Conflict Between Two Charter Amendments

Court Found It Neccessary to Determine the Effect of An Irreconcilable Conflict Between Two Charter Amendments Because There Was No Such Conflict: In Apple v. Zemansky (1913) 166 Cal. 83 134 P. 1149 (Apple), our state Supreme Court was required to determine whether there was an irreconcilable conflict between two measures adopted by San Francisco voters. One measure, Amendment No. 7, changed the method of nominating and electing candidates for local offices and, in doing so, readopted the existing two-year terms of various local offices. Another measure, Amendment No. 9, changed the terms of office of various officers to four years. While both measures were adopted, Amendment No. 7 received the higher affirmative vote. The plaintiff, who wished to run for the office of coroner, asserted that Amendment No. 9 conflicted with Amendment No. 7 and could be given no effect. (166 Cal. at pp. 85-88.) In resolving the dispute, Apple noted that Amendment No. 9 contained a provision stating it was amendatory of all other provisions of the charter relating to terms of office, whether preexisting or contained in sections concurrently amended in other respects. ( Apple, supra, 166 Cal. at pp. 87, 90-91.) Apple found no reason to disregard that provision in determining whether a conflict existed, and found the language could not have more clearly expressed that Amendment No. 9 was to be the controlling provision in the charter on the subject of terms of office. (166 Cal. at p. 91.) In light of the circumstances and the language used in Amendment No. 9, there was no possibility of any misunderstanding on the part of the voters. (166 Cal. at pp. 91-92.) Accordingly, Apple found it unnecessary to determine the effect of an irreconcilable conflict between two charter amendments because there was no such conflict. (Id. at p. 90.)