Why does Mendocino County want to join the fourteen other California counties that are Charter counties? Because Charter counties empower participatory democracy by engaging the people to make the laws that custom fit their county. It's called Home Rule and the charter laws passed by a majority of the voters in an election are the equivalent of the laws passed by the California legislature. California became a Home Rule state in 1911 and Los Angeles was the first Home Rule county in the USA in 1913.
After the Charter Commissioners are elected, they will draft a county charter to be ratified by the voters in a future election. The following are a taste of what the future charter might provide for us. The Charter Commissioners will gather input from every part of the county to make the charter as democratic as possible. At this stage, the charter has not yet been written.
For example, the environmental ordinances—no fracking, no GMO agriculture within the county, no nuclear power plants—could be given added power by being made Charter law. Protect the people of Mendocino County by empowering them with a Charter.
Another example. The bees that pollinate the farmers' crops are being devastated by neonicotinoid pesticides. Charter law could prohibit the neonicotinoids and save the bees—and the Mendocino agricultural economy.
The Charter might require that Mendocino County's money be ethically invested prohibiting investments in companies that support GMO foods or pay no income tax, exploit their workers, or felon banks. Mendocino County should only invest ethically.
Under a Charter, laws could be passed regarding the Precautionary Principle, campaign contributions for County candidates, Instant Runoff Voting, regulating corporate campaign contributions, and public financing of elections.
And much, much more....
But these are a spattering of the potential issues for the charter commissioners to consider in Stage 2, after Measure W is approved by the voters on June 7th.
All power to the people of Mendocino County!
Vote YES! for Measure W, to form the Commission that will write the future Mendocino County Charter.