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Redondo Mayor Urges City Charter Changes, Would Swap Veto for Vote

January 30, 1986|DEAN MURPHY | Times Staff Writer

REDONDO BEACH — Mayor Barbara Doerr this week proposed sweeping changes in the organization and structure of the city's government, calling for creation of a sixth City Council district and the elimination of her veto power in exchange for an equal vote on council issues.

Doerr submitted the proposals to the council on Tuesday as members mulled over a variety of suggested amendments to the City Charter that could appear on the ballot in June. She asked that her proposals be considered along with the others, because most of them deal with the relationship between the mayor and the five-member council.

The council voted to refer all of the proposed Charter amendments to the city attorney and to consider them again at its meeting next week.

Doerr, who has no vote on the council but can veto its decisions, proposed that the mayor continue as the city's ceremonial leader and as presiding officer at council meetings. But she proposed that the mayor lose the veto power and instead vote as an equal member of the City Council. Such a change also would give the mayor the power to initiate motions and introduce policy issues.

Her second proposal, to create another council district, is intended to avoid 3-3 deadlocks that could arise if the mayor gained the right to vote on the council.

Doerr said the proposals would make the city's government more consistent with those in other cities in California. To bolster her argument, she submitted several reports written in 1982 when a Charter review committee appointed by the City Council studied similar proposals.

A study by the committee showed that only four other cities in the state--Riverside, San Francisco, San Bernardino and Los Angeles--have provisions for a mayoral veto. The committee concluded that elimination of the veto power would "create a more normal legislative organization and environment."

Under the City Charter, the council can override the mayor's veto by a 4-1 vote, which it has done frequently since two Doerr foes were elected to the council last May.

Doerr said after the council meeting Tuesday that she favors introducing the changes as soon as possible. If the proposed Charter amendments appear on the ballot in June, a sixth council member could be elected next spring and the changes could take effect then, she said. Doerr is serving her second four-year term, which expires in 1989.

Doerr's proposals were prompted by other Charter amendments that the council is considering, primarily one that would create a permanent mayor pro tem, she said. According to that proposal, the council would elect a mayor pro tem each year who would serve as mayor when the mayor is absent or unable to serve. Currently, the council elects a mayor pro tem at each meeting the mayor does not attend, and the appointee serves for that meeting only.

Doerr, who has been at odds with the council over her powers of appointment to commissions and other city boards, said she feared that a permanent mayor pro tem might attempt to make appointments while the mayor was out of town or ill. She suggested that the proposed Charter amendment prohibit the mayor pro tem from making appointments unless the mayor has been absent for at least 30 days.

At the meeting next week, the council will also consider a Charter amendment that would restrict campaign contributions to candidates in the city. That amendment was proposed Tuesday night by attorney Stevan Colin. Among other things, it calls for public disclosure of all donations of $50 or more and a maximum donation of $250 per contributor.

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