Final Hearing on Costa Mesa Charter Will Be Monday

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Monday night will be the last opportunity for Costa Mesa residents to suggest new language for a proposed city charter, which will likely go before voters in June.

At a public hearing, the City Council is poised to make its final additions to the proposed charter, which the council majority is spearheading amid a legal challenge to its efforts to remake the city’s government, largely through outsourcing.

A charter is essentially a local constitution that gives city governments greater authority over certain local affairs. The council majority is expected to vote next month to formally place the proposed charter on the June primary ballot.

Costa Mesa’s current draft charter would:

• Remove limitations on outsourcing.

• Prohibit union dues from being spent on political activities.

• Require a citywide vote to order to increase workers’ retirement benefits.

• Prevent the city from requiring payment of state-mandated “prevailing wages” on construction projects unless they’re required by law or approved by the City Council.

The pace and approach of Costa Mesa’s charter process has drawn criticism from some residents, who want a citizens committee instead of the City Council in charge of drafting the document. The council majority, however, has shown no sign of changing its plans.

A recent review of California cities that adopted charters over the past decade shows that several adopted charters without a charter commission, though residents had significantly less effect on the process in cities not using a charter commission.

The hearing will begin at 7 p.m. in Costa Mesa City Hall, 77 Fair Drive. Residents and business owners can submit suggested changes on the city’s website.

— NICK GERDA

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