Beginning in a week or two and continuing for a short while, you may be approached by people who are gathering signatures to place the issue of an elected mayor and a district-elections system on an upcoming ballot. In the interim, the City Council and the city will hopefully be provided with enough input to save us the need to do this (once again) as public citizens, and they will act on their own to place the ballot measure on the November 2018 ballot.
Under Half Moon Bay’s form of government, a general government city, we are subordinate to California’s Government Code. It is a pre-baked set of laws that can apply to almost any city, but, because of that, the flexibility in those laws is very restricted. For example, in Half Moon Bay, under our current form of government and without having a ballot measure, we cannot have more or less than five City Council members, and they must come from and represent the entirety of the city. We also cannot elect a mayor independently of the council. (Currently the mayor’s position is largely ceremonial and rotates annually through the council members.)
All of which leads to this problem: Most people have no idea that our unelected city manager is actually the most powerful person in our local government, and that there is no practical way to hold her accountable for her actions.
Here is just one example: In the past six months, the city manager has increased the payroll by more than $600,000, yet the council literally cannot do a thing about it, as all administrative decisions are…
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