BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                              Senator Ben Allen, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:             SCA 8          Hearing Date:    7/7/15
          |Author:    |Mendoza                                              |
          |Version:   |5/11/15                                              |
          |Urgency:   |                       |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
          |Consultant:|Darren Chesin                                        |
          |           |                                                     |
           Subject:  Charter counties: board of supervisors: redistricting

          This bill, if approved by the voters, requires any charter  
          county with a population greater than two million residents  
          after the 2020 U.S. census to have a governing body comprised of  
          at least seven members.

           Existing law  :

          1)Requires, pursuant to the California Constitution, that if a  
            county adopts its own voter-approved charter, it must have a  
            directly elected board of supervisors with at least five  
            members.  The Constitution allows charter counties to elect  
            their supervisors by districts, from districts, or at large.

           This bill  :

          1)Requires that in a charter county with a population of more  
            than two million residents at a decennial U.S. census,  
            beginning with the 2020 U.S. census, the county charter must  
            provide for a governing body of  seven  or more members.

          2)Caps expenditures for the governing body and its staff, in a  
            charter county with a population of more than 2 million  
            residents, at either the amount budgeted for the 2020-21  
            fiscal year or the amount that has the same proportion to  


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            total county expenditures as the governing body and staff  
            expenditures had to the total county budget in the 2020-21  
            fiscal year, whichever is less.

          3)Repeals, on January 1, 2021, the authority for any county  
            charter to provide for a governing body elected at-large or  
            at-large by district.

          4)Repeals, on January 1, 2021, constitutional language  
            specifying the manner in which some charter counties can  
            prescribe their governing bodies' compensation by ordinance.

          5)Makes additional non-substantive changes to current law.

           Affected Counties  .  There are 14 charter counties in California:  
          Alameda, Butte, El Dorado, Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, Placer,  
          Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo,  
          Santa Clara, and Tehama.  San Francisco, a city and county,  
          elects its 11 supervisors by districts.  The other charter  
          counties all elect their five-member boards of supervisors by  

          Five counties have populations of more than two million  
          residents: Los Angeles (10.1 million), San Diego (3.2 million),  
          Orange (3.1 million), Riverside (2.3 million), and San  
          Bernardino (2.1 million).  

           Are Some Supervisorial Districts Too Large  ?  In large counties,  
          some observers complain that the size of the supervisorial  
          districts result in unrepresentative democracy.  Each Los  
          Angeles County supervisor represents nearly two million  
          constituents, which is larger than the countywide population in  
          53 of California's 58 counties.  The extreme ratio between  
          constituents and supervisors can lead to political alienation  
          and a lack of political responsiveness.  Some observers also  
          suggest that five-member boards of supervisors provide few  
          opportunities to increase the diversity of the members to better  
          represent demographic changes in California's most populous  


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          Although voters can amend their county's charter to expand the  
          number of supervisors, there are no recent successes:

          1)On November 6, 1962, Los Angeles County voters rejected  
            Proposition D, which would have expanded the Board of  
            Supervisors from five members to seven members.

          2)At the November 2, 1976 General Election, Los Angeles County  
            voters rejected Proposition B, which would have expanded the  
            Board of Supervisors from five members to nine members.

          3)Proposition C on the November 3, 1992 ballot, would have  
            increased the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from  
            five to nine members, failed by a margin of about two-to-one.

          4)On the March 26, 1996 primary ballot, voters in Orange County  
            rejected Measure U, a charter proposal to expand the board of  
            supervisors from five members to nine members.

          5)On November 7, 2000, more than 64% of Los Angeles County  
            voters rejected Measure A, which would have increased the  
            number of county supervisors from five to nine.

           1)According to the author  :  SCA 8 is a bipartisan measure that  
            will require that any county that has two million or more  
            residents based upon the 2020 Census, to add two seats to  
            their board of supervisors.  While counties have the ability  
            to address the issue of adequate representation on county  
            boards, only a few such ballot attempts have been made in the  
            last 150 years - all unsuccessfully.  Since the 1950s, four of  
            them have taken place in Los Angeles and once in Orange county  
            and rejected each time for inadequate cost controls.  SCA 8  
            has strong and effective cost control by requiring funding of  
            the expanded board at the 2020-21, pre-expansion levels. 

