The LA County Observer

Observations of a LA County Resident

What is the Board thinking?

Written By: raconte - Jul• 23•12
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In 2002, the voters of Los Angeles County passed Measure B which set term limits on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, by a whopping 63% — a mandate if there ever was one and yet on Tuesday, July 24th the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors are contemplating an ordinance that flies in the face of the term limits that Measure B put in place.

The ordinance is as follows:

  • 16-C. Recommendation as submitted by Supervisor Antonovich: Introduce, waive reading and place on agenda for adoption an ordinance calling for a special election to be held on November 6, 2012, for the purpose of voting upon an amendment to the Los Angeles County Charter which would limit any person elected and qualified for the office of member of the Board of Supervisors to five consecutive terms commencing with a term of office which begins on or after December, 2002. The limitation on terms shall not apply to any unexpired term following a vacancy to which a person is elected or appointed if the remainder of that term is less than one-half of the full term of office. This ordinance also consolidates the special election with the statewide general election to be held the same day. (12-3423)

Motion by Supervisor Antonovich

Ordinance

To fully understand this citizen’s anger, and why every LA County resident should be equally angry, let me remind you that Measure B placed term limits, for the very first time, on our Board of Supervisors.  The passage of Measure B ensured that no member of the Board of Supervisors could serve more than three 4-year consecutive terms.  That’s right no supervisor could serve more than 12 years in one stretch, this was a small blow against the near lock a sitting supervisor had on guaranteed incumbency.

Many may have noticed that the Board has been slowly whittling away at public participation over the past several years.  From meeting twice a week to once a week, then from a full day meeting to a meeting that generally lasts about 4 hours (including all the pomp and pageantry that does little to further the public’s business but does everything to allow the supervisors to hand out numerous and sundry awards, proclamations, certificates and whatnots).  Once a member of the public could speak to any agenda item for up to three minutes that’s right up to three minutes for each item.  Alas not anymore since the Board bundles all items that a member of the public wishes to address into one 3-minute time slot often forcing that same member to speak to an item that might not be heard by the supervisors until much later in the day.  When these cuts of public accessibility by a thousand strokes raised hardly a hue and cry from the media the supervisors felt embolden, no doubt, to try and amend the guts and spirit of Measure B by extending the number of consecutive terms a supervisor can serve from three 4-year terms to five 4-year terms!  So conceivably a supervisor once elected could serve up to twenty years at a stretch.  Under Measure B, Supervisor Antonovich (currently the longest serving supervisor) could serve until 2016, while Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky are termed out in 2014.  However, this new ordinance being considered would conceivably extend those terms until 2024 and 2022 respectfully.

The question is will the citizens and media of LA County let this attempt to thwart their will slide, or will the media shed the light of day on this dastardly deed go unchecked?

Who do the supervisors think they are? The five kings? Only if the public and our media continue to shrug their collective shoulders and yawn whenever the supervisors engage in such shenanigans.

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