On Tuesday the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider a ballot measure that would allow voters to extend the supervisors' term limits. It's a proposal that has many of the earmarks of the board's worst work: It's sneaky, misleading and stunningly self-serving.
Start with sneaky: The motion to allow the supervisors to place a measure on the November ballot will be considered by the board Tuesday, but it has received virtually no public comment or discussion. That's because Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who brought the motion, did not include it on the board's regular meeting agenda. Instead, it was added to the supplemental agenda late Friday. Word trickled out over the weekend, but opponents have barely managed to muster a response.
Then misleading: The ballot language that Antonovich is proposing would tell voters that the measure before them would "limit" supervisors to five consecutive terms of office, starting with December 2002. What it does not mention is that the supervisors already are limited to three terms in office, so this measure, far from imposing a new limit, in fact extends an existing one. The supervisors know that term limits are popular; rather than trying to convince voters that term limits are too restrictive, the supervisors would instead merely try to fool them.