(May 25, 2004) -- With some Councilmembers echoing sentiments previously expressed by a dissenting member of a "Government Reform Task Force" on changes to LB's City Charter, the City Council (sitting as its Charter Amendment committee) voted on May 25 to "receive and file" (take no action on) Task Force recommended charter changes that included making it easier for the Mayor to veto Council actions, creating an independent body to set Council salaries and undoing Council term limits for a third term.
Comments by some Councilmembers -- including Dan Baker, Bonnie Lowenthal and Tonia Reyes-Uranga -- indicated support for further Charter reform discussions directly with the public to assess what changes -- including possibly major changes -- are favored by community members (as opposed to City Hall appointees). The City Charter is LB's de facto constitution, controlling what LB government bodies and public officials wield power and in what capacities.
Meetings of the 13-member (Mayor and Council selected) Government Reform Task Force were open and public -- including one meeting expressly held to seek public input -- but were generally poorly attended.
After viewing the Council's action, Bry Myown -- who as a Task Force member argued in vain for a wider range of Charter changes, more public input and continuing discussion -- told LBReport.com:
"I concur with Councilmembers who share the assessment that the Charter reform committee needlessly self-limited its Charter investigation, the committee's operating timeline and the amount of public input it received."
Left unclear is the fate of a "Parks in Perpetuity" charter amendment to protect parkland from non-park uses which Councilmembers (in keeping with Planning Commission and Recreation Commission recommendations) have previously indicated they would put on the ballot for a public vote. That could be done by July (perhaps very early August) to coincide with the November 2004 ballot...but some Councilmembers indicated Charter changes might have to wait until 2006.