Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


The development of the law regarding California local governments and their relationship to the state reflects a dichotomy between views of local governments as vehicles of self-determination on the one hand, and as obstacles to personal freedom on the other. The author argues that Dillon's rule, which provides that a local government is a creature of the legislature and has only those powers specifically conferred upon it by the state, has been specifically abrogated in the California Constitution as to both general law and charter cities. Through an analysis of cases interpreting California Constitution Article 11 Section 7, the author asserts that, in the absence of preemptive state law, both general law cities and charter cities have broad powers, coextensive with that of the state itself, to promote the public welfare and to raise revenue to support their operations.