Municipal Corporation Charter Cities

The Term "Municipal Corporation" Includes Charter Cities. The trial court found section 10009.6 does not apply to charter cities. It reached this conclusion because "when the Legislature wants to do something to a chartered city, they know how to if they want to. But they don't do that here with either of the Public Utilities Code sections involved." The trial court relied upon statutes which explicitly exempt or include charter cities within their purview, e.g., Government Code sections 16281 and 65700. the reliance is misplaced; a statute need not use explicit language of reference to a charter city. The term "municipal corporation" will do as well. The question is one of statutory construction, specifically, the meaning, i.e., the application, of the term "municipal corporation. "Municipal corporation" is a generic term generally including cities, which in turn includes charter cities. (See, e.g., 45 Cal.Jur.3d (1978) Municipalities, 2, p. 20; In re Pfahler (1906) 150 Cal. 71, 81 88 P. 270; Denman v. Broderick (1896) 111 Cal. 96, 105 43 P. 516; Gov. Code, 34100- 34102.) It is used in that sense in article XI, section 9, which authorizes a "municipal corporation" to operate public works for the furnishing of utilities. (See, e.g., 45 Cal.Jur.3d, supra, 129, pp. 208-209; In re Orosi Public Utility Dist. (1925) 196 Cal. 43, 55 235 P. 1004.) The only ambiguity is whether "municipal corporation" is broader than its application to charter cities. As early as 1867, the California Supreme Court stated that "municipal corporations" in the United States, unlike those in Great Britain, which depend upon prescription for their existence, "find every element of their jurisdiction within their respective charters." (Herzo v. City of San Francisco (1867) 33 Cal. 134, 145.) In 1891, it was felt necessary to state there might be municipal corporations other than cities and towns. (In re Madera Irrigation District (1891) 92 Cal. 296, 319 28 P. 675.) Later courts recognized that in its strict sense, the term "municipal corporations" includes only incorporated cities and towns, but in its ordinary sense the term applies to all corporations exercising governmental functions on the local level. (Division of Labor Law Enforcement v. El Camino Hosp. Dist. (1970) 8 Cal. App. 3d Supp. 30, 34 87 Cal. Rptr. 476; Torres v. Board of Commissioners (1979) 89 Cal. App. 3d 545, 549-550 152 Cal. Rptr. 506.)