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City Attorney Mike Aguirre proposed three major changes to the City Charter today, calling for subpoena power for his office, voters’ election of the city auditor and the granting of a bill of rights to fortify residents’ role in the development of their neighborhoods.
Aguirre said he would not propose these bylaw changes to the Charter Committee that Mayor Jerry Sanders assembled recently, but that he would instead ask the City Council to put the reforms on the ballot n 2008, independent of the panel’s efforts.
He said his office would better function if it had subpoena power instead of “relying on volunteer compliance.” Aguirre said he thought the request was reasonable, given the Ethics Commission’s current enjoyment of that power.
Aguirre justified the election of an auditor by referring to his own elected status, saying he would not be able to operate independently if he were to answer to the council or, in the auditor’s case, the Mayor’s Office. The power dynamic between former Auditor John Torell and Sanders played a major role in Torell’s departure earlier this year.
“Just as the city attorney reports to the people of San Diego, so should our city auditor,”
Thirdly, Aguirre said residents should have a right to play a process in the development of their neighborhoods. The charter, he said, should guarantee that they are allowed to participate in a community planning group, influence aspects of a project, and access to certain information about a proposal.