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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.

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. 

Bob Musselman July 24, 2012 at 08:20 PM
The ballot itself should be clear that the vote is for an "extension" of term limits. Terms limits passed in 2002 by a 63% majority limits service to three, 4-year terms (12 years) which I think is reasonable. LA County Supervisor positions should not turn into careers, which could occur since no modern-day incumbent has ever lost an election. While Supervisor Antonovich has done a remarkable job in office, he has served since 1980 (term limits were not retroactive) and will term out in 2016--a full 36 years in office. Supervisor Antonovich would like to extend his tenure to a potential 44 years, breaking Kenneth Hahn's record of 38 years. With due respect to all the supervisors, 12 years is enough, and 44 years is ridiculous.
Justdownthestreet July 25, 2012 at 12:52 AM
As a resident of Altadena, I am thankful he turned it into a career. Our town is the best its ever been and keeps getting better. I hope the Woodbury median is finished before he terms.
Bob Musselman July 25, 2012 at 01:34 AM
You could be right, but supervisors have so much independent spending authority they can influence votes forever. They become undefeatable.
Pat July 25, 2012 at 06:09 AM
I have been very disappointed in Supervisor Antonovich recently, and this latest act of his is as self-serving as can be. His reign needs to end. He should be ashamed of himself.
Dan Crandell August 01, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I tried to contact Antonovich hoping for some clarity on his statement "it's not denying the public TO NOT know what they are voting on". I have not located any video so as to see and watch those exact words come out of his mouth. It's possibly a misquote. Antonovich told me to call his aid for his answer to my question. I have reached understanding on his statement and will stick with it. The issue is off the table for now but I would sure appreciate others conclusions.

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