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Move to extend term limits for county supervisors fails to garner support

City News Service | 7/31/2012, 9:08 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today rejected a proposed November ballot measure that would have asked voters to allow termed-out supervisors to serve eight more years in office.

Supervisor Michael Antonovich had recommended the measure--which would extend legal limits from three four-year terms to five--saying experience was critical to managing the county through difficult times.

"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."

But he needed three votes to put the measure on the November ballot and the board's vote was 2-1. Supervisors Gloria Molina and Mark Ridley-Thomas abstained and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky dissented. Only Supervisor Don Knabe supported Antonovich's proposal.

Yaroslavsky, who has conceded he is "not a fan of term limits," originally objected to the measure because he said it was worded in a way that might lead voters to believe they were imposing new term limits, rather than extending existing ones.

He proposed new language to clarify that the measure would extend term limits and Antonovich agreed to the change.

But then Yaroslavsky said he would only support the measure if Antonovich would agree to specifically exclude four out of five of the sitting supervisors from the term extension.

"Of course not," Antonovich said. He accused Yaroslavsky of changing his position in response to newspaper editorials opposing the measure.

Ridley-Thomas is serving his second term, but the other four members of the board are being termed out.

Antonovich, 72, has been in office for 32 years. He and Knabe will term out in 2016. Molina and Yaroslavsky will term out in 2014.

"It will allow the voters to make the choice,'' Antonovich said of the measure.

But having failed to garner three votes, the measure will not make it to the November ballot.
State senators and Assembly members are limited to 12 years in office.

Orange County supervisors are barred from serving more than two consecutive terms. Los Angeles City Council members can serve a dozen years in three four-year terms.