Smart Voter
Santa Clara County, CA November 3, 1998 General
Measure D
Amend Charter
County of Santa Clara

Charter Amendment

133,970 / 46.5% Yes votes ...... 154,263 / 53.5% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Infomation shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text
Shall the County of Santa Clara amend section 506 to: add "committees" following "boards" throughout the section to refer to "boards, committees and commissions," add "by laws, quorum requirements" to the second paragraph after "meeting times" and delete paragraph six, allowing organizational and administrative issues to be addressed by ordinance, rather than the charter, and add a provision providing flexibility in the residency requirement by allowing the Board to waive that requirement?
Impartial Analysis from the County Counsel
Santa Clara County Charter section 506 provides that the Board of Supervisors can create advisory boards and commissions. This charter amendment recognizes that the Board can also create advisory committees. The measure also seeks to streamline the charter requirements for such advisory bodies by deleting specific requirements from the charter and allowing the organizational and administrative issues that apply to all such advisory bodies to be addressed by ordinance. Additional issues can be also addressed in the individual enabling ordinance for the specific board, committee or commission. This would provide flexibility to respond to unique situations and specific state law requirements without necessitating a change in the charter. All advisory body meetings are now subject to the requirements of the state open meeting laws and therefore a charter provision requiring that such meetings be open to the public is no longer necessary. This measure would delete this provision.

Section 506 requires members of advisory boards and commissions to be residents of the County. This measure would grant the Board of Supervisors the ability to waive the residency requirement for advisory board, commission and committee members enabling the Board to consider the appointment of individuals who may not reside within the County's borders. This measure would also allow members of advisory bodies who move outside the county to continue as a member of a County advisory body if authorized by the Board. Under the current provision if a member of an advisory body moves out of the County, he or she can no longer serve on the advisory body.

County CounselChief Deputy County Counsel

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Arguments For Measure D Arguments Against Measure D
These changes to the County Charter are being proposed to streamline and update the County's system of advisory boards by placing some of the operating rules, such as meeting times and quorum requirements, in ordinance. Thus, when changes are needed for a specific board these can be made on a case-by-case basis without the need and expense of a charter change requiring a special election. These changes will provide efficiency and effectiveness in government without additional cost.

These changes will also allow the Board of Supervisors to broaden the advice they receive from all of the members of our community by allowing a waiver of the residency requirement. We believe the Board should be able to waive this requirement when it is necessary to get the broadest advice possible.

Currently, because of the high cost of housing in Santa Clara County, 25% of the people who work here are forced to live outside the county. That means that one in every four people who work here and contribute to our community have no say in local government. There are occasions when a person who works in Santa Clara County but lives just outside the County boundary may have valuable information or an important perspective to lend in giving advice to the Board of Supervisors.

While we believe that, for the most part, people who live in Santa Clara County should serve on advisory bodies, we recognize that many people who live on Summit Road, in East Palo Alto or just across the county line in Alameda County, but are part of our working community may have important input to present to the Board of Supervisors. We, therefore, urge you to support the idea of giving the Board of Supervisors the flexibility to waive this requirement when it is necessary to get the broadest possible view on issues.

Chairperson, Board of Supervisors

Rebuttal to Arguments Above

The Supervisors want to allow people who DO NOT LIVE IN OUR COUNTY to make decisions affecting our taxes.

The fact that someone works in the county or passes through on the way to the beach does not mean he bears the burden of county taxes. Over a million people live in Santa Clara County, more than enough people to give advice on any matter with which the Supervisors should be concerned with. The notion that they need to seek advice from those living outside the county in order to "get the broadest possible advice" could easily be expanded to include foreigners. Since it is possible to get advice from people from all over the globe, why not allow Iraqis or Russians to be members of Boards and Commissions?

Ensure that Commissioners and their neighbors pay county taxes. Be very wary of calls to pass measures in the name of "efficiency". The founders knew that a monarchy was much more efficient than a republic. A king makes decisions by himself; that is very efficient. The founders knew it was also wrong and designed government so that it took into account the views of those that would pay for it.



