UC Law Constitutional Quarterly


Jared Eigerman


There is consensus in planning circles that the "region" is the optimal level for effective land use planning in California. Nevertheless, with very few exceptions, California's system of local government fails to match the regional model. In this Article, Mr. Eigerman argues that it is unwise for lawyers, planners and policy makers to waste time and resources striving for the ideal of a new regional level of government in California. As an alternative, Mr. Eigerman suggests that California's most basic form of local government, the county, is a viable and logical focus for regional planning.

The Article first traces the political realities of California counties as a form of local government. Next, it establishes the legal parameters that constrain California county government. Finally, it attempts to synthesize lessons from California politics and law to suggest a coherent strategy for effective regional planning. Mr. Eigerman concludes that California counties are, in fact, poor relations to their municipal brethren, and that they are not currently vested with adequate power to perform regional planning. However, he argues that because of counties' unique constitutional status in California, both of these shortcomings are easily cured by statute, more easily than the creation of new regional governments has proved.