Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/31/2010 10:19:19 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – Former mayors, a well-known pastor and other prominent figures have signed ballot arguments for and against Measure C, the move to change the City Charter, which is likely to dominate city politics until November.

“I think it’s going to get a lot warmer than it is today,” said former Mayor Evlyn Wilcox, who signed the argument against Measure C.

Measure C would amend the charter to give the City Council and mayor power to appoint the city attorney, city clerk and city treasurer.

To supporters, the measure would make City Hall a more professional place. Opponents call it a power grab that would steal residents’ right to vote.

Elected city attorneys are a rarity in California. Only 11 of the Golden State’s 481 cities have them, according to the League of California Cities. Cities with elected attorneys include Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.

More California cities have elected clerks and treasurers.

Measure C asks San Bernardino residents to decide if their government should instead mirror smaller towns and suburbs that have fewer elected officials.

The Rev. Ray Turner, who signed the pro-Measure C argument, thinks having fewer elected officials would eliminate the kind of politics he blames for San Bernardino’s economic stagnation.

Supporters claim in their ballot argument that San Bernardino spends nearly three times as much on attorney’s, clerk’s and treasurer’s budgets as do Highland and Redlands.

“Measure C will fix wasteful spending and save taxpayer dollars by finally allowing the city to reduce these budgets line-by-line, cut excessive taxpayer funded salaries and pensions, and restore budget controls that save millions,” reads the pro-Measure C argument.

City Clerk Rachel Clark, City Treasurer David Kennedy, attorney John Mirau and construction businessman Dan Carlone also signed the pro-Measure C argument.

City Attorney James F. Penman, – who opposes the measure – is a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the arguments’ claims that Measure C will save tax money.

A hearing is scheduled today in San Bernardino Superior Court. The judge’s decision will determine the language on sample ballots, county Registrar of Voters Keri Verjil said.

Aside from Penman’s case, the five who signed the ballot argument against Measure C have their own objections.

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