanic population among the 6 districts, they still maintain a wide plurality. However, this is also the largest Asian population and might encourage an Asian-American candidate to form alliances for a successful run. With the addition of the Cal Poly campus and the surrounding housing, candidates will need to shift focus from Phillips Ranch to other types of populations.

District 6: Current Councilperson, Robert Torres, next election, November 2024 (possible primary in March 2024*)

D6 had a major shift in population as well. With excess population of almost 18%, the commission had to find a way to reduce the population of the district. As mentioned, most of that was moved to D1 including all of Mountain Meadows, Ganesha Hills, and Fairplex, all at the western end of the current district. D6 still maintains the Yorba area across White from the Fairplex as well as Pomona Valley Hospital. The southern boundary remains at the 10 Freeway from Garey to the eastern city limit.

As for the demographics, the district goes from being nearly 18% overpopulated to being a little more than 2% underpopulated. However, the population figures don't take into account the large Gabriel development at Bonita and Harrison with its 312 units probably adding over 600 to the D6 population within the next few months. Income levels remain fairly consistent with the current D6 with 51% of the households in the district making over $75k.

Politically, this area will no longer be the Ganesha Hills district so we can look toward future candidates who are not as likely to have been as active in civic matters. Robert Torres should be able to solidify his support without the politically active and often well financed residents of Ganesha Hills. It will be interesting to see where future candidates come from. Will it be the somewhat active residents of the Yorba area or the residents who are often described as "Claremont adjacent" from the far north. Regardless it will likely be a major shift.


November will find many Pomona residents voting this year who were probably not expecting to have a city election until next year. Those who live in D1 that have been moved to D5 will face this issue. This will impact voters west of the 57 freeway and north of the 71 especially along the city's western limit. Additionally voters who were in D4 south of Holt and east of White will suddenly find themselves in D1 whose election is this year. In 2024, many will see different candidates than they might have expected, especially in D6 and D1.

Next time, I'm planning on writing about the redistricting process this year. Things we've learned, things we can improve and how to make the process better with an eye to both IF the charter amendment passes creating a permanent redistricting commission or if it fails, what the next steps by a future council might be.

* IF the charter amendment on the November 2022 ballot is approved by the voters, then there will be a primary election in 2024, if not, then the election will be in November.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Draft Maps

 I was asked to create a new post on the draft maps moving forward through the Pomona Independent Redistricting Commission. All maps can be viewed at drawpomona.org

Some Overview

Every 10 in years ending in 0, the US does a census for the purposes of equalizing representation. This includes all levels of government. At the federal level, different states handle it in different ways. In most jurisdictions, the governing body draws the lines which in some cases results in gerrymandering by politicians to favor their party. In California at the state level, we do this via an independent redistricting commission. This process has been followed also by LA County and the city of Pomona, who each have set up commissions to take it out of the hands of politicians. Some jurisdictions, such as PUSD, still have elected boards do the redistricting.

The original goal is to create roughly equal districts so that each elected official represents nearly the same number of residents (citizens, non-citizens, voters, non-voters, people of voting age and children). Additionally, newer laws require such things as an honest attempt to not divide "communities of interest." That is racial communities, neighborhoods, and other groups with cultural commonalities.

Pomona's Challenges

Ideally, each district would have the same number of residents as determined by the census. Pomona's ideal district would have 25,425. Under law, no district can be more than 10% over or under the ideal number. Pomona's current districts are out of balance as shown here (shown as difference from the ideal number:

  • D1 +515 or 2.03% over
  • D2 -573 or 2.25% under
  • D3 -1175 or 4.62% under
  • D4 +2414 or 9.49% over (near limit)
  • D5 -5665 or 22.28% under (under limit)
  • D6 +4482 or 17.63% over (well over limit)
Thus the commission must take population away from D6 and must add population to D5. Since these districts are at the north and south edges of the city, all districts will be impacted and have changes.

