Somehow, in a six month period a committee put together by the Mayor has been able to go through the San Diego city charter, while not only actively listening to the public for their input, but hearing from all experts on the subject, and being completely objective without any allegiance to their clients (a couple of the committee members are lobbyists that have corporate clients, including Sunroad). It is quite an accomplishment. Well, that is at least what they want the people to believe. Instead, the process illustrates that the agenda was carved out from the get-go by the Mayor's staff before the committee even sat down for the first meeting.
The committee did not stray from the path. The Mayor's Charter Review Committee's finalized recommendations will be discussed at the October 24th meeting of the San Diego City Council Rules Committee. The draft report of their recommendations can be found here. The Mayor's committee plan is to put these initiatives on the June 2008 ballot. The issues include: the creation of three additional city council seats, making the strong-mayor form of government permanent, increasing the mayor's veto power with a two-thirds majority of 8 council members in order to override a veto, making the Mayor executive director of the Redevelopment Agency and the ability to make nominations to the Port District.
It is pretty obvious that this is just a power grab by our city's Mayor. The committee has done its part, so it will be up to the "spin doctors" to market these changes as "necessary" and "vital" for our city. I am sure that they will be warming up in the bullpen in the next month or so and given the Mayor's special fund of over $111,000 that Voice of San Diego (VOSD) exposed in this article, they will not be hurt by a salary cap. Hopefully, the public is able to figure out the real motives behind these changes, and realize that the veto issue for example, has not been such a major problem for the Mayor, let alone the residents of San Diego.
In addition, here are a couple of recent articles that give an overview of the committee's decisions and go into detail about the backroom style of this committee:
San Diego's backroom 'reform'L.A. Times Op-ed by Steve Erie and Norma Damasheka
What a Super-Size City Council Would Look Like VOSD's Evan McLaughlin
Charter Suggestions Move Forward VOSD's quick overview