Study group to plan response to county election law review, public invited, Thursday, February 25th, at 7pm in El Granada

The Charter Review Committee is having a meeting in Half Moon Bay on Wednesday, March 10th (time to be announced) at Cunha Intermediate School.  Its very important that residents from the unincorporated Coastside turnout at this meeting.  

The Charter Review Committee (CRC) is a panel seated every 8 years according to the county charter to review the very document that guides county government. The CRC is the local version of a Constitutional Convention and it is in the process of examining a variety of potential changes to the county charter.

One of the items on the CRC agenda is an examination of changing the way county supervisors are elected from an at-large system to a district based system. Last June, the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury issued an advisory letter to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors directing the five-member board to change the system under which supervisors are elected from an at-large system to a district based system through the regularly scheduled Charter Review process.

In anticipation of the March 10th CRC meeting a study session/planning meeting will be held this THURSDAY, February 25th 7-9pm at Granada Sanitary District.  You will receive the agenda for the meeting THIS Thursday tomorrow.  Both the February 25th and March 10th meetings are open to the public, please forward this email to anyone that might be interested.

MAP to the Study Session/Planning Meeting on February 25, 7:00pm at Granada Sanitary District:,+El+Granada,+CA+94019&sll=37.503031,-122.471635&sspn=0.007201,0.012327&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=504+Ave+Alhambra,+El+Granada,+San+Mateo,+California+94019&z=17

Granada Sanitary District
504 Ave Alhambra
El Granada, CA 94019

Charter Review Committee website:

I hope to see you this Thursday!

sabrina brennan


Unincorporated Coastal Advisory Committee

 San Mateo County

brainstorming meeting of interested members of the general public

Location: Granada Sanitary District, 504 Ave Alhambra 3rd Fl, El Granada, CA 94019
Date: Thursday, February 25th
Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm

7:00pm Call to Order
         Review Agenda

Charter Review Committee

7:15pm Status updates and related announcements

7:20pm Overview: Role of Charter Review Committee

Potential Charter Amendments

1. Filling vacancies on the Board of Supervisors: appointment vs. election
2. Board of Supervisors elections: at-large vs. district
3. Optimize efficiency in the County structure- combining elective offices and or departments

4. The process for drawing district boundaries
5. Non-constitutional county officers-should they be elected or appointed
6. Campaign financing restrictions
7. Qualifications for elected/appointed county officers
8. Periodic Review of Boards & Commissions
9. Instant runoff election for County offices
10. Supervisors’ oversight of investment policy/indebtedness
11. Setting of Board of Supervisors’ salaries
12. Accountability/oversight other elected County officials
13. Accountability of elected County officials
14. Private Defender
15. Citizens’ participation in review panel for hiring of department heads

Discussion about requesting additional Charter Revision amendments:
Streamline Countywide government by eliminating Countywide special districts.
County should apply to LAFCo to dissolve all existing Countywide special districts, whose functions should be taken over by existing county departments.

Harbor District: Very expensive to get elected because it’s at-large County-wide and voters know little about the District.  In decades, only one incumbent has not been re-elected, and he was an appointed incumbent.  Low visibility and problems at the Harbor District have been well-documented for many decades.  Citizen input is mostly ignored by the Commission.  All functions could be assumed by County departments of Public Works and Parks and Rec.

Mosquito Abatement District: The 21 member board has no elected officials. Unincorporated area may not have any representation at all.  Very low visibility. Citizens have no way to influence how this district operates.  All functions could be assumed by County departments of Public Works and Environmental Health.

7:50pm Discussion of some ideas for changing County Government structure to improve representation, services, and governance of the unincorporated areas.
Idea 1.  Change the charter to establish an “unincorporated council” (UC), which would have all the authority for the unincorporated areas that a city council has in a city. Require the County to fund the unincorporated council at the same level of property tax, sales tax, TOT, etc that a city could receive.  Restrict BoS authority to only those functions, which apply Countywide.  I.e., if the BoS currently doesn’t have the authority to do a certain thing within an incorporated city, that authority would be transferred to the Unincorporated Council.  Election would be “by division”.  Only voters in the division would vote for their council member. The UC would appoint two members to an expanded LAFCo.  This part would require a change to state law and of course would be fought tooth and nail by the BoS.

Idea 2.  Change the charter to require the County to apply to LAFCo to form a new city in any community when the developed residential density exceeds two houses per acre.  (Most Midcoast residential parcels are 5,000 sq ft postage stamps which results in approximately 8 per acre after allowing for streets.) The County would be required to shift property tax to insure that the proposed new city is financially viable, eliminating the primary reason that the supervisor-dominated LAFCo could use to deny the application.  When the density threshold is reached, County would be prohibited from issuing residential building permits until the application is submitted to LAFCo.

Open to other ideas…
8:50pm Announcements
9:00pm Adjourn

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