Scott Wiener Wants to Give Supes Power to Repeal Ballot Initiatives
|Supervisor Scott Wiener|
The the change to the city's charter would allow the supervisors to amend or appeal a ballot measure with a two-thirds majority after it has been in effect for three years, and through a simple majority vote after seven years.
An exception would be made for initiatives put on the ballot through voter petition, as opposed to those put up for a popular vote by the supervisors or mayor. Voter-driven measures could only be amended, not repealed.
If passed, Wiener's proposal could represent a significant shift of political power -- away from the ballot box, where voters often decide important public-policy matters through a popular vote.
Wiener says his charter amendment doesn't target any particular ordinance or initiative passed in recent years.
"The only context is that this is a better way of doing government," he told SF Weekly. "There's no specific ordinance that caused me to do this. I have no agenda except to take a small step toward making our city's government work better."
In recent years, many have criticized California's referendum process, particularly at the statewide level, for hamstringing the workings of legislators -- for instance, through decades-old ballot measures, including Proposition 13, that limit the state's ability to levy taxes.
The most hotly watched municipal ballot initiative in 2011 will likely be a new version of last year's Proposition B, which would have increased city employees' contributions to their pensions and health-care plans.
However, Wiener says his charter amendment would not apply to the so-called "Son of B," because the pension-reform measure will likely be a charter amendment itself. His legislation would only apply to ordinances passed by the voters, not revisions to the city charter.
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