Costa Mesa is beginning the process to become one of the more than 120 charter cities in California. The process, which officially began early Wednesday morning when the city council approved a draft charter presented by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer.

The charter would grant the city the authority to manage nearly all of its affairs independent of the state. That includes outsourcing, which the city made headlines for earlier this year. To help reduce city exposure to long-term pension costs and reduce in-year spending, the council had previously investigated outsourcing a number of services. That plan was halted by a court ruling which said the city didn’t have the authority.

However, the proposed charter is not without its controversy. In addition to the power to outsource, the city would also opt out of the state’s prevailing wage laws and ban paycheck deductions by unions from being used for political purposes. Those actions, seen by many as anti-union, has labor unions in the city and in Southern California outraged.

From the Voice of the OC:

The Costa Mesa City Council voted early Wednesday morning to start the process of placing a charter amendment on the June 5 primary ballot, the latest effort by the Republican council’s majority to limit the influence of unions in the city.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer presented a draft charter he said would “give local control” to Costa Mesa and allow the City Council to outsource any services it wants.

The draft charter would also prohibit union dues from being spent on political activities, bar Costa Mesa from paying state-mandated “prevailing wages” on construction projects, and require a citywide vote in order to increase workers’ retirement benefits.

Read the full article here.