Page images
PDF
EPUB

furnished by the clerk, an application to the superior court to have his land registered according to the law. The court has the title examined, gives any interested parties a hearing, and then issues a decree establishing the title and ordering it registered. The county recorder enters the certificate of registration in a special volume in his office, and gives the owner a duplicate certificate. The certificate states the true condition of the title, noting any incumbrances, and the state guarantees the title as thus set forth. The title is thus not only secure, but any one is able to determine its exact condition from the certificate in the recorder's office, and no further search of title is necessary.

An owner of registered land may sell it by delivering a deed to the purchaser and his duplicate certificate to the recorder. The recorder makes a note of the transfer on the original certificate in his office, and on the duplicate, which he keeps, and issues a new duplicate to the new owner. The fee is one dollar, which becomes part of an insurance fund, by which the state guarantees the titles to all registered land. The process of mortgaging such land is as simple as that of selling it. The purpose of the law is to do away with the necessity of having the title to land searched every time it is sold or mortgaged, and to provide a method whereby the titles to registered land may be guaranteed by the state; but the first expense of getting land registered under the law is so heavy that little use has so far been made of it.

Page 92. — Los Angeles township now has six justices of the peace.

Page 93. The county sheriff, the district attorney, and the chief of police of the county seat, constitute a county parole commission with power to parole prisoners from the jail, or any city prison, in the county.

Pages 119 and 131. - A constitutional amendment adopted in 1914 (sec. 6, art. XI) modifies the statements in the text to the effect that all powers of a city must be definitely stated in its charter. A city charter may now confer power upon the city in general terms, rather than by a specific enumeration of items, to take full charge of its municipal affairs. This is something entirely new in the United States. Bakersfield, Napa, and San José have taken advantage of this provision of the constitution in their new charters.

Page 126. - A constitutional amendment adopted in 1914 provides a method whereby any city having a population of 50,000 may detach itself from the county in which it is located for the purpose of forming a consolidated city and county, by obtaining the consent of its voters, as well as of those of the county at large, and of the state legislature. Additional territory may also be included with the consent of the people affected.

Page 137. - All cities in California now elect their officers by the nonpartisan method. This has been brought about in many cases by charter modifications, and in others by amendments in the state law. Page 141.

- The commission plan of city government has continued to spread throughout the middle and western divisions of the United States. On the whole it has worked more satisfactorily than the plan which it replaced, but owing to the fact that it does not place experts at the head of the various municipal departments, it has not met the expectations of its most ardent advocates. It is to be noted that in just this particular it departs from the plan upon which a corporation is governed, for the directors of a corporation do not as a rule serve as heads of departments. To remedy this weakness in the commission plan a plan known as the city manager plan” has been devised.

According to the city manager plan the voters of a city elect a council of three, five, seven, or more members, which serves as a legislative body, but which has very limited executive powers. Its members do not serve as heads of departments and they receive small salaries. The council appoints a city manager who in most cases need not be a resident of the city at the time of his appointment. He is the executive head of the city government, but is responsible to the council, which has the power to remove him at any time. He attends the meetings of the council and makes recommendations relative to public policies and to the details of the government. He appoints all other city officers, except possibly the auditor, the police judge, and one or two others, and may remove any of his appointees at any time for cause. In making most of his appointments he is governed by civil service regulations. This plan agrees with the commission plan in that it provides for the short ballot and the concentration of

power in a few hands, but differs from it in that it makes more likely the securing of experts for responsible executive positions.

66

Napa, San José, Long Beach, Alhambra, and Bakersfield adopted new charters in 1915; and San Diego and Santa Monica adopted amendments to their charters which are very far-reaching.

The most noticeable features of these charters are as follows:

1. The city manager plan of government is much in favor. It is definitely adopted by San José, Bakersfield, and Alhambra; and provision is made in the charters of Long Beach and Napa whereby it may be taken up later by a vote of the people without the necessity of amending the charters. It is adopted in a modified form by San Diego, which has a manager of operation," who has charge of the harbor, streets, buildings, sewers, water system, and other engineering work.

2. The tendency to eliminate the office of mayor is becoming more pronounced. The following cities having freeholders' charters elect no mayors : Richmond, Palo Alto, Sacramento, Pasadena, Long Beach, Bakersfield, San José, Alhambra, and Santa Monica. In some of these cities the president of the council has the title of “mayor," and in others the office has been merged into that of city manager.

