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November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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Local

City of Berkeley
Measure KK Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passed

41,762 votes yes (75.06%)

13,877 votes no (24.94%)

100% of precincts reporting (33/33).

Shall the measure amending the City Charter to eliminate the residency requirement for sworn members of the fire department, conform the provisions of Article V, Section 9.5 and Section 10 regarding the eligibility requirements for the Redistricting Commission to state law, remove gender-specific language and amend Article VII, Section 28 and Article XVI, Section 113 to update terms and duties of the office of City Attorney be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

The Charter Amendment would eliminate the requirement that City firefighters live within a radius of 40 air miles of the City.

The Charter Amendment would change the name of the “Citizens Redistricting Commission” to the “Independent Redistricting Commission,” and eliminate the requirement that members be Berkeley registered voters who have voted in the last two General Municipal Elections, and instead require that members be Berkeley residents who are 18 years of age or older, thereby allowing noncitizen residents to serve on the Independent Redistricting Commission. This amendment conforms the Charter to state law allowing noncitizens to serve on appointed commissions.

The Charter Amendment would replace all gender-specific references in the Charter with gender-neutral pronouns such as “they” and “their.”

The Charter Amendment would provide that the City Attorney shall be appointed for an indefinite term, and may be removed, by a vote of five members of the City Council. Under the Charter Amendment, the City Attorney’s authority to prosecute violations of the Charter and City ordinances would not apply to City boards whose members are elected, such as the Rent Stabilization Board and Board of Education. The Charter Amendment would require the City Attorney to draft ordinances, advise the Council and City boards and officers, and prosecute and defend the City in all judicial and quasijudicial proceedings, subject to the general direction of the Council and the Council’s approval to commence, settle, or dismiss any action, and would authorize the City Attorney to enter into contracts to support these functions. The Charter Amendment would provide for the City Attorney to propose a budget and for the Council to provide sufficient funds to carry out the duties of the office. 

NO vote means

In 1994, Berkeley voters amended the City Charter to require that all City firefighters hired after January 1, 1995, live within a radius of 40 air miles of the City.  All but four of the City’s roughly 130 firefighters were hired after January 1, 1995, and therefore must comply with this residency requirement.

 

The Charter restricts membership on the Citizens Redistricting Commission to registered voters in the City of Berkeley who have voted in the last two General Municipal Elections, unless ineligible to do so by reason of age, thereby precluding noncitizen residents from serving on the Citizens Redistricting Commission. 

The Charter currently uses gender references such as “he” and “she.”

 

The Charter currently provides that the City Attorney is appointed by the City Manager, subject to the affirmative vote of five members of the City Council, and is responsible for prosecuting all criminal cases arising from violations of the Charter and City ordinances, and attending to suits and proceedings in which the City is interested, subject to the Council’s control over all litigation in which the City is involved.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE KK 

Current Law 

In 1994, Berkeley voters amended the City Charter to require that all City firefighters hired after January 1, 1995, live within a radius of 40 air miles of the City.  All but four of the City’s roughly 130 firefighters were hired after January 1, 1995, and therefore must comply with this residency requirement.   

The Charter restricts membership on the Citizens Redistricting Commission to registered voters in the City of Berkeley who have voted in the last two General Municipal Elections, unless ineligible to do so by reason of age, thereby precluding noncitizen residents from serving on the Citizens Redistricting Commission. 

The Charter currently uses gender references such as “he” and “she.” 

The Charter currently provides that the City Attorney is appointed by the City Manager, subject to the affirmative vote of five members of the City Council, and is responsible for prosecuting all criminal cases arising from violations of the Charter and City ordinances, and attending to suits and proceedings in which the City is interested, subject to the Council’s control over all litigation in which the City is involved.  

The Proposed Charter Amendment 

The Charter Amendment would eliminate the requirement that City firefighters live within a radius of 40 air miles of the City.   

The Charter Amendment would change the name of the “Citizens Redistricting Commission” to the “Independent Redistricting Commission,” and eliminate the requirement that members be Berkeley registered voters who have voted in the last two General Municipal Elections, and instead require that members be Berkeley residents who are 18 years of age or older, thereby allowing noncitizen residents to serve on the Independent Redistricting Commission.  This amendment conforms the Charter to state law allowing noncitizens to serve on appointed commissions. 

The Charter Amendment would replace all gender-specific references in the Charter with gender-neutral pronouns such as “they” and “their.” 

The Charter Amendment would provide that the City Attorney shall be appointed for an indefinite term, and may be removed, by a vote of five members of the City Council.  Under the Charter Amendment, the City Attorney’s authority to prosecute violations of the Charter and City ordinances would not apply to City boards whose members are elected, such as the Rent Stabilization Board and Board of Education. The Charter Amendment would require the City Attorney to draft ordinances, advise the Council and City boards and officers, and prosecute and defend the City in all judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings, subject to the general direction of the Council and the Council’s approval to commence, settle, or dismiss any action, and would authorize the City Attorney to enter into contracts to support these functions.  The Charter Amendment would provide for the City Attorney to propose a budget and for the Council to provide sufficient funds to carry out the duties of the office. 

