Local Charter, Local Control

A letter from the City Manager

It has been great to come back to Bellflower and see the progress that’s been made to revitalize our downtown and foster community for our residents.  Bellflower is a wonderful place to live and play. But there’s still work to be done. 

We hear it over and over: Bellflower residents are struggling to afford quality housing that meets their needs.  We can do more.  The state legislature in Sacramento has recognized the need for quality housing that is affordable to residents, but it has implemented policies that make it more difficult to build the housing our residents demand and diminished the voices of our residents in shaping the future of their community.  Simultaneously, while the City has been successful in recent years in supporting and building up the small businesses in Bellflower, the State’s general laws limit the ability of the City to provide the support our small businesses really need.

Currently, Bellflower is a general law city, meaning that the legislature in Sacramento has the independent authority to make laws and other decisions governing the City without input of our residents. To give their residents a stronger voice in local decisions, eight neighboring Gateway cities, including Downey, Cerritos, Long Beach, Whittier, and Signal Hill, have all become charter cities.  The Bellflower City Council has been carefully considering whether Bellflower should do the same.

Charter Cities have more local control to protect the character and quality of life in their communities, which gives them more tools to meet the needs of their residents – like building quality housing that residents can afford and supporting local small businesses. Charter Cities are subject to less bureaucratic red tape, which means they can get projects done more efficiently and at less cost to taxpayers. By adopting a local charter, Bellflower could reduce costs and increase assistance to residents and local small business owners by improving neighborhood revitalization, our Business Assistance Programs, and creating the housing we need that families can afford.

On May 13, 2024, the City Council held the second of two hearings to hear from residents and will soon consider whether to place a Charter measure on the November 2024 ballot. Any potential Measure would let voters decide whether Bellflower should, like many of our surrounding communities, become a Charter City with more local control. Before a final decision is made to place a measure before voters, we want to hear what you think. You can visit www.Bellflower.org/LocalControl to share your thoughts and provide feedback.
 
From Ryan Smoot, 
Bellflower’s new City Manager