President, Santa Clara County Taxpayers Association

Business Owner

Vote NO on Measure D.

Preserve representational government in our county. Just as you would not want a senator from New York representing California, you would not want a commissioner living in Los Angeles to represent you in Santa Clara County.

Santa Clara County has over a million residents and Measure D implies that the County Supervisors can not find enough qualified applicants residing in the county. Perhaps there are too many commissions. They want us to believe only residents of foreign counties can help meet the politically correct requirements of our local supervisors.

Send a message to the Supervisors that they should get out of their air-conditioned county offices in order to meet and familiarize themselves with their constituents. They should recruit the outstanding members of their local districts. Remember that their constituents include leaders in the semiconductor, computer programming, aerospace, agricultural, and educational sectors as well as the taxpayers and property owners.

Let them know that you are insulted that outsiders are needed to govern our county! VOTE NO on Measure D.

KATHLEEN O'CONNELL-SUNDARAM, President, Santa Clara County Taxpayers Association

MARVIN B. RUDIN, Chairman, Santa Clara County Libertarian Party

Rebuttal to Arguments Above
Measure D would allow the Board of Supervisors to appoint a person, who is not a resident, to an advisory board only when that person could add some value to the deliberations of that body. There are tens of thousands of people who work here but cannot afford to live here, who are a valuable part of our community. Measure D would allow the Board of Supervisors the flexibility to use their expertise only on the rare occasion they could offer an important perspective to the advice being given to the Board. Advisory boards only advise, only the Board can vote on policy. That's the job of the Board of Supervisors. Vote yes on Measure D and give our County government the broadest perspective possible.

Chairperson, Board of Supervisors

Text for Measure D
New language to be added to the Charter appears in italics and language to be deleted is crossed over.

Amendments in Article V:

Section 506. The Board of Supervisors may create by ordinance such advisory boards, committees or commissions as in its judgment are required and may grant to them such powers and duties as are consistent with this Charter.

The ordinance shall provide for the number of members, the manner of appointment, the term of office, the number of terms a member may serve, meeting times, by laws, quorum requirements, attendance requirements to retain office and the extent of subpoena authority. The ordinance may provide for the qualifications of members, the remuneration of members, and any other necessary provisions. When required by federal or state law, the ordinance may provide for the manner of appointment of officers and employees authorized to provide services to a board, committee or commission.

Notice shall be given of vacancies on boards, committees and commissions which shall also indicate the nominating and appointing Authority. Any person interested in an appointment shall file an application with the Board of Supervisors. Appointments shall be filled from such applications with appropriate regard for representation by all segments and elements of the county.

Members of boards and commissions shall be residents of the county. Members of all advisory boards, committees and commissions shall be residents of the county unless this requirement is waived by the Board of Supervisors. If any member ceases to be a resident of the county, or fails to maintain qualifications for the office, the office shall become vacant and the Board of Supervisors shall so declare. Members of boards, committees and commissions appointed by the Board of Supervisors shall be subject to removal by the board for willful or corrupt misconduct in office.

The members first appointed to boards, committees and commissions shall so classify themselves by lot that on each succeeding July 1 term of one of their number shall expire. If the total number exceeds four, the classification by lot shall provide for the grouping of terms so that the term of at least one member shall expire on each succeeding July 1.

As soon as practicable, following the first day of July of every year, each board and commission shall organize by electing a chairperson and vice-chairperson to serve at the pleasure of such board or commission. Each board or commission shall hold regular meetings as are required by ordinance and such special meetings as it may require. Each board and commission shall adopt rules of procedure subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors. A majority of the members of a board or commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business and no act of a board or commission shall be valid unless at least a majority of the entire membership concurs therein. All meetings shall be open to the public.

The Board of Supervisors shall periodically evaluate the need for the boards, committees and commissions established pursuant to this section and shall abolish those which no longer serve their intended function.

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Created: February 16, 1999 18:55
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