San Bernardino Charter

    Here’s a roundup of unofficial numbers from the County of San Bernardino Registrar of Voters.

    There were two measures put on the ballot by the Mayor and Common Council of the City of San Bernardino to amend the Charter of the City of San Bernardino.

    Measure Q would have effectively repealed Charter Section 186, and was defeated:

    Measure Q – City of San Bernardino
    182/182 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    YES 7,112 44.68%
    NO 8,804 55.32%
    Total 15,916 100.00%



    Measure R amends the Charter of the City of San Bernardino:

    Measure R – City of San Bernardino
    182/182 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    YES 8,532 54.76%
    NO 7,048 45.24%
    Total 15,580 100.00%


    Former Fourth Ward Council Member Neil Derry lost his bid for one of three City of Redlands Council Seats, getting more votes then only Tabetha Wittenmyer, who dropped out, and newcomer John Harrison Montgomery:

    City of Redlands – City Council
    58/58 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    JON HARRISON 7,820 23.37%
    PAUL T. BARICH 6,587 19.69%
    JANE DREHER 5,551 16.59%
    NEIL DERRY 2,682 8.02%
    TABETHA WITTENMYER 1,489 4.45%
    PAUL W. FOSTER 7,056 21.09%
    Total 33,459 100.00%


    The City of Highland rejected a move to a ward system, which will probably result in a California Voting Rights Act lawsuit.

    Measure T – City of Highland
    38/38 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    YES 2,304 42.92%
    NO 3,064 57.08%
    Total 5,368 100.00%


    Former 2nd Ward Council Member Susan Longville won in a crowded field for a seat on the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District Board, beating City of San Bernardino Board of Water Commissioners Commissioner Wayne Hendrix, and former Fourth Ward Council candidate Joe Arnett, and San Bernardino Unified School District Board of Trustees Member (and Congressional District 31 primary candidate) Danny Tillman:


    an Bernardino Valley Municipal Water Dist – Div 3
    138/138 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    WAYNE HENDRIX 2,474 20.89%
    SUSAN LONGVILLE 3,538 29.87%
    STEVEN GUTIERREZ 1,045 8.82%
    JOE ARNETT 942 7.95%
    DANNY TILLMAN 1,461 12.34%
    Total 11,843 100.00%

    In Congress, Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar leads Paul Chabot for the California Congressional District 31 race:


    U. S. Representative District 31
    509/509 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    REP – PAUL CHABOT 38,488 48.96%
    DEM – PETE AGUILAR 40,123 51.04%
    Total 78,611 100.00%






    The unfortunate thing about recycling Measures in the same county is that at least for awhile, you get links to old initiatives.  Measure Q a few years back was a County charter initiative about supervisor pay.  Now, Measure Q is the repeal of San Bernardino Charter section 186 which sets public safety pay.


    Here is the website for the No on Measure Q forces.  The Website has a video regarding Measure Q.

    In 1939, California passed a law allowing local agencies to join the state retirement system, SERS. At the time that section 181-A was added (setting a minimum police wage), and section 181 was amended (changing the maximum number of police officers), the City was not a member of any retirement system.

    That changed in 1945, when the City joined SERS (which would become CalPERS in 1992).  At the time, municipal employees were not eligible and exempt from Social Security.

    The City (and not coincidentally, the County of San Bernardino) held elections on Charter Amendments to offer retirement plans to their employees.

    The measure was popular; the Sun endorsed it, the Mayor and the Council unanimously endorsed it.  The Council issued a statement that “we feel we are doing so in the interest of good government.” San Bernardino Sun, May 12, 1944, Page 11.

    A special municipal election for the charter election was consolidated with the statewide and County primary.

    The question:

    3. Shall proposed Charter Amendment No. One, adding a new section to the Charter of the City of San Bernardino, entitled Section 234, divided into three parts, entitled (a), (b) and (c), and providing that the Mayor and Common Council shall contract and provide for the participation of the City and City employees under the State Retirement System Act, with full credit for prior service rendered; providing for the termination of any such contract only by ordinance adopted by a majority vote of the electorate; providing for the levying of taxes to meet the obligation of the City to the State Employees Retirement System, and further providing that the limitations of the City Charter with respect to the levy and collection of taxes shall not apply to any such taxes so levied, be ratified?

