City of San Diego voters should have a better idea what constitutional changes they will be asked to approve this year when the City Council decides tonight on a package of charter reforms for the ballot.

Last year, Mayor Jerry Sanders convened a Charter Review Committee to recommend a series of charter reforms to the City Council. When that process drew to a close, the mayor instead drew up his own recommendations.

Council President Scott Peters and Councilmen Kevin Faulconer and Jim Madaffer, in turn, authored their own recommendations last week. The City Council can vote to directly put the initiatives of its choice on the ballot, and any private group putting together a sufficient number of signatures can do the same.

(A group tied to the mayor has said it would put measures that closely mirror the mayor’s recommendations on the ballot of the City Council fails to.)

Here are the mayor’s recommendations.

Here are the group’s recommendations.

And here’s the full list of Peters/Faulconer/Madaffer ballot recommendations. Some of the highlights of the recommendations would:

  • Put the permanent extension of the strong-mayor form of government on the 2010 ballot, which is the mayor’s recommendation. The Charter Review Committee wants to instead have voters approve a “temporary” extension this year, but that “temporary” status would just go away — and strong-mayor would become permanent — in 2014.
  • Call for the addition of one council seat, to be added in 2010 after the Census and redistricting occur. That mirror’s the mayor’s recommendation, but goes a step further in clarifying that it would not occur should the strong-mayor form of government not be extended permanently. (The reasoning behind the addition of the seat would be to give an odd number of council seats to avoid ties.)

    The charter committee recommended adding three spots as soon as possible, bringing the number of council seats up to 11 from eight.

  • Would require a two-thirds council vote to override the mayor’s veto. Currently, five council votes can override the veto, the same number it takes to pass a measure to begin with. That only differs with the mayor and committee’s proposals in that it wouldn’t require seven of eight council votes on any item that requires six votes to pass to begin with.
  • Make no changes to the current city attorney structure. This one’s a bit unexpected, as Peters had earlier lobbied the committee to help resolve an ongoing dispute with current City Attorney Mike Aguirre over the role of the city attorney.

Check back later for the results of the council hearing.


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