The City Council placed the proposed Charter Amendment on the ballot. 

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure KK.  

s/MARK NUMAINVILLE Berkeley City Clerk 

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Placed on the ballot by a unanimous City Council and Mayor, Measure KK is a good government measure to update various administrative provisions of the Berkeley City Charter.

 

First adopted in 1895, Berkeley’s City Charter is built on an old foundation. Updates are necessary to remove outdated elements, increase clarity and ensure conformity with current law and best practices.

 

Measure KK: 

●   Allows the implementation ordinance for the Redistricting Commission to be amended less than 5 years after adoption when necessary to conform with State or Federal Law. 

●   Removes an outdated firefighter residency requirement. 

●   Brings eligibility requirements for serving on the Redistricting Commission into conformance with California Law. 

●   Provides for the City Council to appoint the City Attorney and clarifies City Attorney duties and responsibilities. 

●   Updates outdated Charter language to remove non-inclusive gendered language, bringing our Charter in line with current law and practice. 

Changes in mutual aid reduce the need for firefighters to live in a small radius, and the rising cost of housing has pushed many first responders to live beyond the urban core. Lifting the firefighter residency requirement will allow Berkeley to recruit firefighters from a broader geographic area while still ensuring emergency response capabilities necessary for major events.

 

Subsequent to Berkeley’s adoption of an independent citizen’s Redistricting Commission, California adopted a law that residents “regardless of citizenship or immigration status” may hold appointed office. Measure KK conforms the Charter to State law and allows all Berkeleyans, regardless of citizenship, to serve on our Redistricting Commission.

 

Berkeley’s Charter doesn’t formally establish the Office of City Attorney or delineate its duties and powers in a comprehensive manner. Measure KK brings the establishment and responsibilities of the Office of City Attorney in line with best practices in cities, counties, and other municipalities across the State. 

Thank you for voting YES on Measure KK, to support good government in Berkeley.

 

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation

AMENDMENT TO THE BERKELEY CITY CHARTER TO ELIMINATE THE RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT FOR SWORN  MEMBERS  OF THE  FIRE  DEPARTMENT, CONFORM THE  PROVISIONS  OF ARTICLE  V,  SECTION   9.5 AND  SECTION   10  REGARDING REDISTRICTING TO  STATE  LAW,  REMOVE  GENDER-SPECIFIC  LANGUAGE,  AND AMEND  ARTICLE VII,  SECTION 28 AND  ARTICLE XVI,  SECTION   113 TO  UPDATE TERMS  AND  DUTIES OF THE OFFICE  OF CITY AITORNEY 

The People of the City of Berkeley  hereby amend the Charter  of the City of Berkeley  as follows: 

Section  1.   Section  37a of Article VII of the Charter  of the City of Berkeley  is amended  as follows: 

 

Section 37a. Repealed.Residency requirement for sworn  members of the fire department. 

 

Any  sworn  member of the fire department who  is  hired subsequent to January  1,  1995, may not reside greater than a radius of forty (40) air miles from the boundaries of the City of Berkeley.

 

Section  2. Article  V,  Section  9.5 and Article  V,  Section  10 of the  Charter  of the City  of Berkeley  are amended  throughout to change all instances of the name of the commission from   the   "Citizens   Redistricting   Commission"   to   the    "Independent   Redistricting Commission."

 

Section  3. Article  V,  Section 9.5(a)(4)  of the Charter  of the City of Berkeley  is amended as follows:

 

(4)       The City Council, by a two-thirds vote, shall adopt an ordinance establishing procedures to implement this  Charter  section. An  implementation ordinance  cannot be modified  by the Council  for a period  of five years after initial adoption, and without a twothirds vote of the Council,  unless adoption of an amendment to the Charter,  a change  in applicable state or federal statute,  or court decision  necessitates an earlier modification.

  

Section 4. Article  V,  Section  9.5(b)(1) of the Charter  of the City of Berkeley  is amended as follows: 

(1)       Membership.  The Commission  shall consist  of thirteen  members, each  of whom  is a registered  voterresident of the City of Berkeley. The application and selectioprocess set forth below and by ordinance is intended to produce an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission that is independent from legislative and political influence, and reasonably representative of the City's population.

 

Section  5. The first paragraph of Article V,  Section 9.5(b)(3) of the Charter of the City of Berkeley is amended as follows: 

(3)       Qualifications and eligibility. All registered  Berkeley residents who are 18 years of age or older at the time their application is submitted, who have voted in the last two General Municipal elections,  unless  ineligible to do so by reason of age, are eligible for membership  on the Citizens  Independent Redistricting Commission,  subject to the following limitations.