    Proposition No. 3 unofficial vote:


    Yes 8,111 80.89%
    No 1,916 19.11%
    Total 10,027 100%


    After the election, the employees had to vote on joining SERS, which they approved in 1945.  The annotated Charter (operative 2006) claims that the section was amended on March 19, 1945, but it was not.


    The next few months will be about the City of San Bernardino Charter review / Charter reform. The next few posts will be about section 186, also expected are posts on previous comprehensive charter reform efforts and the failures thereof.

    As discussed before, before, and before, the San Bernardino Police Department, by council action and by action of the voters to amend the Charter of the City of San Bernardino in 1937 and 1939, expanded as the City came out of the Great Depression into the early World War II period.

    The Mayor and Common Council again put another police-related Charter revision on the ballot on November 3, 1942, a special municipal election consolidated with a California general election.

    There were a total of seven propositions for the City of San Bernardino (competing for attention with California and County propositions and measures).  They were labeled Propositions 20 through 26, and three passed, and four failed.

    Since the focus is on the expansion of the San Bernardino Police Department and the run-up to the addition of section 186 to the Charter of the City of San Bernardino in 1955, the item of interest was the second of seven, Proposition 21.

    Proposition 21 (1942) also known as Proposed Charter Amendment No. Two

    That Section 181 of the City Charter of the City of San Bernardino be amended to read as follows, to-wit:

    “Section 181. The Police Department shall consist of a Chief of Police, and such officers and other policeman as the Mayor and Common Council may from time to time determine.”

    The voters approved it by 62.96 percent:

    Proposition No. 21: (Police) Yes        5,326
    No 3,133
    Total 8,459

    The 1942 amendments are very close to today’s section 181, last passed in the 2004 (operative 2006) Charter:

    Section 181. Police Department – Membership. The Police Department shall consist of a Chief of Police, and as many ranking officers, police officers and other employees as the Mayor and Common Council may from time to time determine.



    Over on the law blog I wrote about The Roots of San Bernardino Charter Section 186: Chapter One.

    Here is some political context for the Charter Amendment, which added to the then-existing 1905 Charter section 181A. Section 181A was an embryonic Section 186, setting minimum police salaries.  The text is on the legal blog.

    The question submitted on the ballot, as shown in Ordinance 1621 passed on February 14, 1939,  was

    1.  Shall Proposed Charter Amendment No. One, adding a new Section entitled Section 181-A, providing for and establishing a minimum rate for salaries in certain classifications in the Police Department, be ratified?

    Ordinance 1621 was not without a dissenting vote: Councilmen W.N. Herkelrath, Dr. George Shafer and Howard L. Holcomb voted for it, Councilman Timothy Sheehan voted against it, and Councilman Atwood was absent.  “Councilman Sheehan, who has consistently voted against placing the salary amendment on the ballot, again voted in the negative when the charter election ordinance was presented. San Bernardino Daily Sun, February 15, 1939, Page 5.

    One day before the election, the Sun ran an article about the proposed measure:

    Voters Will Ballot On Police Salaries

    Effort Being Made to Amend City Charter So Higher Wages Can Be Fixed

    Voters of San Bernardino will ballot on Monday on salary increases for police officers and determine whether minimum salaries shall be fixed in the city charter.

    In the past such salary matters have been determined by the mayor and common council.

    Members of the police department, acting with the permission of the civil service commission, city council and mayor, have conducted an active campaign in behalf of the measure.


    Opposition to the measure has not been organized.

    The measure seeks to provide ultimate minimum salaries as follows: Patrolmen, special officers and plain clothes officers $175 per month; desk sergeants $190, patrol sergeants $190, motorcycle officers $185, traffic sergeants $200.  The beginning salary for patrolmen, special officers and plain clothes officers would be $135, advancing $5 each six months until the minimum of $175. The beginning salary of motorcycle officers would be $155, advancing $5 each six months until the minimum of $185.

    Present salaries are: patrolmen, $145 after one year of service; motorcycle officers, $160 per month; desk and patrol sergeants $150; motorcycle sergeant $175.