The Maps Moving Forward

At their February 23 meeting, the commission went over all 28 maps submitted by the public and fellow commissioners, as well as two others that were not submitted but were worked on by commissioners. Of these, 4 were not properly population balanced (proposed districts under or over 10% of the ideal number) which were taken out of consideration. After a lot of discussion, the commission moved forward 7 proposed maps for further consideration. These are maps 104, 107, 108, 115, 117, 119, and 129. The commission must choose a final map no later than March 23. They will have a special meeting on March 10 (5pm) to try and come up with a single map for final consideration.

The Map that Should be Eliminated

While the above is mainly fact, here is where I'll get into my opinion. Map 117 despite being population balanced, is the only map moving forward which has ALL districts in the city with over 50% voting age Hispanic population. The Fair Maps laws say that maps should not be created to give any racial group a dominance over others when possible. All the maps have 5 districts with over 50% voting age population which does reflect the city's population, But the other maps do have District 5 that is slightly under 50% Hispanic and the largest possible Asian Pacific Islander population in the 20+% range. As commission chair expressed, map 117 is problematic and would likely be challenge in court. For this reason I feel is should be immediately eliminated.

Maps That Change the North

There appear to be two philosophies about how to make district 6 smaller. My own, and the one exemplified by map 107 of those moving forward for consideration. This would carve out an area to the extreme east of the district, moving it into D4. This would preserve the 10 Freeway as a boundary, include the hospital, fairplex, and Ganesha Hills. To my mind this causes the least amount of disruption to the bulk of D6. It would require trimming some of D4 to its current southern border. What I, personally don't like about map 107 is that it moves D2 from its current mid city alignment north to the 10 Freeway between White and Towne. This would also combine the Wilton and Lincoln Park Historic Districts into one council district.

The rest of the maps attempt to carve out the western side of D6 moving Ganesha Hills and Fairplex into district 1, with map 129 moving a sliver of D6 western edge  going into D5. 

Some Conclusions and Recommendations

None of the maps will please everyone. There are many communities of interest who don't want to be split in their representation, that's the way is always happens. The goals here are the minimize the main for everyone. While I would love to see the historic districts each in a different council district as they are now, that may not be possible due to the shifting population. I do feel that the commission will have a lot of work on their hands at their March 10 meeting to try and converge the 7 maps into one that can be supported by a large part of the population. I think we're on the right track with some of the maps and way off base with some. Mostly, those maps that try to completely redefine traditional districts and make broad changes should be rejected and maps which nudge boundaries at their edges, while maintaining traditional neighborhoods should be considered.

Now it's a wait and see as to the thinking of the commission. Unfortunately, the process was slow to start and now they are faced with making a decision on a quick time schedule without the kind of careful crafting that we all would hope for.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Pomona Redistricting

It’s redistricting time again in Pomona. If you haven’t been aware, and I’m guessing by the attendance at the independent redistricting commission meetings that most of you aren’t, new district lines will be drawn for Pomona which will be in use for at least the next 10 years. Draft maps have been proposed and are available for public scrutiny. You can view all of the maps (including those that were not considered because they were not population balanced) at: https://drawpomona.org/draft-maps/.


The key to the new maps is to draw balanced maps. That is, where each district has nearly the same population numbers. In addition, you try to balance areas of common interest so that districts are not breaking up neighborhoods or ethnic enclaves. You can try your hand at map drawing at https://districtr.org/plan. Maps can then be saved and submitted to the commission for consideration.  Additional maps may be proposed prior to February 10 if you want to get in on the fun. 

The challenge in drawing balanced maps is that currently D6 is overpopulated and needs to be made smaller, and D5 is underpopulated and needs to be made larger. Since these two districts are at the extreme north (all north of the 10 freeway) and southwest, it will impact all the other districts as well.

Below are my personal opinions regarding the draft maps currently under consideration.

Of the maps which were under review at the January meeting, I have a preference for map #105. While maps are anonymous, I suspect that map 105 was drawn by an older white dude, probably the kind of guy who wears suspenders and hats with a feather in the band. This map is population balanced and in compliance with the fair maps act and other Federal and State requirements.

