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No on Charter City!

My Dear constituents/Citizens of Hawthorne 

It’s with a heavy heart that I must ask you to vote No on the proposed Hawthorne Charter City because I don’t believe elected officials that work part-time or even less than 8 hours per month deserve an annual salary of $75,700 each.

At the beginning of this debate to turn Hawthorne into a Charter City, I was in favor of it. I believe we should take control of our local municipal affairs, especially when it comes to zoning laws and land use. Recently, the legislatures in Sacramento are passing Zoning and Land use policies that may interfere with our ability to regulate our own laws. Please pay attention to all the articles that will be proposed because yes, I do believe in the following Statement that probably will be on November Ballot:        

We the people of City of Hawthorne declare our intent to restore our community the history principles of self-governance inherent in the doctrine of home rule. Sincerely committed to the belief that local government has the closest affinity to the people governed and firm in the conviction that the economic and fiscal independence of our local government will promote the health and welfare of the citizens of this City, we do hereby exercise the express right granted by the Constitution of the State of California to enact and adopt this Charter for the City of Hawthorne.

Becoming a Charter City! What’s that mean?​

The City of Hawthorne is a general law city. The Authority of the general law city is delivered from the powers granted to it by the police power granted by the California Constitution and subject to the general laws adopted by the California Legislature

Charter City Authority. A Charter City’s powers are not defined or limited by the State’s general laws. Instead, “the home rule” doctrine applies to the city’s municipal affairs. 

The “home rule” doctrine reserves to a charter city the right to adopt and enforce its own laws, subject only to the conflicting provisions in the state or federal constitutions or preemptive state law on matters of “statewide concern.” With respect to municipal affairs, a charter city’s powers are defined by the city’s own charter (subject only to limitations of the state and federal constitutions). 

Although a city’s charter generally defines its power over “municipal affairs,” the State can encroach on local authority when a matter rises to the level of statewide concern. For example, recent housing bills have been made applicable to charter and general law cities because they are addressing matters that the state has declared are matters of statewide concern. i.e., SB9, which allows ADU’s, or garage conversion is being considered a statewide concern due to shorting of affordable housing in California. The State is claiming that we need 500,000 units. Some Hawthorne residents have asked why we haven’t joined the cities that are suing the State. The reason is that we are not a charter city, but the planning department and city council can establish ADU’s policies to satisfy the State SB9. If Hawthorne proposed charter city is approved by the voters in November, yes, we can join the lawsuit, but I believe the State will prevail because of the housing needs and the homeless issue we are experiencing in California, especially in Los Angeles County. Therefore, don’t let greedy politicians, give you false hope about overturning SB9 in order to approve salaries for Hawthorne City Council members.

You may ask what a “Municipal Affairs” is

The California Constitution does not define “municipal affairs” but does set out a nonexclusive list of four “core” categories:

  1. Regulations of the city police force
  2. Establishment of subordinate commissions and boards
  3. Conduct of city elections
  4. The manner in which municipal officers are elected

The task of determining whether a given activity is a municipal affair or one of statewide concern is a case-by-case inquiry considering the facts and circumstances surrounding each case. Again, SB9, the court will decide if it’s a municipal affair or statewide concern.

Other examples of Municipal Affairs under a Charter City are:

  •  Compensation of City Officers (Mayor and Councilmembers)
  •  Land Use and Zoning (with exceptions if it’s a statewide concern)
  •  Procedures for adopting Ordinances
  •  Municipal Elections Matters
  •  Procedures for Initiative, referendum, and recall
  •  Processes Associated with City Contacts
  •  Financial Public Improvements
  •  Making Charitable Funds for Public Purposes
  •  Term Limits for Council members

Again, the reason of my opposition is that my 4 colleagues voted to include compensation for Mayor and Councilmembers, which will surplus $400,000 per year. In my opinion this money can be better spend by increasing staff and services in some city departments that are struggling in providing quality services to our constituents because of short staffing. 

Please Vote No on the proposed Charter City. Maybe in the future we will become a Charter City if compensation is deleted from it. 

                                                               Thank You & God Bless the City of “Good Neighbors”                                                                                  

Your Servant,
Alexandre (Alex) Monteiro

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