    The increases would be patrolmen with five years seniority $30 per month, desk and patrol sergeants $40 per month, motorcycle officers $25 per month, traffic sergeants $25 per month.

    Arguments in favor of the proposition have generally taken the following line:

    The San Bernardino police salaries are below those in such cities as Colton, Redlands, Riverside. The largest cities, such as Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego, Pasadena, start their patrolmen at $190 to $200. The larger cities all have pension or retirement systems, which San Bernardino does not have.  Sergeants in larger cities are paid $250 per month.

    San Bernardino police officers are required to furnish their own equipment, such as uniforms $43, shirts $7.75, guns $34, handcuffs $11, billy or baton $4, ammunition, shoes and other incidental, Sam Browne belts $10 to $12, telephone in home. Motorcycle officers pay $25 for a pair of pants.

    Pay is stopped after seven days of illness.

    The occupation is extremely hazardous.  Insurance rates for police officers are beyond their means.


       Arguments mot frequently heard in opposition, include:

    Such matters as salaries for police officers should be fixed by the mayor and common council and not frozen into the city charter where they could be changed only by a vote of the people.

    The adoption of the proposal would mean an increase in taxes, which would be considerable in view of the fact that if police officers are to have such increases all other city employees are entitled to similar treatment.

    The city council should assemble the police salaries paid in all of the smaller cities of Southern California and adjust the San Bernardino salaries accordingly, after informing the public what salaries are paid in other cities.

    The charter amendment ignores the question of retirement for officers beyond normal age limits.

    The salaries proposed are higher than those earned by most taxpayers in private employment.  San Bernardino Daily Sun, March 19, 1939, Pg. 7.

    In what appears to be a full page advertisement purchased by the amendment’s proponents in the same issue of the Sun, the proponents stated with a banner headline “CITIZENS SUPPORT POLICE MEASURE.”  In column one is the headline “APPROVAL VOICED BY TAXPAYERS – Citizens Committee Sees No Increase in Tax Rate If Measure Voted – LEADERS IN FAVOR-Underpay and Dangers in Police Work Require Adjustments, Belief.”

    Column one continues:

    Active support of Police Amendment No. 1 which involves a standard rate of pay for members of the police department is finding wide, enthusiastic support, according to James L. King, prominent local attorney and chairman of the citizens’ committee furthering the ballot measure.

    Expressions from business, church, fraternal, labor and civic groups have pledged support to the proposition, according to the committee.

    Leaders from may walks of life have given expression that a favorable vote should be case. Outstanding among the open statements of support are the following from prominent San Bernardino citizens:

    W. Ronald Brown, Base Line Electrical contractor: “I am heartily in favor of Amendment Number One, the Policemen’s salary measure. Many reasons could be advanced but mainly I support it because it is economically sound, and socially right. I am asking all of my friends and associates to vote for this measure.”

    Rabbi Norman Feldheyn [sic, should be Rabbi Norman Felheym]: “A prerequisite for law enforcement without corruption is a law enforcement department whose members are paid a decent living wage. An affirmative vote on proposition No. 1 will help to acquire the type of law enforcement we need in San Bernardino.”

       William H. (Billy) Baldwin, former chief of police: “I have always been in favor of good wages for good police officers. It is deplorable that our officers are paid such a small wage.

    “During my thirty years as a policeman in San Bernardino, and as chief of police– two and one-half years-I was faced with danger hundred of times. Today, even though our department is equipped with the latest implements to combat crime, our  policemen face greater dangers than we did years ago. Our present criminals, dope crazed and with brains clouded with liquor, often kill and maim at the slightest provocation.

    “The San Bernardino police department today is the most efficient in the history of San Bernardino. In order for that efficiency to continue, it is necessary that proper wages be paid, therefore I strongly urge the passage of the Police Salary Amendment, Proposition No. 1.”

    Rea Smith, Secretary, San Bernardino Central Labor Council: “The contention of labor organizations is that all labor should be worthy of its hire. Since our Police department is greatly underpaid, I strongly urge the passage of Proposition No. 1.”

       T.W. Duckworth, Attorney: “I believe the members of our Police department should have higher salaries than they are now receiving.”