To make D6 smaller, it takes areas north of the 10 freeway to the extreme eastern corner of the city and moves them into D4. This keeps Fairplex, Ganesha Hills, Mountain Meadows, and the Hospital district in D6, while moving a wholly residential area into D4. My personal interest is to maintain the historic districts as common communities of interest and this map maintains Lincoln Park in D4, Wilton in D1, and Hacienda in D6.

Additionally it takes the historic downtown area from being split up between 4 council districts and consolidates it into D1. I feel that this gives downtown residents a unified voice on the council. I believe in the past that it was considered that businesses would benefit from having 4 councilmembers representing those interests. Open for debate.

As for D5, this map maintains the western side of the district and moves the district more into the southern part of the city.

A map which was preferred by the commission chair was map 104:

This map reduces D6 by moving D1 into the Mountain Meadows, Ganesha Park, and Fairplex areas into D1. This would maintain the hospital district and concentrate the rest of D6 to the northeast corner of the city. The rest of the districts are similar in shape to map 105. One of the problems that I see is that D1 under this plan would be 1.54% over populated (maps must be within 10% of equal so this is OK), but that doesn’t take into account that with the not counted development at the Pomona North railroad station, this will probably be out of balance within the next 10 years and cause rebalancing in 2031.

One commissioner liked map 108 because it would create all 6 districts with over 50% Hispanic voting age population. While I understand the historic issue of making districts to exclude Hispanic population, I’m not crazy about using redistricting to exclude any race. All other maps would have at least one district with ranged around 47% Hispanic. All other districts will have 50%+ Hispanic population as reflected by the majority Hispanic population of the city.

The map that, in my estimation is the most oddly drawn is map 107

This map takes D5 completely out of Phillips Ranch. It creates a D2 that includes downtown with both the Lincoln Park and Wilton historic districts.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Charter Review Commission postscript

Last night was the final meeting of the 2020 Pomona Charter Review Commission. We approved (with some minor modifications from what was in the agenda packet) the final report which will be submitted to the city clerk for inclusion on the November 2022 ballot. There will be 8 items on that ballot as follows: 

  1. Police Commission
  2. Ethics Commission
  3. Redistricting Commission
  4. Term Limits
  5. Resign to Run
  6. Primary Election
  7. Campaign Finance
  8. General Charter (many misc items)

Expect more information on these items as we get closer to the election cycle.

At the meetings we thanked each other for our hard work, city staff who supported us, and the city attorney who helped us draft language and lead us through the pitfalls of writing legislation.

But I’d like to take this opportunity to especially thank all those residents of Pomona (and some outside Pomona) who provided both personal and public comments which helped us shape the items proposed for the ballot. While we sometimes went the other way from what specific speakers asked for, we trust that the voters will make the final decisions on some of these important issues. We had many speakers who helped us with such issues as term limits, police commission, primary elections, the preamble, and assorted other issues. Whether we agreed or not, I can say that each of us on the commission LISTENED to your concerns and arguments, because in the end it will be YOU who decide on these issues.

THANK YOU! It was a pleasure to serve you on this most important commission. I hope that we serve as an example to future Charter Commissions. The next one will be seated either in 2029 or 2030 (depending on whether the General Charter amendment passes). I hope that Pomonans will be inspired to serve on the commission with the understanding that it will be one or two years of very intense work.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Charter Review, Post 10

At the council meeting (after midnight) that was held Oct. 21, the city council approved the process and other things for the formation of the 2020 Charter Review Commission. Over the past year I've written about what the charter review is, how it functions, things I'd like to see taken up in the charter review, and then an article by article review of what's in the charter with some of the things that were discussed in 2010. All this was done with a goal of giving us the tools we will need to help in this process.

Whether you're one of the 7 commissioners, or just a citizen, having a good knowledge of the charter, what it is, how it works, and what kinds of changes are possible, is very important. If you're not chosen to be on the commission, I do hope that you'll attend commission meetings, provide input, and work with the commissioners to craft charter changes for the good of the entire city.

If you're thinking of apply for the commission.

