Commentary: Charter would free Costa Mesa from state control

September 18, 2012|By Gary Monahan

Can you remember the last time Sacramento passed a law that made our city better off?

Neither can I.

However, I can think of plenty of laws Sacramento politicians have approved that imposed costly mandates on our city, dictated how we spend our residents' tax dollars and told us how we must conduct business in our own city.

For too long Costa Mesa has had to listen to Sacramento politicians who are out of touch with our needs, controlled by special interests and are only looking out for themselves.


Cities throughout California have grown equally frustrated over the continued power grabs by Sacramento. That's why 120 cities throughout our state have decided to implement their own charters, or local constitutions, that are specifically tailored to address and protect local needs.

This November, Costa Mesa has an opportunity to join those other cities and finally break free from Sacramento. We can regain the local control we deserve and protect taxpayer dollars.

We can accomplish this by approving Measure V, which would allow Costa Mesa to adopt its own charter.

The charter contains a number of provisions that give our city greater flexibility over local affairs while providing opportunity for significant taxpayer savings.

The charter would implement fair and open competition for public-works projects within our city. This will reduce costs and free up funds for improvements to libraries, parks and other public services.

Furthermore, this provision protects all workers — both union and nonunion — and ensures they have equal opportunity to compete for projections.

In addition, our city would be exempt from prevailing wage laws, which will further reduce expenditures by our city on public projects.

These two sections alone will save Costa Mesa taxpayers millions of dollars. They will also improve our city's ability to provide and grow local jobs for local workers.

Measure V would also take an additional step toward fiscal responsibility. Cities throughout California face bankruptcy under the weight of unsustainable pensions and over generous benefits provided to city employees.

Fortunately, Measure V would require that Costa Mesa voters would have to approve an increase in any city employee retirement or post-retirement benefits.

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