A Beginner’s Guide to Affecting Municipal Laws


Courtesy of the City Clerk’s Office, City of San Diego:

Office of City Clerk - LawsThere are many ways for the people of San Diego to have an impact on the laws which govern our City. The City Clerk’s Office provides an overview of the methods available for you to be involved in the legislative process.

Remember that most City ordinances and resolutions require a simple majority of Council votes–5 out of 9–to be adopted.

Get the ball rolling by calling or writing a letter to your Councilmember, and to the Mayor.

If you want to show you have lots of community support, develop and submit an informal petition, or have others call or send letters. With the backing of five (5) Councilmembers, your idea can become municipal policy.

What can you do to make or change a local law?

  • First, trying to affect the law may make you a lobbyist
  • Use letters, phone calls, and informal petitions
  • Speak at a council meeting (“Public Comment”)
  • Use the internet for “Public Comment”
  • Speak at a committee meeting (“Public Comment”)
  • Suggest a ballot proposal using Council Policy 000-21
  • Use the initiative, charter amendment or referendum process

What else should you know? Read the details of the legislative process at https://www.sandiego.gov/city-clerk/elections/process/difference

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