Applications are now available here. They became available Oct. 22 with a deadline for application no later than November 12. Proposed bylaws are available here, the staff report detailing some of the information on the commission is here.

I have some thoughts about serving on this commission. Unlike most commissions where you meet once a month and can work on issues for, at minimum 4 years of your term, with other commissioners overlapping you on the commission so that there is a continuous flow of the work of the commission, the charter review commission will be one group working for at most one year (January to December 2020). This is a gigantic job and not to be entered into lightly. The council DID allow that those serving on other commissions would be eligible to serve on the Charter Commission because it is "temporary." I personally, expect that if I am chosen to be on the charter review that I would resign from the Library Board of Trustees (commission) to devote my time to the issues of the charter. While I understand that I wouldn't have to, I feel that it would be a disservice to the Library board to try and split the responsibilities. If one is on a commission that meets less frequently than monthly, perhaps they will be able to do both. I'd hate to see a Planning Commissioner (which meets twice a month) try to juggle the two, for example.

If you're considering applying, I would hope that you have the ability to make a commitment to working for the entire year and understanding that you can't let other things in life keep you from this important obligation. While it is schedule to hold monthly meetings, I anticipate that there will be other full commission outreach meetings, and perhaps other meetings in addition to the monthly meetings. In 2010 when we had 15 members, an ungainly large group, we broke into subcommittees to research and come to consensus on each charter article. That's 17 articles plus some proposed articles. This means that there were more than 15 subcommittees and since we could legally have up to 7 members on a subcommittee all members served on multiple committees which had their own meeting schedules. I personally, was involved in up to 3 subcommittee meetings a week.

Be ready to put your life on hold for a year and make sure that your family understands the kind of commitment this entails. If you only want to go to 8 or 10 meetings a year, please come as a part of the public. You'll still have a chance to provide input as the meetings will be announced, agendized, Brown Act meetings where there is an obligation to public input.

Fast to effect change quickly, or slow and deliberate.

Article XVII sets up the charter review commission to do its work over a one year period from January through December each decade. The results of that work is to be a charter amendment which the city council is obligated to put before the voters at the "next scheduled election." In 2010, by the time the review was finalized, the "next" election was 2012. This meant that there were close to two years from the proposed amendment to when it would go before the people.

It has been suggested by some that the charter review commission is not required to take the full year to come up with their amendment(s). If the 2020 commission should say, complete the work by June 2020, they could have something ready to be put on the ballot November 2020. However, if they take the full year, the "next" election would not be until November 2022.

At the council meeting that set up the 2020 commission, it was suggested that "urgent" changes could be done first and submitted even before the full year term of the commission is over. This would allow some really pressing issues to be put on the 2020 election in November with an additional charter amendment(s) being slated for the November 2022 election.

It was also suggested that perhaps the charter review commission should review Article XVII and change the duration of future commissions to, as an example, May 2029 through April 2030 to ensure that ballot measures would be ready for the 2030 election and that the commission isn't negatively impacted by an election cycle.

So is it better try and get something before the voters as soon as possible? Afterall it will have been over 23 years since the last change to the charter. Or to take the time to deliberate the issues and not worry about getting it done quickly, taking the full year that the law allows? These are good questions that the commission should take up at their first meeting (scheduled for January 9, 2020 at 5:50 pm in the Council Chambers). Those urgent items should clearly include those areas where the city processes have deviated from the letter of the charter to bring them into compliance.

Some thoughts on the kinds of things that should be in the charter.

In 2010, the commission perhaps tried to take on too much. Because it had been nearly 15 years since the charter had last been amended, the overly large commission tried to solve all of the perceived problems in the city through charter amendments. Putting commissions like police and ethics into the charter seemed like a good idea, but was it? The charter is the primary document for the city. It is akin to the US or State constitutions. Trying to put too much specificity into the charter might not be the best way to go. Allowing the council and the political process to solve the problems might in many instances better serve the community, rather than locking in such solutions. A police commission is finally being formulated and will probably be in existence before the charter review takes place, for example. However, if there are areas where politics will never allow for change, such as ethics where it would not be in the interest of politicians to impose regulation on themselves, then an argument can be made for it. The commission will need to be aware of these kinds of issues.

