The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will take up, for the second time, a proposal that would let county voters consider amending the local term limits rules. The board's action would set a November vote for a measure allowing supervisors to serve a maximum of five terms, rather than the current three, starting from December 2002. This new version of the proposal is slightly more honest than the previous one was; that's a small step forward, though it may not be enough.
The proposal to loosen the limits comes from the most predictable source: the board's longest-serving member, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who was elected in 1980 and who will be forced out in four years unless the rules are rewritten (under his proposal, he could stay in office until 2024). Antonovich quietly placed on the board's supplemental agenda last week a motion that would have called for a vote on whether "to limit any person elected and qualified for the office of member of the Board of Supervisors to five consecutive terms." That wording suggested that the measure was intended to tighten term limits — perhaps even to establish them for the first time. That, of course, is false.