    Rev. F.W. Rollins, President Ministerial Association: “Speaking as a private citizen I strongly urge the passage of Proposition No. 1. If we are to maintain the present standard of high efficiency of our Police force, an adequate wage must be paid the personnel.”

       Wm. T. Hunter, Manager Towne-Alllison Store No. 1. “Charter Amendment Number One must pass if we are to retain and replace men of high calibre on our police force. I urge support of this important measure.”

    John K. Tibbits, former publisher: “Twenty years of observation and study of our city’s police force and systems, convinces me beyond any shadow of doubt the city’s interests would be best served if a favorable vote is given Amendment Number One. Efficiency, character requirements and educational standards are encouraged and follow in the footsteps of well paid, satisfied employes [sic]. The police officers of this city have long been at a disadvantage with other lines of employment. It is high time that this situation be corrected and a new impetus given the popular movement for higher public service and appreciation.”

       Stanley Mussell, former District Attorney: “I believe that the police officers in San Bernardino are underpaid and I therefore favor the adoption of City Charter Amendment Number 1 establishing a minimum salary.”

    The remaining portion of the parade are largely “TRAGIC PICTURES TELL THEIR STORY.” This includes a picture of Special Agent Buford A. French, of the ATSF Police, who was shot to death on November 11, 1932. The picture shows Special Agent Buford A. French lying dead below a train, with his gun nearby.  According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, he was shot by a hobo.  Another is a graphic photo of the dead “bandit” who shot Officer Thompson in Needles in 1935.  Another shows the car who hit Officer Milleman on Foothill Boulevard on February 12, 1939. Officer MIleman, according to the caption, was still in the hospital.

    The middle of the pictorial features a short piece: “Every Boy Wants To Be A Policeman” . . . and so did Teddy Moore, above, 10 year old son of Mrs. Dallas Moore, widow of the late officer, Henry F. Moore, who was killed in the line of duty while an officer in the city Police Department, New Year’s eve 1937. Officer Moore was just 31 years old when killed.”

    “Teddy’s father like all other officers of the Police Department, was burdened down with the excessive drain upon his small salary, to keep up uniforms, equipment, household expenses for several children, pay on insurance premiums, which came high. But, when tragedy hit this family and the bread winner was taken while in the line of duty, Teddy’s mother, Mrs. Dallas Moore, found that there was not sufficient money from the small insurance policy to meet expenses and carry the children through school and give them the necessary things essential to growing children.

    “Mrs. Moore found it necessary to seek employment which takes her away from the home eight hours a day and all because of the fact that San Bernardino Policemen are not receiving just compensation for the services and protection they are giving to the taxpayers and general public.

    “Don’t let such a thing happen to your boy, if he happens to become a policeman when he grows up. Vote Yes, Amendment Number One Policemen’s Salary proposition, and insure better conditions and protection for those who protect you.

    The advertisement states that the Police Department is self supporting, and that “Amendment No. 1 will not increase the expense upon the taxpayers is shown by records of the Police Court, over which Judge Donald E. Van Luven presides. Fines and forfeitures over a period of years, disclosed by the record offer ample support of the income the city derives from law offenders.

    The advertisement concludes with the story of four (then) active police officers who were injured on the job.

    There didn’t appear to be any organized opposition to the measure. The San Bernardino Police Officers Association bought the ad mentioned above, and another the next day offering rides to the polls.

    After election night, the count stood at 5,173 yes votes, and 5229 no votes.  There were 138 absentee ballots to count.  The law allowed up to a week for them to come in, and they were counted on March 27, 1939.


    Turnout for the election (it’s not clear if the number includes the absentee ballots was said to be only 11,322 for 18,576 registered voters), which was 60.94 percent. The sources for those numbers (with different figures of registered voters), comes from the Sun on March 22 and 23, 1939, both on page 13.  The final vote was the measure passed by three votes.


    Yes 5,264
    No 5,261
     Total 10,525

    The vote wasn’t decided until  seven days after election day, when the final vote was canvassed at City Hall.  The Sun sets the scene like this:


        While members of the city council tallied the absentee voters’ ballots, 20 police officers and leaders of the move to obtain increased salaries for members of the force paced the floor on the council chamber, anxiously awaiting the final result of the amendment.