A message to the City Council . . . 

The charter review process will have a major impact on the future of the city. What the charter commission comes up with has the potential to create major changes which will be in effect for at least the next decade. Please keep all this in mind when reviewing those who apply for positions on the commission. Many will apply because they have a specific item (agenda) that they want to see implemented. My hope is that the commission which will be ultimately seated will be individuals who will soberly address ALL of the issues covered by the charter to bring forward something that voters will be happy to approve and that will have a lasting impact on the city.

I look forward to the next year.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Charter Review, Post 9

Continuing to focus on how the current charter but that might warrant consideration by the new commission, and what the last charter review determined. To view the entire current city charter go to: https://www.ci.pomona.ca.us/mm/cityhall/pdf/city_charter.pdf.
You can also view the 2010 proposed charter amendments at: http://www.johncliffordgraphics.com/ftp/Final_Report5-26-11.pdf

Article XIV - Municipal Campaign Financing and Conflict of Interest

Section 1401 is a voluntary campaign expenditure ceiling. It notes that Cal. Government Code is that campaign expenditures shall not exceed 25 cents per resident of the district in which the candidate is running and shall apply to each election, and that it will be increased by 25% of any state statue changes.
1402 explains how surplus campaign funds are dealt with. Specifically it states:
All funds that exceed election campaign expenses for public office, or the repayment of campaign loans, or expense as specified in California Government Code Sections 89519(a) and 85305(c) [Government Code §§ 89519(a) and 85305(c)] or any successor statutes, known as "surplus campaign funds" or "surplus funds," shall be turned over to the City's General Fund within ninety (90) days after withdrawal, defeat, or election to office.
This provision has been somewhat controversial as it doesn’t really allow a “carry-over” for the next campaign but specifies that surplus campaign funds “shall” be turned over to the city’s General Fund. This is one of those provisions which seems to not be the case and is not being enforced by the city.
1403 goes over conflicts of interest. It says that a councilmember “shall not cast a vote on any matter relating to any person or business entity that has contributed more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) to all said Councilmember's City election campaigns for the current term. The vote of any Councilmember violating the above shall be invalid.” The 2010 charter commission asked to have the $250 amount raised to the $500 amount as in state code and wanted to limit that donor limit to the previous 12 months rather than the entire current term of office. However, this was defeated by the voters so presently the $250 limit is still in effect. To the best of my knowledge, this has been a little noted provision and I haven’t really seen too many recusals for items coming up where over $250 in funding was given.

Article XV - Definitions and Miscellaneous

This article specifies certain definitions to clarify what is meant in charter language.
They are:
a)      “Shall" is mandatory and "may" is permissive.
b)      "City" is the City of Pomona and "office," "department," "board," "commission," "officer," "department head" or "employee" is an office, department, board, commission, officer, department head or employee as the case may be, of the City of Pomona.
c)      "County" is the County of Los Angeles.
d)      "State" is the State of California.
e)      "Federal" is the United States of America.
f)       "Agency" or "agencies of the City" shall not include the Redevelopment Agency or the Pomona Public Financing Authority.
Note that “Shall” is mandatory. So anything that says “Shall” must be done and is not to be read as something that can be “interpreted” except as mandatory.
1502 concerns what happens if someone violates these provisions. This includes prosecution in the name of the People of California or by civil action.

Article XVI - Charter Amendment

This article covers how amendments can be made to the charter. There are three ways the charter can be changed (placed the ballot for a vote of the people). a) by city voters as an initiative (requires signature collection), b) by ordinance of the city council containing the full text of the proposed amendment and then passed by 5/7 of the total membership of the council, or c) by report of the Charter Commission created in Article XVII.
1602-3 cover elections—governed by Cal. Elections Code, and Adoption of an amendment which will take a simple majority of the4 voters and will become effective at the time in the amendment or 30 days after its adoption by voters.