 

Section 6. Article V,  Section  9.5(b)(3)(i)  of the Charter of the City of Berkeley is amended as follows: 

(i)         The following  individuals are prohibited from serving on the Citizens Independent

Redistricting Commission: 

(A)       any individual who currently holds, has held, or who has been a qualified candidate for the office of Mayor or City Councilmember within the two years preceding the date of application; 

(B)      any  other  individual  who  holds  or  has  held  any  City  of Berkeley elective office identified  in this Charter within the two years preceding the date of application; 

(C)      the immediate family of the Mayor or any Councilmember,  as well as immediate family of staff to the Mayor or Councilmember;

(D)      any employee of the City of Berkeley;

(E)       any person performing paid services under a contract with the

City of Berkeley,  including employees of subcontractors; 

(F)      any individual who has served as an officer; paid staff, or paid consultant of a campaign committee of a candidate for Mayor or City Council within the two years preceding the date of the application; 

(G)     any  individual  who  is  currently,  or  within  the  two  years preceding the date of application, has been a paid staff member or unpaid intern to the Mayor or any Councilmember;

(H)      any  individual   ineligible   to  serve  m   public  office   under Government Code sections 1021,  1021.5,  1770,  or the Constitution and laws of the State of California,  except for those laws requiring citizenship status.
 

Section 7. Article V,  Section 9.5(b)(5) of the Charter of the City of Berkeley is amended as follows: 

(5)      Application  process. The  City Clerk  shall  initiate and advertise  a  30-day nomination period for appointment to the Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission. The nomination process shall be open to all registered Berkeley residentsvoters who are 18 years of age or older at the time their application  is submitted, and be conducted in  manner that promotes a diverse and qualified applicant pool.

 

Section 8. Article V,  Section 9.5(e)(2)  of the Charter of the City of Berkeley is amended as follows: 

(2)       In the event of substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct  in office or inability  to discharge  the duties of  office,  or if  it  is  determined  that a commissioner  is ineligible  under subdivision (d)(b)(3),  a Commissioner  may be removed by a two-thirdvote  of  the  lndependentCitizens  Redistricting  Commission,  after  having  been  served written  notice and provided with an opportunity to respond.

 

Section 9. Article XVI,  Section 109.5 is hereby added to the Charter of the City of

Berkeley as follows:

 Section  109.5  Gender-neutral  language.

The Charter of the City of Berkeley is amended throughout to remove all genderspecific  language  such  as "he," "she,"  "him,"  "her,"  or "his"  and any  other  gendered pronouns  or nouns.    Gendered  language  shall  be replaced with  appropriate gender• neutral  pronouns  such as "they," "their," or "them" or with gender neutral  nouns such as "the candidate," "the voter," "the Clerk," or "the officer" as grammatically appropriate and in a manner that does  not change the legal meaning  of any provision of the Charter. Gendered  language will  be preserved  if legally required due to the specific  gendered intent of the provision.·

(a) The gender neutral pronoun includes the feminine and masculine genders.

(b) "They/them/their"  shall indicate  a singular  individual,  unless the context indicates the contrary. In most cases, the singular number includes the plural and the plural number includes the singular.

 

Section  10. Article VII,  Section 28(c) of the Charter of the City of Berkeley is amended as follows: 

 

(c)    Except  as  otherwise  provided  in  this  Charter,  Tto exercise  control  over  all departments, divisions and bureaus of the City Government and over all the appointive officers and employees thereof. 

 

Section 11. Article XVI,  Section  113 of the Charter of the City of Berkeley is amended as follows: 

 

Section  113. Office of the City Attorney  and conduct  of legal  proceedings. 

 

The City Attorney shall be an officer of the City of Berkeley, appointed by a vote of five members of the Council, serving at the will of the Council for an indefinite period, and removed only by a vote of five members of the Council, and shall receive such salary as may be fixed by the Council. Upon presentation of a proposed budget by the Ci!Y Attorney, the Council shall provide funds sufficient to carry out the responsibilities  of the office of City Attorney  and for the  Cify Attorney's  department  (subject  to available resources), which shall be under the administrative control of the City Attorney.

 

 Except in the case of the Berkeley Housing Authorify,  and in the case of the Board of Education, Rent Stabilization Board and any other boards whose members are elective officers pursuant to this Charter, and in addition to duties and powers provided elsewhere in  this  Charter,  the  City Attorney  shall  prosecute  all  violations  of  the  Charter  and ordinances of the City;  shall,  subject to the general direction  of the Council, prosecute and defend for the City and all boards, officers and employees in their official capacify, all proceedings   before   judicial   and   quasi-judicial   tribunals;    shall   not   commence, compromise,  settle or dismiss any action for or against the City except as authorized  by an ordinance  or resolution  adopted  by the Council;  shall  be the  legal advisor  of and attorney and counsel for the City and for all officers and boards thereof, in all matters relating to their official duties; shall have the authorify to enter into contracts to prosecute or defend any action or proceeding or when necessary to advise the Council, any board or commission, the  City Manager,  or any division,  department,  or bureau of the  City Government; and shall draft proposed City ordinances and amendments thereto.

 

The City Attorney shall prosecute, in behalf of the people, all criminal cases arising from violations of the provisions of this Charter and the ordinances of the City,  and shall attend to all suits and proceedings in which the City may be legally interested;  provided, the Council shall have control  of all litigation  of the City and may employ other attorneys to take charge of any litigation or to assist the City Attorney therein.

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