            As a statewide measure, SCA 8 reduces the historic ability of  
            individual incumbents or groups of incumbents to kill local  
            measures to expand a board, as in 2000 when Los Angeles County  
            Supervisors responded to SCA 7 (Polanco) that sought to expand  
            the LA County Board.  They instead placed County Measure A on  
            the ballot to expand to nine members and insisted on a vacuous  
            cost control mechanism.  Once on the ballot, the majority of  


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            the five board incumbents raised funds and campaigned against  
            Measure A - using the lack of effective cost control and the  
            near doubling of the members as a platform - to ensure its  

            SCA 8 is designed to have the most minimal impact on a  
            county's authority to manage itself as it restricts itself to  
            expanding the Board by two members if the population of the  
            county exceeds two million people.  The affected County  
            retains all of its existing powers.

            Expanding the number of supervisorial seats for the state's  
            largest counties will provide the opportunity for these bodies  
            to be more responsive and reflective of the needs of the  
            people they represent and serve.  This constitutional  
            amendment is about increasing representation and  
            accountability in our county governments by bringing them a  
            little closer to home and to the people they represent.

            County boards of supervisor members carry out legislative and  
            executive branch responsibilities for their constituents.   
            They oversee a majority of vital services to our residents  
            including healthcare, public safety, traffic, social services,  
            public works, parks, and libraries among others.  However,  
            although elected, the number of members on county board of  
            supervisors has not changed since their creation more than 150  
            years ago, despite dramatic changes in the state's population,  
            demographics and their increased responsibilities for the  
            services they oversee for their constituents.  These types of  
            services require constant attention to the concerns of their  
            constituents in the delivery of these services.

            SCA 8 will bring about better delivery of services for  
            residents and accountability to make sure the services are  
            fairly and efficiently provided.

            As amended, SCA 8 would currently cover five counties, Los  
            Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego.   
            Santa Clara may join the list if its population exceeds two  
            million in 2020.

           2)Proposed Author's Amendments  .  The author has informed the  
            committee that he wishes to amend this bill to include general  
            law counties with a population of more than two million.  Such  


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            an amendment would have the effect of including Riverside  
            County within it provisions.  The proposed amendments would  
            also clarify that the seven board members be elected by  
            district, require that the members reside in the district, and  
            that they be subject to existing statutes that relate to  
            apportioning population of governing body districts.

           3)Is This the Best Approach  ?  Some observers note that  
            increasing the size of a county governing board addresses only  
            part of the problem when discussing the ability of county  
            governments to properly function.  As the author notes,  
            members of county boards of supervisors carry out legislative  
            and executive branch responsibilities for their constituents.   
            Since San Francisco is both a city and county, it is the only  
            county in California with an elected mayor or county  
            executive.  However, some or all of the counties in 25 other  
            states also have elected county executives or mayors.  An  
            elected county executive relieves the governing board from the  
            responsibility of overseeing the day-to-day operations of  
            administrative agencies and allows them to function more like  
            a traditional legislative body.  Furthermore, an elected  
            county executive is accountable to the voters in the entire  
            county rather than just those within a supervisorial district.

                               RELATED/PRIOR LEGISLATION
          SCA 7 (Polanco) of 1999-2000, which was held in Assembly  
          Elections Committee, would have expanded the minimum number of  
          supervisors for Los Angeles County from five to nine.  
          PRIOR ACTION
          |                                      |                           |
          |Senate Governance and Finance         | 4-2                       |
          |Committee:                            |                           |

          Sponsor: Author

           Support: Los Amigos of Orange County
                    Los Angeles County Chicano Employees Association


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           Oppose:  California State Association of Counties
                    Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
                    Orange County Board of Supervisors
                    San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors
                    Urban Counties Caucus

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