San Diego To Host 'Open Mic Night' On City Charter
San Diegans can have their say about how the city’s charter should be changed at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The charter acts as the city's constitution, and it's undergoing a major overhaul this year. There's potential for big changes, including ending free trash pickup at single-family homes and adjusting the way elections are run.
Charter Review Meeting
Where: City Administration Building, 202 C St., 12th floor, downtown San Diego.
When: 6 p.m. Thursday.
More Information: Click here for the agenda.
"The charter is our overarching document here in the city of San Diego," said City Council President Sherri Lightner, also the head of the charter committee. "You cannot waive the charter on anything."
Earlier this year, Lightner said the committee would publish a schedule to let the public know what changes would be discussed and when. While that hasn't happened, she said Thursday's meeting is specifically for the public to have their say about changes they'd like to see.
She called it "open mic night." She said her staff calls the meeting "charter karaoke."
Lightner added that it was difficult to get the City Attorney's Office to approve an open forum on the charter because California's Brown Act says meeting agendas must be published 72 hours in advance.
Council members began reviewing the charter after they found in 2013 that the document made it difficult to remove former Mayor Bob Filner from office. Filner eventually resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal. He was later charged criminally and pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and battery charges. He was sentenced to probation and home confinement.
In mid-December, Lightner asked council members and department directors to tell her what charter updates and changes they would like the committee to consider. Since then, the committee has been reviewing the charter and will bring a set of proposals for changes to the City Council in January.
The council would then vote on whether to make those proposals into ballot measures, either for the June or November 2016 elections. The city's charter can only be changed by a ballot measure.