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Zev Yaroslavsky criticizes term limits proposal; action postponed

Los Angeles County board delays action on Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich's move to place term limit extension on November ballot.

July 25, 2012|By Jason Song, Los Angeles Times
  • “I just think this makes a mockery of us,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said of the term limits proposal.
“I just think this makes a mockery of us,” Los Angeles County… (Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles…)

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky delivered pointed criticism Tuesday of a move to place a measure on the November ballot that would ask voters to extend term limits that now stand to oust four members of the board.

Yaroslavsky pointed out that the motion, written by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, could undo a law approved by voters a decade ago that limited supervisors to three terms.

"I just think this makes a mockery of us," Yaroslavsky said.

The board ended up postponing the issue for a week.

Four long-serving members of the board, including Antonovich, are barred from running for reelection under the current law. Antonovich's proposal, if approved by voters, could extend the supervisors' term limits by eight years and Antonovich could end up serving 44 years if reelected.

The longest serving supervisor in county history, Kenneth Hahn, was in office for 40 years.

Antonovich has said that the current board is in the best position to guide the county through difficult economic times and that voters should have the right to decide who represents them.

Yaroslavsky, who is termed out in 2014 and considering running for mayor of Los Angeles, also said the ballot measure language as Antonovich proposed was misleading.

The item would "limit" any supervisor to five consecutive terms, which could imply that the measure would impose term limits for the first time, Yaroslavsky said.

"We should not mislead the public," Yaroslavsky said.

Yaroslavsky, who said he opposes term limits in general, introduced a motion that would have clarified that the proposed measure was an extension of term limits.

He also criticized the way the motion was placed on the agenda. Most items are put on the agenda on or before the Thursday previous to the supervisors' usual Tuesday meetings, although a few items are sometimes clarified or added late the Friday before.

The Antonovich motion was added last Friday afternoon, and Yaroslavsky said: "I was quite surprised."

Antonovich defended putting the motion on the agenda late, saying it was "standard procedure."

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