Jul 29, 2014

Supervisor Calls Term Limits Increase "Disingenuous;" Vote Delayed

The Board of Supervisors delayed action on authorizing a ballot measure that would raise the number of terms a supervisor could serve from three terms to five.

Supervisor Calls Term Limits Increase "Disingenuous;" Vote Delayed

A motion at the Board of Supervisors meeting to introduce a ballot measure that would increase the number of four-year terms a supervisor can serve from three to five was called "disingenuous" by County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky at Tuesday's meeting.

Following discussion of the motion, the board agreed to table the motion for a week and take up the discussion then.

The motion had been introduced by County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who represents much of the San Gabriel Valley, including unincorporated Altadena, La Crescenta, and unincorporated parts of Arcadia and Monrovia. Antonovich is termed out in 2016 under current rules.

Yaraslavsky denounced the measure as misleading, as the language proposed in the measure says it would "limit" supervisors to five terms and makes no mention of the existing law that limits supervisors to three.  He suggested that people would believe they were introducing terms limits to the board rather than increasing the number of terms they can serve.

"We should not mislead the public by the way we word the ballot measure," Yaroslavsky said. He introduced a motion at the meeting that would direct county counsel to change the language to make it clear the measure would increase the number of terms a supervisor can serve.

Antonovich countered the charge that the language was misleading by noting the ballot analysis sent to voters would mention the existing three term limit law.  

"It’s not denying the public to not know what they are voting on," Antonovich said.

Yaroslavsky also criticized Antonovich for posting the motion in a supplemental agenda on Friday afternoon after the regular agenda was posted for the public to see - that meant that the motion did not appear in the regular agenda at all, nor in the regular email sent out to reporters on Fridays before Board meetings.

After discussion of the issue, the Board agreed to delay the motion for a week so people would have a chance to discuss it before it was voted on.

Voters introduced term limits for the Board of Supervisors for the first time in 2002; previously there were no limits.

The 2002 measure allowed all incumbent Board members to run for three more terms and for all new candidates to be limited to three terms.

Under the laws set up by that measure Antonovich would be termed out of office in 2016, as would Supervisor Don Knabe. Supervisors Gloria Molina and Yaroslavsky will be termed out in 2014.

The new measure would allow for all four to serve for two more four-year terms. 

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