The Charter Project of Mendocino County is proud to announce that we successfully gathered 4054 signatures to get a charter question qualified for the June 2016 ballot. The question will be, “Shall a charter commission be elected to propose a Mendocino County charter?”We submitted the signatures to the Registrar of Voters at the County Administration Center at 501 Low Gap Rd. in Ukiah on Tuesday, January 19th about 2pm.

Only 2503 valid signatures are required to qualify for the ballot, and the excess signatures will compensate for whichever signatures were disqualified as invalid. Invalid signatures are either duplicates, from out of county, those who forgot at which home address they were registered, those who forgot to actually sign, unregistered voters, and those who registered to vote on a date later than the date on the petition. The registrar of Voters will take 30 days to validate every signature.

General Law counties are mere subdivisions of the State. Article XI of the California Constitution provides a path for counties to increase their local sovereignty with a home rule charter. The Charter Project of Mendocino County is a coalition of people working to help Mendocino to join the 14 other California counties that have established home rule charters.

In the same June election, if the voters approve the charter question, there will also be candidates running for charter commissioner. The 15 with the most votes will be elected to draft a county charter to be placed on the next ballot for voter approval.

We believe that a home rule charter will serve to protect Mendocino County from nationwide economic downturns and safeguard the scenic beauty and natural resources from undue corporate exploitation. The greatest advantage to a home rule charter is that provisions of the charter have the same force and effect as state law [Art XI, §3(a)]. That means that whatever we write into the charter, once approved by the voters, will be equal to state law, but applicable only to our county.