The returns aren't even in yet, but Los Angeles city officials already are reviewing how long the new 5th District City Council member will be allowed to serve.
The district's voters today will choose either Michael Feuer or Barbara Yaroslavsky to serve out the unfinished term of Yaroslavsky's husband, Zev, who resigned to join the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Questions about the matter arise because the city's term-limit regulations bar officeholders from serving more than two terms. A full term is four years. But a partial term could be counted either way--as a full term if more than half of it is served by the replacement, but as no term at all if less than half is served.
The halfway mark of Zev Yaroslavsky's unexpired council term is July 1.
If the winning candidate takes office before July 1, he or she would be permitted a total of six years, assuming a successful reelection bid in 1997. However, if the term begins after July 1, a total of 10 years would be allowed.
Deputy City Atty. Tony Alperin, who is reviewing the matter, could not be reached for comment Monday.
According to a spokeswoman for Council President John Ferraro, the operative question is: When does the term begin? Is it when the officeholder is sworn in, which could be postponed until as late as July 2? Or is it when the results of the election are certified by the city clerk, which must occur by June 20?