3. San Diego has given up the commission plan of government for the modified city manager plan above referred to. Long Beach, Santa Monica, and Napa have changed to the commission plan. In Long Beach and Santa Monica each commissioner is elected to a definite department. This differs from the method followed in other cities, where the commissioners are assigned to their respective departments after their installation into office.

4. The charters of Long Beach, Napa, Alhambra, and San José all provide that vacancies created by recall elections shall be filled by appointment in the same manner as other vacancies are filled. A recall election in any of these cities will thus be concerned with the one proposition of declaring the office or offices in question vacant. The distracting question of electing some one to fill the proposed vacancy will not enter into the election.

5. Santa Monica and Napa have adopted the preferential method of voting (see page 34).

Page 144. — In cities having city managers the police, fire, and health departments, and the department of public works, are placed under his control.

Pages 167 and 213, footnotes. — Many cities have followed the example of Palo Alto and Willits in placing the control of their public utilities in the hands of the state railroad commission. Section 23, article XII, of the constitution was again amended in 1914 conferring upon the legislature power to give the railroad commission control over public utilities within city limits. A law passed in 1915 permits cities to determine whether they will retain such power or turn it over to the railroad commission.

Page 177. The power of the people of the state at large to participate in the making of laws by means of the initiative and the referendum should be mentioned here. An initiative petition is signed by at least either five or eight per cent of the vote for governor at the last election, and is filed with the secretary of state. A measure supported by a five per cent petition is submitted by him to the legislature at its next session, and if not passed without amendment within forty days it must be placed on the ballot at the next general election. The legislature may, however, propose a substitute law to be placed on the same ballot. An eight per cent petition may propose either a law or a constitutional amendment which must be placed on the ballot at the next general election unless the governor calls a special election at an earlier date.

A five per cent petition may force a referendum on any law passed by the legislature if filed with the secretary of state within ninety days following the adjournment of the legislature. If such a petition is filed, the law in question is suspended from going into effect before it is submitted to the voters. It must be placed on the ballot at the next general election unless the governor calls a special election at an earlier date to consider it. See constitution, article IV, section 1. Extensive use is made of the initiative and the referendum at every election.

Page 180. An important duty of the legislative counsel bureau is to assist in the preparation of any initiative measure at any time on the request of twenty-five voters.

Page 189. A state pardon board has been established whose advice the governor may ask when requests for pardons are presented to him. This board consists of the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, and the wardens of the two state prisons.

[ocr errors]

Page 191.

The poll tax was abolished in 1914. Page 193. Automobile, and other motor vehicle licenses have become an important source of income. In the year ending June 30, 1914, the state received from this source about a million and a quarter dollars.

Page 197. - In case a state tax on general property should be necessary, as provided for in subdivision (e) of section 14, article XIII, of the constitution, such a tax would be imposed by the state board of equalization.

Page 204. The legislature of 1915 created a state purchasing. department under a "state purchasing agent," appointed by the governor, to serve during the governor's pleasure, at a salary of $4000 a year. He may appoint an assistant purchasing agent, a testing engineer, and other necessary help, on the approval of the state board of control. The department is to establish necessary warehouses at convenient places throughout the state. It is the duty of the department upon the approval of the state board of control to contract for and purchase, or direct and supervise the purchase of, all supplies of whatever nature necessary for the proper transaction of the business of each and every state department, commission, board, institution, or official.” The state university is, however, exempt from this provision, and the board of control is given authority to make such other exemptions as it may deem wise.

Page 207. — The salary of each member of the state board of control has been changed to $5000.

Page 221. — The salary of the building and loan commissioner has been changed to $3600.

Page 225. The legislature of 1915 proposed an additional state bond issue of $15,000,000 for the benefit of the state highway system. This is to be voted on at the regular November election in 1916.

The legislature of 1915 created a new department known as the motor vehicle department to take over from the engineering department the work of registering and licensing all automobiles and other motor vehicles. At the head of the department is a superintendent appointed by the governor, to serve during the governor's pleasure, at a salary of $3000 a year. He appoints a chief clerk and a cashier, and may appoint other assistants with the approval of the

« PreviousContinue »