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State legislators need a holiday from red tape

POSTED September 2, 2011 10:35 p.m.

As Mayor of the City of Turlock I feel compelled to let my concerns be known regarding several anti-local control bills that are currently before the state legislature.  Passage of any of these bills will impose unreasonable restrictions on local government and limit our ability to maintain the basic public services our local residents deserve and depend upon. 

 

AB 438 would place new, precedent setting requirements on cities that choose to contract out library staffing and threatens to open the door to similar requirements in other city contracts.

 

AB 455 would interfere with constitutionally protected municipal affairs related to employee matters by eliminating local government authority to appoint all of the members to the personnel commissions.  The area’s largest labor union would be given the authority to appoint half of the members of the commission.

 

AB 646 would undermine a local agency’s authority to establish local rules for resolving impasse and delays the conclusion of contract negotiations.  The provisions in this bill could lead to significant delays in labor negotiations between public employers and employee organizations and provide a disincentive for employee organizations to negotiate in good faith when a subsequent option exists, prolonging the negotiations process. 

 

SB 46 would require anyone who files a statement of economic interest under the Political Reform Act to additionally file an annual compensation disclosure form created by the State Controller, duplicating existing requirements.

 

SB 931 would unreasonably limit a public agency’s ability to seek legal counsel and interfere with attorney-client privilege and right to counsel.

 

AB 710 would limit a city’s parking standard to one parking space per 1,000 square feet of non-residential improvements and one space per unit of residential improvements for any new development project in transit intensive areas.

 

AB 1220 would expand the statute of limitations from over one year to five years to sue a city or county, challenging the adoption of a housing element or a number of related ordinances.  This bill will encourage a broad array of expensive lawsuits that do not differentiate between major noncompliance with state law and a small difference in interpretation.

 

SB 244 would require cities or counties to update elements of the general plan to address the presence of island, fringe, or legacy unincorporated communities upon the next revision of the housing element.  The bill would also prevent an annexation to a city where there exists a disadvantaged unincorporated community that is contiguous to the area of proposed annexation, unless an application to annex the disadvantaged community has also been filed.

 

SB 469 would undermine local land use discretion and authority by requiring expensive, detailed analyses targeted at a specific type of retailer.

 

SB 293 would limit a local agency’s ability to set retention rates to no more than 5% in public contracts.  Cities use retention in public contracts to ensure that work is done in compliance with the contract document and serves as a financial incentive for contractors to complete a project.

 

AB 506, currently stripped to intent language, is the state’s attempt to mandate state intervention into local financial and labor disputes. 

 

Local agencies, particularly the City of Turlock, can ill afford more dictates from the state of California without funds to implement these edicts.  State legislators need to take a holiday from all the red tape and endless mandates placed on our lives, particularly where funds are scarce at the local level.  I propose instead that the legislature consider removing a frivolous state law from the books each time a new one is proposed by a state legislator, thereby, balancing the burden of over lawmaking!  Who knows, the legislature may eventually get our state out of the red if they follow this process and lessen the load of government. 

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