        Fearing that it was impossible to obtain the required majority of the absentee votes, most of the police officers had abandoned hope for passage of the amendment.

        Every one of the 32 negative votes caused a furore [sic] in the council chamber. Ninety five of the absentee ballots contained yes votes, while 10 persons did not vote on the amendment.

    . . .

        Sergeant A.L. Luce, chairman of the committee in charge of the amendment, issued a statement following the announcement of the final result.   He said:

     “The police officers wish to express their deep gratitude to the voters of the city of San Bernardino and pledge to continue giving the public service commensurate with the increased salaries.” San Bernardino Daily Sun, March 28, 1939, Page 11.

    It was my intent to write about the history of the San Bernardino Charter from begging to end, but to paraphrase into standard English a popular phrase: No one has time for that.  Therefore I’m going to concentrate on the lessons from Charter Reform past and skip around in time.

    Measure M failed before I was appointed as a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino while I was still Staff Attorney for Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino, and I really was not involved in its proposition nor its defeat.  Therefore, most of this post is based upon research, not remembrance.

    This is an overview.  Hopefully, a more in-depth look will follow.

    Before the attempt with Measure M, the Charter was last amended on November 2, 1999 with Measure X.  The Charter Review Committee was established in early 1999.  It was chaired by attorney and later Mayoral Chief of Staff Jim Morris, and though I could not find a complete list of members, it included Dennis Baxter (later 2nd Ward Council Member) and Carl Clemons.  There were applications, and it appears the Mayor appointed the members.  A consultant was hired to facilitate the charter.

    In the minutes of the October 4, 1999 Mayor and Common Council Meeting:

    Mayor Valles discussed the Charter Review Committee indicating the committee members have been working diligently to prepare their recommendations for Charter reform. She indicated they will be coordinating with the League of Women Voters to produce a video explaining charter reform and the progress that has been made to date, with information on public participation,as well as future forums. Minutes of the Mayor and Common Council, October 4, 1999, page 4.

    Second Ward Council Member Susan Lien opined on Charter Reform in the same meeting:

    Council Member Lien stated that she pulled Agenda Item Nos. 14, 15, 16and 17 because she wanted to strongly encourage the safety unions to come forward to discuss Section 186 during the Charter Reform. Council Member Lien does not think that population is rationale for salaries.

    The Charter Review Committee held town hall meetings on May 13, 2000, May 15, 2000 at Del Vallejo Middle School and May 16, 2000 at the Feldheym Library.  A Council workshop was set for May 31, 2000.

    On January 24, 2000, May 31, 2000 and on June 8, 2000, there were Charter review workshops held with the Committee and Council.

    On June 19, 2000, the City hired two firms to review the proposed charter.

    The Mayor and Common Council again held a joint workshop with the Charter Review Committee on July 24, 2000.  The item was also discussed extensively at the Council meeting.

    Council discussed it again on July 26, 2000, in which Mayor Judith Valles said:

    “she chose to embark on the process of reviewing the City’s
    current Charter. She stated that the Charter was a very political issue during her campaign and unofficial, self-appointed Charter committees proposed that the City should have the National League of Cities model Charter. In addition, the committee considered
    that the City should have a strong manager form of government and a ceremonial Mayor. It was agreed that the best time to put the Charter on the ballot for consideration by the voters was during a time when officials were not running for election, or in November 2000. A committee was selected and consisted of individuals she
    believed were objective and some who previously served on a Charter Committee. A consultant was hired to establish the process and educate the committee as to the different forms of government and charters, and establish principles that would guide the process so that discussions were not focused on people, but on positions and
    whatever discussions took place and whatever decisions made would produce a document that would lead the City in the future. It was important to recognize what belonged in a governance document and what did not. In order for the City to really affect the change that was needed, compromises had to be made. Mayor Valles stated
    that Section 186 shall remain as it currently exists in the Charter and shall continue in full force and effect and shall sunset upon adoption and implementation of Senate Bill 402 or any other binding arbitration by the State. The Fire and Police Departments
    were included as in the original Charter. The Civil Service Board was kept intact to provide employees with impartial arbitration of all disciplinary issues and hiring handled through personnel rules of procedures, adopted by the Council, to provide the desired checks and balances. Having two departments, Human Resources and Civil
    Service, was a duplication of effort and was not efficient. Mayor Valles distributed an updated version of the Charter dated July 24, 2000, which incorporated all the recommended changes, and a “Summary of Changes,” also dated July 24, 2000. Minutes of the Mayor and Common Council, July 26, 2000, Pages 1-2.

