CABUTTE-L ArchivesArchiver > CABUTTE > 2003-03 > 1047047888
From: "Sue Silver" <>
Subject: [CAButte] California Legislation - Public Cemetery District Law
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 06:38:08 -0800
The California Senate Local Government Committee has introduced Senate Bill 341 (SB 341) to update and reform Public Cemetery District law (currently Health and Safety Code beginning at section 8890).
Last Fall I served as an advisor to the Working Group which reviewed the present code and made it's recommendations for changes. At that time I asked the group to consider repealing the present section which allows the districts to sell their public cemeteries to private cemetery authorities. Some in the group stated that when the district's cemeteries became filled to capacity, it was not viable for the districts to continue to maintain them since they were no longer self-supporting (generating revenues). They maintain that private cemetery authorities are able to construct mausoleums and columbarium (for cremated remains) where the districts are prohibited from those activities.
My greatest concern is that the vast majority of the cemeteries owned and operated by the public cemetery districts are among California's earliest and most historic cemeteries. In fact, they may be public cemeteries to which the people (public) acquired legal title through operation of law as provided in former Political Code section 3105 (Stats. 1872), now Health and Safety Code section 8126.
It is my opinion that these historic cemeteries are a part of the state's cultural and historical heritage. Within them rest California's earliest citizen's and pioneers. These cemeteries were intended to belong to the people - not to private corporations who have little or no regard for anything but the money that can be earned off such places.
In 1995, an Assembly subcommittee investigated the private cemetery industry in California and reported that there was a crisis throughout the state. This circumstance has not changed since that time. The Cemetery and Funeral Bureau of the Dept. of Consumer Affairs cannot keep up with the present case load of citizen's complaints on cemeteries and has only this year been instructed to begin inspecting the roughly 200 privately operated cemeteries in California. At last count, the state had two inspectors - one for northern and one for southern California.
Neither cities nor counties are authorized to sell their public cemeteries. I do not believe public cemetery district's should be allowed to dispose of the public's property as they have been and will continue to be authorized to under SB 341. The district public cemeteries are supported by tax appropriations. The taxpayers have a right to expect that those tax dollars are not being spent to support a public property that will eventually end up in private ownership. Especially a place as sensitive as an historic place of burial.
I am asking those who agree with this position to send an email to the Senate Local Government Committee asking that Section 9055 (see text below) be dropped from SB 341, in order to preserve the public's interest in these historic cemeteries.
Please address your messages to Senator Tom Torlakson, Chair, and email them to Peter M. Detwiler, the committee's consultant at .
The following is my suggested text for your messages:
"SUBJECT: SB 341 - QUALIFIED Support
Senator Tom Torlakson, Chair
Senate Local Government Committee
Dear Senator Torlakson and Honorable Committee Members:
With the exception of the proposed SECTION 9055 related to authorizing public cemetery district's to sell (convey) their public cemeteries to private ownership, I would support the enactment of SB 341.
A large number of the public cemetery district's currently own and operate many of the state's earliest and most historic community cemeteries. These places of rest should be preserved in public ownership as cultural and historical resources representing California's earliest heritage. The graves of this State's pioneer citizenry should not be sold to private operation.
[Your NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER]"
To view the complete text of SB 341, go to:
It is important that these comments be sent as soon as possible as the Local Government Committee will soon be holding hearings on this bill.
Should you have any questions about this request, please contact me direct at .
Sue Silver, State Coordinator
California Saving Graves
BILL NUMBER: SB 341 INTRODUCED
INTRODUCED BY Committee on Local Government (Senators Torlakson
(Chair), Ackerman, Hollingsworth, Machado, Margett, Perata, and Soto)
FEBRUARY 19, 2003
An act to amend Sections 25210.4a, 53961, and 56036 of the
Government Code, and to add Part 4 (commencing with Section 9000) to Division 8 of, and to repeal Part 4 (commencing with Section 8890) of Division 8 of, the Health and Safety Code, relating to cemeteries.
9055. (a) A district may convey a cemetery owned by the district
to any cemetery authority, pursuant to this section.
(b) The board of trustees of a district that proposes to convey a
cemetery owned by the district to a cemetery authority shall adopt a
resolution of intention that contains:
(1) A description of the cemetery that the district proposes to convey.
(2) The name of the cemetery authority to which the district proposes to convey the cemetery.
(3) The terms and conditions of the proposed conveyance. The terms and conditions shall require that the cemetery authority
maintain the cemetery as a endowment care cemetery pursuant to
Sections 8738 and 8738.1. The terms and conditions shall provide for
(4) A statement of the facts justifying the proposed conveyance.
(5) A declaration that the proposed conveyance is in the public interest and in the best interests of the district.
(c) The board of trustees shall send its resolution of intention
to the board of supervisors of the principal county.
(d) Within 60 days of receiving a resolution of intention adopted
pursuant to subdivision (b), the board of supervisors shall hold a
public hearing on the proposed conveyance. The board of supervisors
shall give notice of its hearing by publishing a notice pursuant to
Section 6061 of the Government Code in at least one newspaper of
general circulation within the jurisdiction of the district at least
10 days before the hearing. The board of supervisors shall post the
public notice in at least three public places within the jurisdiction
of the district, at least 10 days before the hearing. One of the
public places shall be at the cemetery that the district proposes to
convey, and one of the public places shall be at the offices of the
district. In addition, the board of supervisors shall mail the
notice at least 10 days before the hearing to the district, the
cemetery authority, and any other person who has filed written
request for notice with the clerk of the board of supervisors.
(e) At its hearing, the board of supervisors shall receive and
consider any written or oral comments regarding the proposed
conveyance of the cemetery. At the conclusion of the hearing, the
board of supervisors shall make a finding regarding the value of
written protests filed and not withdrawn and take one of the
(1) If the written protests filed and not withdrawn are at least 50 percent of the registered voters of the district or property
owners owning at least 50 percent of the assessed value of the land
within the district, the board of supervisors shall adopt a resolution that terminates the proceedings to convey the cemetery.
(2) If the written protests filed and not withdrawn are less than 50 percent of the registered voters of the district or property
owners owning less than 50 percent of the assessed value of the land
within the district, the board of supervisors may by a four-fifths vote adopt a resolution that concurs in the conveyance of the cemetery to the cemetery authority.
(f) The board of supervisors shall send copies of its resolution
adopted pursuant to subdivision (e) to the district and the cemetery
(g) If the board of supervisors adopts a resolution that concurs
in the proposed conveyance of the cemetery, the board of trustees may order the conveyance of the cemetery to the cemetery authority,
subject to the terms and conditions set by the board of trustees and
concurred in by the board of supervisors.
|[CAButte] California Legislation - Public Cemetery District Law by "Sue Silver" <>|