I've never taken disincorporation seriously, but I'm hardly an expert on what's involved with the process. In Googling around for some information, I came across a few links that might be of interest.
The question of disincorporation must be considered by a city council if petitioned by 20 percent of the city's voters. A majority of those voting in a special election determines the outcome. No city has disincorporated since 1972.
I did read that certain states and counties can deny disincorporation. Whether San Mateo County has that power is something I couldn't find the answer to. In any event, it doesn't look like disincorporation will allow the city to escape its debt by offloading it to the county.
Posted by Steve Sinai