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Proposal to extend term limits fails at Board of Supervisors

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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today declined to approve a fall ballot measure that would have extended their term limits.

With two abstentions and a dissenting vote, Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s proposal to give supervisors five four-year terms, instead of the current three terms, failed to pass. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky voted against the measure, even after the board accepted his language to clarify that terms would be extended rather than limited. Supervisors Gloria Molina and Mark Ridley-Thomas declined to vote on the issue.

“Term limits have been a wrecking ball in Sacramento,” Antonovich said. “A number of our cities are going under. We don’t know what the future is going to hold. Having the voters have that opportunity to vote for a candidate of their choice is all that this motion does.” 

However, Yaroslavsky objected to the suggestion that other elected leaders would somehow be unable to help the county navigate through economic difficulties.

“I think the notion that we are the only five people in Los Angeles County who are qualified to be stewards of this county going forward is selling the people of Los Angeles County short,” Yaroslavsky said. 

A decade ago, voters agreed to impose term limits on the supervisors. Those limits, however, did not take effect until 2002, which means four of the five current supervisors will serve more than those three terms. Antonovich was first elected in 1980. In 1991, Molina took office, followed by Yaroslavsky in 1994 and Don Knabe in 1996. Ridley-Thomas is the newest member of the board, having been elected in 2008.

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