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Mailbag: Museum project would not eliminate Fun Zone

November 04, 2011

The idea behind being a charter city is a simple one: Locals know better about what is right for them than politicians in Sacramento and residents are in a better position to do what is necessary via home rule to fulfill their American dream.

In a charter city, any city ordinance that regulates a municipal affair will trump a general state law on the same subject.

Thus, under home rule — when a city becomes a charter city — its own laws will govern municipal elections, zoning, the spending of tax dollars, and city contracts.


Becoming a charter city — home rule for those who live here — has angels in the details.

For example, many residents of Costa Mesa would like to see our municipal government buy locally. As a general law city, we are bound by state laws on this.

As a charter city, we may determine that it is best to pay a little more locally if the money will circulate here. Or, we may just use that freedom to bargain more effectively for the best price and the best service. Then again, we may decide to write our own ordinance that requires the low bidder to get the contract.

The point is that we will have the freedom to determine what is right for us, not a nanny in Sacramento.

We will also have more freedom on how land is used in the city and many other things that Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Irvine all now enjoy as home-rule cities.

The state will continue to occupy the field for traffic and school laws and a few other things so that there is consistency across municipal borders in the state. In most other areas, Costa Mesa will be the supreme authority for Costa Mesans, not some faceless politicians in Sacramento who may represent districts hundreds of miles away from our city.

There are really no disadvantages in Costa Mesa becoming a charter city.

In my view, becoming a charter city may be an important step toward improving the Westside and all of Costa Mesa.

Free Costa Mesa!

M.H. Millard

Costa Mesa

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