Saturday, July 16, 2011

California:  Cities Feel Clobbered by Sacramento

[California] budget hits on cities are only part of the story unfolding in the Capitol this year. They must also contend with a slew of bills, mostly sponsored by unions representing city employees, that, if passed and signed by Brown, would interfere with how they manage municipal affairs.

The most obvious is this year's version of legislation that would make it more difficult for all local governments — but particularly cities — to file for bankruptcy, sparked by the 2008 bankruptcy filing by Vallejo.

Union-sponsored Assembly Bill 506 passed the Assembly but is stalled in the Senate while private negotiations continue over its provisions.

Another measure raising city officials' hackles, Senate Bill 931, would prohibit local governments from hiring labor relations consultants. Still another now on Brown's desk, Assembly Bill 455, would compel them to give union representatives half the seats on local civil service commissions.

Assembly Bill 438 would make it difficult for cities to contract with private companies for library services, while Assembly Bill 710 would place restrictions on local auto parking to promote transit use. Several bills, reacting to the scandal in Bell, would impose new accounting and audit standards on cities.

The bill that really makes city officials worried, however, is Assembly Speaker John A. PĂ©rez's measure — Assembly Bill 46 — to abolish Vernon, California's smallest city, alleging that it is hopelessly corrupt.

While no one defends Vernon's sorry record, city officials worry that if the bill becomes law, it would create an implicit threat to wipe out any city finding itself in political disfavor.

For more, see Dan Walters: California Cities Feel Clobbered by Capitol by Dan Walters, July 11, 2011 at The Sacramento Bee.

1 comment:

dhsloan2970 said...

The unions worked hard to put Brown back in office. They deserve to receive a return on that investment.