Facing term limits for the first time since being elected to the County Board of Supervisors in 1980, Michael D. Antonovich proposed a supplemental motion to Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting calling for a special election on November 6 that would void the present term limits and allow him to possibly extend his role.
Antonovich said that even if the amendment to the County Charter were passed that wouldn’t mean he, or Supervisor Gloria Molina and Zev Yarovslavsky (who are facing imminent term limits) would necessarily run again.
“No one on this board knows what they’re going to do four years from now. Two years from now. You may decide to run for, if this would pass, you may want to run for Supervisor again. You may not want to. Nobody knows what’s in the cards,” said Antonovich.
On the other hand, he made a case for why people would want to retain them citing a Los Angeles Daily News article which touted the board’s reform of LACERA, the county’s pension board.
“This experience is very valuable especially during this crisis that we are now in economically. So, that’s all we’re talking about. Let the voters decide. It’s that plain and simple,” said Antonovich.
Los Angeles County voters would seem to have already made their decision in 2002 when they passed Measure B by 63 percent thereby setting term limits on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Antonovich would argue the county is facing rougher times that need an experienced hand.
“You look at what is going on around us today with cities that may have to dis-incorporate, cities that may have to merge, cities that may have to consolidate because of the fiscal dilemma they are in and look at how we are moving forward in addressing our problems,” said Antonovich.
Board Chairman Yaroslavsky thought the ballot language might not make it clear what voters would be approving:
PROPOSED CHARTER AMENDMENT. TERM LIMITS: BOARD OF SUPERVISORS. Shall the County Charter be amended to change the term limits for any person elected to the office of the Board of Supervisors to five consecutive terms beginning on or after December 2002; except that, such limitation shall not apply to any unexpired term following a vacancy if the remainder of that term is less than one-half of the full term?
Antonovich argued that the ballot offered full disclosure in the pro and con ballot statements that are part of the sample ballot. Yarovslavsky didn’t believe that was good enough.
“I don’t count on people to read, every voter to read every ballot argument and every analysis that’s contained in the ballot book, the sample ballot book. I think we all know the only thing we can be sure, assuming that we can be sure, is that people will read what’s on the ballot when they read the ballot title and summary. That’s why it’s so critical. That’s why it’s so important,” said Yaroslavsky.
He suggested the ballot would be more clear if revised in the form of a question, as such:
“Should the County Charter be amended to extend the limit on any person, etc., etc.?” asked Yaroslavsky.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas thought the entire matter needed more discussion.
“I respectfully suggest the gravity of the matter warrants further deliberations and perhaps a continuance is in order,” said Ridley-Thomas.
Yaroslavsky agreed that Measure R had a month’s worth of discussion. Antonovich disagreed that the issues were similar.
Yaroslavsky: Mr. Antonovich, you’re the one who wanted Measure R taken on a road show all over the county to have public hearings and where’s the public hearings on this?
Antonovich: We’re not having a tax on people…
Zev: No, it’s worse. We’re levying ourselves on the people.
There were no objections to a one-week continuance on the term limits issue.
Antonovich would term out in 2014.