    On August 4, 2000, the Mayor and Common Council voted to put the draft revised Charter on the November 7, 2000 ballot:

    Resolution 2000-231,Resolution 2000-232, Resolution 2000-233, Resolution 2000-247, placing the proposed charter on the consolidated special municipal election.

    The results of that election, from the SBROV:

    ADOPT NEW                             YES 11277 32.2%
    CITY CHARTER                        NO 23691 67.7%

    The City of San Bernardino was created by the California Legislature as special charter City on its first go around in 1854.  It was dissolved by the Legislature in 1863. It was reincorporated in 1869, and again on May 15, 1886 as a City of the Fifth Class. It remained so until 1905 when a charter was adopted.

    After an aborted attempt to hold a freeholder election on December 15, 1903 (scuttled by the Board of Trustees), the City called a special Municipal Election on July 30, 1904.  Here are the unofficial results, as reported by the San Bernardino Daily Sun, August 2, 1904.

    To give context to these numbers, registration was approximately 2000, turnout was 415 (approximately 20 percent)  and the population in the 1900 decennial census was 6,150, and the 1910 population was 12,779.

    The potential freeholders campaigned as slates.  Here are the results winners in bold:

    Candidate                     1st Ward   2nd Ward 3rd Ward 4th Ward 5th Ward    Total

    R. Hammond 8 19 20 5 21 73
    Henry Price 7 19 19 7 21 73
    S.P. Waite 7 28 20 8 17 80
    W.R. McNeil 4 19 8 10 12 53
    P.J. Chase 7 22 19 6 20 74
    J.B. Wilffey 7 20 19 8 19 73
    Lewis Slater 7 25 20 12 19 83
    C.E. Walker 8 29 22 8 19 86
    G.A. Atwood 7 28 9 13 15 72
    Horace C. Rolfe 38 104 40 46 44 272
    A.M. Ham 19 75 17 31 27 169
    W.S. Hooper 38 93 34 44 39 248
    F.W. Gregg 23 71 24 29 24 171
    John Andreson, Sr. 45 100 39 40 42 266
    F.B. Daley 39 81 39 31 35 225
    R.F. Garner 15 57 14 31 20 137
    Oscar Newburg 15 60 15 26 22 138
    E.J. Gilbert 9 42 10 26 19 106
    L.D. Houghton 37 76 38 28 29 208
    I.R. Brunn 39 67 32 21 32 191
    George M. Cooley 27 92 27 37 40 223
    Hiram M. Barton 32 110 38 46 44 270
    Geo. E. Mills 10 34 29 15 28 116
    W.M. Parker 28 80 32 32 31 203
    John H. Morgan 10 19 8 7 10 54
    James Murray 41 61 33 17 25 177
    D.A. Grovesnor 22 33 34 14 22 125
    J.J. Hanford 43 84 37 29 41 234
    M.L. Cook 37 75 29 35 34 210
    R.A. McClanahan 15 35 21 13 28 112
    Joseph Ingersoll 42 75 37 27 35 216
    A.G. Kendall 43 99 40 42 49 273
    J. W. Cattick 38 81 37 32 40 228
    Total 63 142 70 64 76 415

    Also receiving votes were the following who were not nominated, but people voted for anyway: 1st Ward: John G. Eikleman 1 , 2nd Ward: J.A. Cole, Byron Waters, J.W. Waters, Black, Dunn, Joseph Cadd, Morris Katz, Jo. Brown, J.B. Phillips, J.S. Bright, P.B. Hockaday, Joseph E. Rich (1 vote each), E.E. Katz (3 votes),; 3rd Ward: Louis Wollf, G.F. Woods, (1 each); 4th Ward: Henry Goodcell, B.F. Conaway, W.S. Boggs, G.W. Miller (1 vote each); 5th Ward: Seth Marshall, Howard Surr, J.M. Hurley, D. McGandier and Mark B. Shaw (1 each).