Public to city: slow down charter process

COSTA MESA — A first draft of a revised city charter was met with a chain of criticism inside the City Council chambers Tuesday night, as hundreds of residents and some organized labor workers called for the city to slow down its latest attempt at an overhaul.

"We're not saying no to a charter. We're saying no to a Righeimer charter," resident Robin Leffler told the council, referring to the mayor pro tem who created the proposed city constitution.

Labeling the proposed charter — which would supercede the state's constitution for local affairs — a creation of Jim Righeimer's quest to break up employee unions and gain more power, the public criticized it at every turn.

Two representatives of California labor groups said a provision in the charter that would untie the city from prevailing wage laws for locally funded projects should be removed.

Resident Eleanor Egan questioned why Righeimer was pushing for the charter to be voted on in June, which would cost the city up to $40,000 more than if it waited until November. Righeimer has said in the past that a charter could extricate the city from a city employee lawsuit.

"It's got more holes than Swiss cheese with a mouse in it," Egan said. "Slow this process down. Take it down."

The council should throw out the draft it has now and start the process over, some residents said. The city could have opted to have a commission of residents create the charter and vote on that in the fall, the public said.

The city received more than 100 suggestions to amend the proposed charter, a mixture of other city's charters that Righeimer copy-and-pasted together. An early tally of the data showed that most residents wanted the city to slow down the process, 11 opposed it and only one suggestion supported the charter as is.

The council had not amended the charter or made any final decisions as of press time.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World