Huntington Beach

Charter changes get July 5 vote

HUNTINGTON BEACH CIVIC CENTER (Orange County Tribune photo).

By Jim Tortolano/Orange County Tribune.

It’s been said that the wheels of justice grind slowly; sometimes the vehicles of local government take their time arriving as well.

After a meeting of Huntington Beach City Council that began in the early evening on Tuesday lasted until well past midnight into Wednesday morning finished with key actions moved to the next meeting on July 5.

The council decided on a 6-0 vote – with Councilmember Erik Peterson absent – to advance four potential amendments to the city charter for a decision at that next council session, and because of the lateness of the hour, put off discussion and action on authorizing cannabis sales and a tax on such businesses as well.

All the proposed amendments would have to be approved by a vote of the public to become law.

Two of the four proposed amendments focused on “cleaning up” and updating antiquated language and procedures in a charter that dates back to the 1930s. One attempts to clarify the relationship between the council and the city attorney, as there have been some conflicts in the past.

Councilmember Rhonda Bolton spoke on why there were disagreements between the two. “It’s because the charter lends itself to a couple of different interpretations,” she said.

The other proposed charter amendment would change the positions of city clerk and city treasurer from elected to appointed. 

These proposals came from a city charter revision committee, and one recommendation not accepted by the council was changing the office of city attorney from elected to appointed.

Councilmembers wanted to make it clear that a decision on city clerk and treasurer did not come from any dissatisfaction with the people in those positions.

“It’s really important to say to our amazing city clerk [Robin Estanislau] that you’re one in a million,” said Councilmember Kim Carr. “You do an exceptional job.”

Alisa Backstrom is city treasurer, which has evolved into “part-time job,” said council members at Tuesday’s meeting.

The last day to get the charter amendments on the ballot is Friday, Aug. 12. The public would have the last word on Nov. 8.

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