Civics 102 Continuedd Definitions - Ordinances v. Resolutions

Civics 102 Continue - Definitions - Ordinances v. Resolutions


City Council discusses and votes on numerous issues. If you take a look on the online agenda(s), you will see “staff reports” on the various issues. Staff reports show up as PDFs. Some of the reports are pretty cumbersome but you want to know what is being voted on before the vote is actually taken (what is it House Speaker Pelosi said? "We had to vote on it before we read it!")


The meetings are repetitive and I’m convinced that more often than not, various council members do not read the staff reports. The consequence of that is some council members stop paying attention to the dots and the dashes. In other words, some of the council members figure they really don’t have to read the staff reports. But hold on a minute --- does that mean they are not thinking when they vote on something? No, they definitely think before they vote. They think about whether or not an action can “ be “undone” and the legacy of the proposed ordinance or resolution. Keep reading. We’re talking about intentions here.


An esteemed colleague (who is in this group) brought something to my attention today. that I hadn’t really though about it until she mentioned it. She has a mind like a steel trap! She asked me what the difference is between a resolution and an ordinance. That was simple enough. An ordinance is a law! A resolution is little less formal. According to the City Clerks Association of California:


What is the difference between a resolution and ordinance? Legislative action may be taken by either resolution or ordinance. The primary difference is that an ordinance effectuates a local law. A municipal code is comprised of ordinances and serves as a City’s constitution of sorts. A resolution is much less formal and generally addresses administrative and other similar types of matters. By the way, laws are enforceable; typically, resolutions are not.


That brings me to the next question – I wonder how many resolutions the City of Hemet has on the books? Thousands, to be sure. I wonder if some of them can be undone?!


Ordinances govern matters not already covered by state or federal laws such as zoning, safety and building regulations.


We have 2 brand new city council members with no prior political experience (that I'm aware of) although both of these gentlemen have lots of public service in their background (a definite plus or this kind of job). Both have a heart for the community. Both will do something a couple of our current and past council members have not done: both will keep their constituency informed. That is not to say that some of our current council members are not nice people, I know for a fact that at least one of them is (under social circumstances), the other I have no personal experience with. That has very little to do with how they function as council members and the kinds of decisions they make at public expense.


Since our city attorney make so much money, I guess it’s no big deal for him to prepare this multitude of resolutions. Most of you won’t give a rat’s patootie about all this stuff, but in case you’re really interested, I’m including a link that’s worth looking at. Don’t be intimidated by it. It’s only information. It won’t kill you. I’m amazed at some of what goes into running a city government. It’s like a rat’s nest. I’ll take a business any day of the week. Too bad governments can’t be run like businesses. It would be a lot less complicated. Jeez, if the City of Hemet was a business, they'd be bankrupt! Oh! They did try to go into bankruptcy once, remember that?


As an aside I’ve never seen our City Clerk in action, but he is usually pretty responsive when I’ve gone to him with questions and I appreciate it. I’m just in the starting faze of asking questions.


One last thing for you to chew on. Measure U is an ORDINANCE. Guess what, there was a resolution tacked on when people began jumping up and down about how the Measure U money is being used. While Measure U CAN be enforced, the resolution added on just muddies up the water. It's a promise, not a guarantee. Maybe someone from the Measure U Oversight Committee can explain it to me. Maybe Eric Vail can explain it. I’m really curious. We have several Measure U Oversight Committee members in this group and I would honestly be interested in knowing how they feel about this. If any of them would like to respond by personal message, I’m willing to listen. I’m not an antagonist.