From the California Constitution
- Art. 11 (Local Government) Sec 3a. The provisions of a charter are the law of the state and have the force and effect of legislative enactments.
- Art 11 sec 7. A county or city may make and enforce within its limits all local, police, sanitary, and other ordinances and regulations not in conflict with general laws.
From the charters of other California Charter Counties (alphabetically)
Alameda: In response to the state-mandated recycling act of 1990, the county went way beyond state requirements in both concepts and language. (Half of its long charter is about recycling.) Incineration was prohibited. Instead of the terms “garbage” and “solid waste,” “discarded materials” was used (meaning to be recycled rather than put into a landfill).
Butte: 1. A Treasury Oversight Committee allows local agencies, school districts, and the public to participate in reviewing policies that guide investment of public funds by the county. The State suspended that mandate in 2004, but the Treasurer's Office elected to continue the program. 2. The county has many county/city joint power authorities. 3. Right after it became a charter county in 1913, Butte created a free library and required the Superintendent of Schools to visit each teacher twice a year and report.
El Dorado: (Under CAO duties) Work with all other federal, state, regional, and local agencies when it is in the best interests of the entire county.
Fresno: Prohibits Board members from having a financial interest in issues decided upon—except on purely advisory boards.
Los Angeles: 1. BOS salaries are the same as Superior Court judges. 2. The governor fills BOS vacancies until a successor is chosen at the next general election. 3. The BOS, Sheriff, DA, and Assessor, after serving 3 consecutive terms, cannot stand for election again. 4. There is a Department of Forestry and a Fire Warden. 5. County employees are not allowed to strike and will be discharged if they do. Can only be rehired at entry-level salary.
Orange: 1. There is a cap on retirement benefits unless okayed by electors. (BOS not permitted to take action.) 2. Before going on the ballot an actuarial study needs to be made to figure costs. 2. The BOS are required to enroll in a minimum pension option.
Placer: 1. The BOS salaries are based on those in surrounding counties (El Dorado, Nevada, and Sacramento). 2. “Silence in the charter on a given subject does not relegate the county to compliance with general law.”
Sacramento: 1. The BOS may adopt regulations limiting contributions to and expenditures by candidates for county elective offices. 2. The county has the right and power to acquire, own, and operate public utilities. 3. A strike by deputy sheriffs is not in the public interest and should be prohibited. (There's a long section on arbitration.)
San Bernardino: 1. A member of the BOS cannot stand for election after serving 3 consecutive terms. 2. The Chairman of the BOS is the general executive agent of the Board (like the CAO). 3. BOS annual salaries and benefits are set by comparison with Riverside, Orange, and San Diego county salaries. 3. Eminent domain is prohibited—without owner's consent—to convey property to a private entity.
San Francisco: 1. Supervisors are limited to two consecutive terms. 2. There are parental leave policies for supervisors and a few others, including attending meetings through telecommunications.
3. All disbursement of funds in the custody of the treasurer must be authorized by the Controller.
From SF Environmental Regs: 1. The Precautionary Principle will serve as the framework for policies. 2. City departments shall give preference to reasonably available non-pesticide alternative. 3. It is the City's intention that ultimately there will be environmentally preferable alternatives for each commodity regularly purchased by the City. 4. The Precautionary Principle calls for full disclosure by manufacturers and suppliers so the most protective standard can be applied in the comparison of potential alternatives. 5. Virgin redwood forests are an ancient and irreplaceable part of our state and national heritage that should be preserved for future generations. (#5 is from the Tropical Hardwood and Virgin Redwood Ban.)
Legal Opinion from San Francisco City/County (via Harry Ohls)
A legal opinion was offered to Supervisor John Avalos, 11th District in June 2013. San Francisco has been developing plans on how to start its public bank for a couple of years with the help of Prof. Karl Beitel of UC Davis. The 12-page report summarized in its Conclusion that:
Because it is a chartered City & County, San Francisco is likely NOT subject to the provisions of Gov't Code Section 23007 barring a County from giving or loaning credit to or in aid of any person or corporation (the Mendocino Bank would be a separate corporation from Mendocino County). But the use of or expenditure of City (County) funds must provide a proper municipal purpose.
San Mateo: A special election to fill a vacancy of the BOS may be conducted as a mail-in only election.
Santa Clara: 1. There is no charge for a candidate statement in the voter pamphlet. 2. Instant Runoff Voting may be used. 3. From 2009 to 2021 certain monies are directed to the County Park Fund for the purchase and maintenance of county parks.
Tehama: 1. Supervisors can only receive $1,045/month, and this can only be changed by the electors. 2. Extraction of groundwater for off-parcel use is forbidden except as permitted by law.