Mayor Jerry Sanders named his appointees to a panel that will advise City Hall on what changes to the city’s constitution the voters will consider in an upcoming election.
Known as the Charter Committee, the 15-member board of Sanders appointees will review the city charter to forge recommendations on topic such as the number of seats on the City Council and the independence of the auditor. The city’s voters will likely consider the issues in 2008.
Sanders denied choosing the board members based on their policy preferences. “There’ve been no marching orders and if you know the people on this committee, you know they don’t usually take marching orders,” Sanders said.
But the mayor said he is asking them to specifically investigate four areas: the charter changes necessary to implement Kroll Inc.’s proposed financial remedies; the separation of powers between the mayor, council and city attorney, such as authority over the budget; measures that could improve the “functionality” of the strong-mayor system, such as the potential inclusion of the mayor in redevelopment matters; and making strong-mayor permanent.
Before reaching voters, any recommendation must be approved by the council or be accompanied by the signatures of 87,540 voters, according to the City Clerk’s Office.
Council President Scott Peters said he “knew things were unfinished” when the city put Proposition F, the strong-mayor measure, on the 2004 ballot. He said he was hoping the group would clarify the oversight of the city’s audit function and the number of council votes it takes to override a veto. The council can currently override a veto with five votes — the same number of votes it takes to approve items to begin with.
Attorney John Davies, the panel’s chairman, said the group will likely meet as a full committee every other week with subcommittees that focus on specific issues meeting on off-weeks.
Sanders said he hopes the committee will conclude its work by September so that a recommendation can be placed on the ballot in either the February or June primary in 2008. The mayor said he wants the panel to start soon; he criticized Proposition F for being “last-minute.”
“One of the great failures done to our citizens was the rushed nature of the process,” said Sanders, who campaigned against Proposition F.
Besides Davies, Sanders appointed: Ret. Judge James Milliken, airport authority Chairman Alan Bersin; California Western School of Law professor Susan Channick; businessman Vince Mudd; Sempra Energy executive Mark Nelson; and pharmaceutical executive Duane Roth.
Each council member was also allowed to nominate up to three members, but the mayor made the final selections. Those appointees are: Lake Murray activist and Mission Times-Courier columnist Barbara Cleves Anderson; management consultant John Gordon; attorney Donna Jones; lobbyist and strong-mayor consultant Adrian Kwiatkowski; attorney Mike McDade; engineer Marc Sorensen; San Diego State University political scientist Glen Sparrow; and public defender Lei-Chala Wilson.