Article XVII - Charter Commission

The current charter reads thus:
Sec. 1701. - Charter Commission.
Beginning in January of the year 2010, and in January of every tenth year thereafter, the Council shall appoint a Commission to consider and propose amendments to the existing Charter. No later than twelve (12) months from each inception, the Commission shall submit its proposals to the City Clerk for placement on the ballot at the next scheduled election.

This short concise paragraph was expanded to 4 additional sections covering specifying how the commission shall be constituted, the composition of the members, staff and counsel for the commission, and a violations section.

At the beginning of the commission in 2010, the commission was informed that they would only have 2 staff members present (city clerk to act as secretary and take minutes, assistant city manager for assistance). We felt that we needed to have a representative of the city attorney present since we were basically “writing law” but were informed that there was no budget for that and so we would not have legal counsel to help us through the work. The 2010 commission felt that it was incumbent to clarify all of these issues within the charter and added them as a charter amendment. As stated previously, all of the suggestions were voted down by the voters in 2012.

NEXT TIME: Another look at the 2020 Charter Review Commission Process

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Charter Review, Post 8

Continuing to focus on how the current charter but that might warrant consideration by the new commission, and what the last charter review determined. To view the entire current city charter go to: https://www.ci.pomona.ca.us/mm/cityhall/pdf/city_charter.pdf

ARTICLE X – Financial Procedures

Section 1001-1005 deal with the budget beginning with the definition of the fiscal year, and moving on to how the city manager will, working with department heads, create a draft budget to be submitted to the council 45 days prior to the start of the fiscal year. It also describes what should be in the “budget message” created by the city manager to the council.
Section 1006 deals with the adoption process by the council including public noticing and modifications to the budget as presented after the public hearing. The 2010 commission suggested the following change to this section in order to enhance how the budget notification takes place:
(a) Notice and Hearing. To achieve wide attempt dissemination of information to the residents, the Council shall distribute a press release that includes information about public hearing for budget discussion and where to obtain information about the budget, to reporters at, at least one English and at least one Spanish general circulation newspaper. The Council shall also publish a notice of public hearing for budget discussion on the City's webpage and posted in the City's public notices board. a general summary of the budget in one or more general circulation newspapers. The Council is encouraged to puhlish the summary in additional media including foreign language newspapers and electronic media[.] The message notice shall include: (italics is proposed wording, strikeout text is proposed deletion)
1007 discusses amendments to the budget after adoption including supplemental budget, reduction of budget, transfer of appropriations, and the limitations set on debt service within the budget. The 2010 commission would have eliminated the section on transfer of appropriations.
The rest of the sections deal with the fact that budget items do not carry over, the prohibition of overspending a budget, etc. Sections 1010-1011 deal with the Capital Improvement budget(s) (building projects such as streets, buildings, repairs, etc.) and the special nature of the budgets for Capital Improvements which may last more than one fiscal year. The rest of the section deals with public records, bonded indebtedness, debt limit, taxes, and independent audit.

ARTICLE XI – Revenue Bonds

This article discusses the rights of the city to issue revenue bonds for capital improvements. The 2010 commission had no suggested changes to this article.

ARTICLE XII – Contracts and Purchasing

This article covers how the city shall enter into contracts. This includes a centralized purchasing system, competitive bidding, description of illegal conflicts of interest in contracting, and a prohibition of “split bidding.”
The only section that the 2010 commission saw fit to change was to add Section 1204 as:
Sec. 1204. Local Preference
In any contract, sale, purchase, or transaction to which the City is a party, preference shall be given so far as practicable to individuals and businesses within the City of Pomona insofar as the same is not in conflict with the Constitution or general laws.

ARTICLE XIII – Franchises 

This article covers how the city deals with franchises for public utilities including requirements for franchises, procedures, terms, use of eminent domain, and the city’s right to use poles. The 2010 commission did not propose any changes to this section.

NEXT TIME: The final installment on the charter (perhaps one more after that on “moving forward”).Article XIV. - Municipal Campaign Financing and Conflict of Interest,
Article XV. - Definitions and Miscellaneous,
Article XVI. - Charter Amendment and,
Article XVII. - Charter Commission.