On November 4, 2014, the voters of Emeryville passed Measure U which established the City of Emeryville as a charter city. The City was originally founded in 1896 as a general law city.
Charter cities, unlike general law cities, are authorized by the State Constitution to govern themselves in matters considered to be municipal affairs. When a city is incorporated as or later becomes a charter city, the electorate essentially adopts a municipal “constitution” or charter that grants and/or limits the city’s powers related to municipal affairs, such as but not limited to, certain taxation authority, local elections, local campaign financing, and contracting. General law cities do not have the authority to establish any powers relating to municipal affairs that are different than what is granted by the laws of the State of California.
The Emeryville City Charter approved by the voters of Emeryville specifically establishes that the City’s new powers over municipal affairs will be limited solely to municipal revenue including taxation and assessment, and a system for a real property transfer tax. These powers have historically been found by the State courts to be municipal affairs. The Emeryville Charter states that in all other respects, the powers of the City shall remain as they were previously and therefore shall be constrained by, subject to, and governed by the general laws of the State of California