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Finding Aid to the San Francisco Select Committee on Charter Reform Records, 1978-1996 (bulk 1994-1995)
SFH 32  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Related Materials
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement

  • Title: San Francisco Select Committee on Charter Reform Records
    Date (inclusive): 1978-1996
    Date (bulk): 1994-1995
    Collection Identifier: SFH 32
    Creator: San Francisco (Calif.). Board of Supervisors. Select Committee on Charter Reform.
    Physical Description: 2 boxes (2.0 cubic feet)
    Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 557-4567
    info@sfpl.org
    Abstract: Documents the work of Supervisor Barbara Kaufman pertaining to the 1994 and 1995 charter reform committees. The records cover work leading up to the new charter measure, Proposition E, which voters approved on November 7, 1995. Materials include charter history, drafts and final text, reports, surveys, minutes and hearing summaries, public comments, a speakers manual, legal opinions, campaign materials, press releases, and newspaper clippings.
    Physical Location: The collection is stored offsite.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.

    Access

    The collection is open for research. A minimum of 2 working days' notice is required for use.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], San Francisco Select Committee on Charter Reform Records (SFH 32), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

    Provenance

    The San Francisco Select Committee on Charter Reform Records were transferred to the San Francisco Public Library by then-Supervisor Barbara Kaufman in 1996.

    Related Materials

    Researchers are encouraged to see also the San Francisco Citizens Charter Revision Committee Records (SFH 33); San Francisco Charter Commission Records (SFH 25); Jack Morrison Papers (SFH 24); and the San Francisco History Center's subject and card files for related materials.

    Biographical/Historical note

    The charter is San Francisco's constitution. The first city charter was adopted in 1898, creating a "strong mayor" form of government. Reformers in the 1920s succeeded in voter adoption of a new charter in 1932, establishing a chief administrative officer to direct most of the city's departments. Over time, numerous incremental charter changes made governing arrangements more complex. Eventually, charter revision was attempted several times, resulting in little change. Charter reform was undertaken in 1994 and 1995 by the Board of Supervisors, resulting in the 1996 charter.
    Earlier, three charter committees failed to provide recommendations for revision. A fourth committee made recommendations that appeared on the November 1969 ballot (Proposition E) but was defeated, 37 to 63 per cent. A reconstituted committee then rearranged charter sections more logically, with no substantive changes. This recodification passed in November 1971 (Proposition R).
    In 1980, an elected charter commission proposed a new, simplified charter to replace the existing charter that had been amended over 500 times. The proposed charter would have given more authority to the mayor, reduced the chief administrative officer's term from 10 to 4 years, reduced the controller's term from life to 6 years, required that women be included on each commission and board, and gave greater status to the Human Rights Commission. Proposition A failed, 46 percent to 54 percent, on Nov. 4, 1980.
    In 1993, voters again mandated (through Proposition N) a thorough review and revision of the Charter. In 1994, the Citizens' Advisory Committee on Charter Reform was established. The San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), which supported Proposition N, was instrumental in the process. Several proposals were floated. Using the 1980 proposed charter as a starting point, Supervisor Barbara Kaufman and Mayor Frank Jordan's proposals were merged into one document. However, the Board of Supervisors declined to place a charter reform measure on the Fall 1994 ballot.
    A new group was created by the Board of Supervisors in 1995, the Select Committee on Charter Reform, chaired by Supervisor Kaufman. Kaufman’s legislative aide, T.J. Anthony, was significantly involved in the activities, as was SPUR. Like the 1994 proposal, the 1995 document was based on the 1980 proposed charter. Reform highlights included: shortening the 370-page document to 88 pages; modernizing the charter by eliminating sexist language, guaranteeing diversity and inclusion in city government, and protecting civil rights; merging the recorder and assessor functions; increasing government accountability; and giving some of the chief administrative officer's (CAO's) authority to the mayor while replacing the CAO with a city administrator with diminished authority. The measure, Proposition E, passed on Nov. 7, 1995, 58 percent to 42 percent, and the new charter became effective July 1, 1996.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection documents the work of Supervisor Barbara Kaufman and the 1994 and 1995 charter reform committees. The records cover work leading up to the new charter measure, Proposition E, which voters approved on November 7, 1995; and the implementation of the new charter, which took effect on July 1, 1996. Materials include charter history, drafts and final text, reports, surveys, minutes and hearing summaries, public comments, a speakers manual, legal opinions, campaign materials, press releases, and newspaper clippings.

    Arrangement

    The collection is organized in five series: Series 1: Citizens' Advisory Committee Reports and Proposed Charter Text; Series 2: Select Committee Reports and Proposed Charter Text; Series 3: Ballot Measure Campaign; Series 4: Implementation; and Series 5: Reference materials. Within series, materials are arranged chronologically.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    San Francisco (Calif.). Board of Supervisors. Advisory Committee on Charter Reform -- Archives
    County charters--California--San Francisco
    Municipal charters--California--San Francisco