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Yaroslavsky: Extension of term limits makes mockery of Board of Supervisors

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A plan to extend term limits for Los Angeles County supervisors resulted in an argument today at the Hall of Administration, with one elected official arguing that the proposal makes a mockery of his colleagues.

Supervisor Mike Antonovich submitted a motion Friday evening that asks for a charter amendment to extend term limits from three, four-year terms to five. Those existing term limits were approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2002 and were not retroactive, which means most supervisors, like Antonovich, have spent more than three terms in office.

A vote on whether to place the charter amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot was delayed for one week. If three supervisors agree to place it on the ballot, it would take a majority vote of the electorate to pass. 

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky criticized proposed ballot language that suggests voters would somehow be limiting the time supervisors spend in office.

“I think there’s something disingenuous about us putting a measure on the ballot that would extend our terms,” Yaroslavsky said. “I just think this makes a mockery of us.” 

In somewhat of a twist, Supervisor Don Knabe said that asking voters to extend term limits is like asking voters to extend Measure R, a transportation tax backed by Yaroslavsky. 

“I just think the same arguments apply for the extension of Measure R, four years into a 30-year agreement with the voters of Los Angeles County,” Knabe said.

For his part, Antonovich, who was elected in 1980, said extending term limits would provide Los Angeles County with stability at a time when other California municipalities are declaring bankruptcy. The county CEO agreed. 

“I’ve spoken to the strength of the county that’s centered on the tenure of our board, having an experienced board that most importantly lives with the consequences of its action,” said Bill Fujioka. 

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