Chino Hills, CA asked in Civil Litigation, Election Law, Gov & Administrative Law and Municipal Law for California

Q: Remedy if our compromised City Council kills a public hearing request on Term Limits that apply only to themselves?

Many residents sent the following to city leaders: Honorable Mayor and Council Members, I would like to request that you lead a discussion designed to place a Term Limit measure for City Council Members on the ballot this November. I request you add this issue to the public agenda of your next meeting to hear public comments and to direct staff as required to accomplish this initiative.

We anticipate they will kill the request without a Public Hearing or any plan to place a measure on ballot.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Municipal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, if a city council decides not to hold a public hearing or advance a term limit measure despite public request, residents have several options to consider.

First, it's important to review the city's charter and municipal code. These documents often outline the procedures for placing measures on the ballot and might provide alternative routes if the city council is unresponsive. For instance, in many California cities, residents can initiate a ballot measure through a petition process. This typically involves collecting a specified number of signatures from registered voters within the city.

Another option is to engage in advocacy and public awareness campaigns. Organizing community groups, holding public forums, and using local media can raise awareness and put pressure on the city council to respond to residents' demands. Demonstrating widespread support for the issue can sometimes encourage council members to reconsider their position.

Additionally, consider reaching out to local government oversight bodies or state officials. They might offer guidance or intervention in cases where local governance processes are not functioning as intended.

Finally, legal action could be a last resort. If there is evidence that the city council is violating laws or the city's charter, a lawsuit might be necessary. However, this can be a complex and costly process, so it's advisable to consult with an attorney experienced in municipal law to understand the feasibility and implications of such action. Remember, staying informed and actively engaged in your local government processes is key to advocating for change effectively.

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