San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 04/30/14, 4:40 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> It took took three-and-a-half meetings, mounting impatience from residents and the specter of the “nuclear option” — repealing the city charter completely — but on Tuesday the citizen committee charged with recommending changes to the city’s governing document began to do that.

Tuesday marked the half-way point for the committee — three meetings before it, three scheduled after it — and until now they have mostly laid the groundwork by setting meeting rules, deciding what to discuss and hearing from employees and residents.

“I’m a little frustrated,” said Gloria Macias Harrison, the committee’s vice chairwoman, “because I don’t know what to say when people say, ‘What are you doing in that committee?’”

Soon after, committee member Dennis Baxter asked whether the whole charter should be repealed, which he later said was a rhetorical strategy to get discussion going.

And in the final hour of the three-and-a-half hour meeting, they voted unanimously (with one member, Casey Dailey, absent) to endorse a number of charter changes they previously decided would be least controversial:

• Removing language from the city charter that purports to regulate the San Bernardino City Unified School District. The district sets its own policies without consulting the city’s charter, said members including former school board trustee Hardy Brown, although district officials hadn’t yet responded to a request for confirmation made a week ago by city staffer Jim Morris.

• Adding a section saying that the charter should be interpreted in a way that enables the mayor, City Council and city manager rather than restricting them, if any of its provisions can be read either way.

• A standing committee of citizens should continue to study the charter

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