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Supervisors mulling term limit extension

Posted: July 24, 2012 7:10 p.m.
Updated: July 24, 2012 7:10 p.m.


At the suggestion of Fifth District Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, Los Angeles County supervisors are mulling the idea of asking voters if they would like to extend supervisor term limits an extra eight years.

Under a county ordinance that took effect in 2002, supervisors are only allowed to serve three consecutive terms after 2002 — meaning that if Antonovich was re-elected this November, it would be his last term since he was re-elected in 2004 and 2008.

Under Antonovich’s proposal, supervisors would be able to serve five consecutive terms. Each term is four years long.

Antonovich asked the Board of Supervisors to consider extending term limits at Tuesday’s meeting in an addition to the regular agenda after it was released last week, but the board delayed voting on the issue Tuesday after Third District Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky voiced concerns about the wording of the suggested ballot item.

With a number of cities falling victim to bankruptcies and other financial problems, Antonovich said term limits have been detrimental at the state and local level as experienced legislators and council members are termed out.

Antonovich has served on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors since 1980. Four out of the five currently serving supervisors have served multiple terms; Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is the only supervisor serving his first term.

Antonovich had suggested under the advice of county counsel to use the word “change” for term limits, while Yaroslavsky said the word “extend” would be more appropriate because supervisors would be able to serve two extra four-year terms if voters approved the proposal.

Yaroslavsky said members of the public may not know that there is already a three-term limit for supervisors and think that the five-term limit would be shortening supervisors’ terms, when the opposite is true.

“We should not mislead the public by the way we word the ballot measure,” Yaroslavsky said, calling the move to extend term limits “disingenuous.”

Yaroslavsky then suggested an alternative ballot title to make it explicit for voters and ask voters if they wanted to extend term limits from three terms to five terms.

“I don’t count on everyone to read everything contained in the ballot book,” Yaroslavsky said. “The only thing we can be sure people will read is on the ballot.”

Ridley-Thomas asked that the board wait to vote on the issue until next week and the other supervisors agreed.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the issue at its July 31 meeting. Supervisor meetings are held beginning at 9:30 a.m. at 500 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, in the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, board hearing room 381B.




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