The Metropolitan Forum Project Reviving Citizen Civic Engagement
North Orange County Area Subregional Groups' Findings

Preliminary Recommendations

November 17, 1997

  1. Re-examine the Initiative Process:
    • Initiatives should pass legal, operational and fiscal reviews prior to appearing on the ballot;
    • Initiatives should contain "plain language;"
    • Initiative petitions should identify proponents, (sponsors) responsible for the effort to qualify the initiative;
    • To the extent it is possible, restrict the amount of money which can be spent to qualify an initiative;
    • Increase the number of signatures required to place an initiative on the ballot;
    • If an initiative proposes extraordinary voting requirements, (e.g. Supermajority) that initiative should be required to pass with the same requirement.
  2. Encourage Cost-Effective Annexations of Unincorporated Communities, ("Islands"):
    • Identify the costs to the County of maintaining unincorporated areas;
    • Identify the revenue to the County from unincorporated "islands;"
    • Tax sharing agreements should include resources to upgrade the infrastructure of the area to be annexed to meet the standards of the annexing public entity;
    • Tax sharing agreements should identify and pay for the cost of providing services to the area;
    • Many residents of County islands have misconceptions about the costs and benefits involved with annexation. Any annexation effort should include a public information campaign.
  3. Encourage Combining Small Cities/School Districts/Special Districts or the Creation of Competitive Alliances to Promote More Cost-Effective Units:
    • Seek to discover what the appropriate level of population to be served by a City/School District/Special District should be;
    • Develop legislation which allows and encourages local agencies to collaborate.
  4. In Order to Promote Public Participation, Simplify the Delivery of Public Services and Encourage Accountability Which Citizens Can Easily Identify and Understand:
    • Tie revenue raising ability to service delivery and accountability;
    • Audit on an annual basis to monitor performance objectives;
    • Work with the media, particularly television, to promote public education through educating the media and developing "sound bites" which clearly define public policy discussions;
  5. Simplify the State's Financial System of the Allocation of Taxes:
    • Define "local" revenue and tie it to "local" services;
    • Revisit the AB 8 property tax distribution formula. Be mindful that there are presently winners and losers with high stakes in the formula;
    • Stabilize the allocation of revenues to local government.
  6. Don't Alienate Business. Give Leverage to Those Who Create "Livable Wage" Jobs and Avoid Incentives to Move Them Across City/County Borders:
    • Do not promote the growth of sales tax generators as a method of local government finance;
    • Create fiscal incentives to create well paying jobs instead of retail jobs;
    • Discourage or eliminate incentives for the local relocation of retail outlets.
  7. Permit Local Governments to Work Together to Determine How to Allocate Tax Revenue, and Make it Easier for Them to Share Tax Revenue When Appropriate.
  8. Educate the Public About the Current System of Local Government Finance and Mandated Services:

Metropolitan Forum Project
811 West Seventh Street, Suite 900
Los Angeles, California 90017
Phone: (213) 629-9019 Fax: (213) 623-9207
Web: Email: