Clock Starts Ticking for La Mesa Term Limit Petition

La Mesans can now sign a petition to require seasoned local politicians to leave office after three consecutive terms.

Under the proposition first proposed by the La Mesa Term Limits Committee about a month ago, members of the La Mesa City Council and the mayor would be required to leave office for four years if they are elected to three consecutive terms.

To see the complete proposed proposition and learn where the petition can be signed click here.

For the term limit proposition to qualify to be placed on the November 2014 ballot, petitioners have 180 days from Nov. 14 to collect the necessary 3,300 signatures, or 10 percent of La Mesa’s registered voters, said City Clerk Mary Kennedy.

There is a big difference between philosophies on both sides of the term limit debate, said Craig Maxwell, a member of La Mesa Citizens Oversight Committee and La Mesa Term Limits Committee.

One side says disruption of time in office for incumbent politicians is a good thing and the other side says voters award good politicians with new terms and vote bad representatives out.

”This is an issue that pits term limit advocates against its critics, but in the larger sense, in La Mesa at least, it’s not really about that at all. It’s not about what we [La Mesa Term Limits Committee] think of term limits. It’s about allowing the people of La Mesa to decide whether or not term limits are a good thing,” he said.

The petition is supported primarily by Vice Mayor and Councilmember Kristine Alessio, members of the La Mesa Citizens Oversight Committee and La Mesa Term Limits Committee, a political action group formed last month.

Alessio asked city council to decide whether term limits should be put on the November 2014 ballot at meetings this fall but after a vote was delayed 60 days, term limit backers moved forward with a petition and signature campaign instead. Further delay would have made direct action by citizens to qualify for the November 2014 ballot difficult, Alessio said. 

Attorney and La Mesa-Spring Valley School District board member Bill Baber filed necessary paperwork to form La Mesa Term Limits Committee with City Clerk Mary Kennedy.

Petitioners have 180 days to collect signatures that must then be certified by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

Craig Maxwell December 03, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Politicians, especially those who've served multiple terms, are usually the biggest critics of term limits. Doesn't that say it all?
Komfort December 03, 2013 at 09:26 PM
Things I Learned December 03, 2013 at 10:21 PM
La Mesa Term Limits December 03, 2013 at 10:56 PM
FAQ's about Term Limits: Q10: Critics say, we already have "term limits" in La Mesa, they are called "elections." A: This argument sounds good, but let's look a little deeper. La Mesa lacks all the normal devices which make for fair and inexpensive elections: Primaries, small districts, contribution limits, online disclosure, etc. Currently, every member of this five member council belongs to the same political party. Virtually every election rule in La Mesa favors the incumbents. No elected incumbent has lost an election in La Mesa in 23 years. Term limits is an insurance policy that protects us when the competitive electoral process no longer functions. Q11: Are Term Limits anti-democratic? A: We live in a democracy, and nothing could be more democratic than local term limits passed by local voters. The term limit ordinance must be put in place by a vote of the people, and can only be removed by a vote of the people. Thomas Jefferson, the principle author of our Declaration of a Independence and 3rd President of the United States said: • To prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom from continuing too long in office, it is earnestly recommended that we set an obligation on the holder of that office to go out after a certain period. Like Jefferson, we believe politicians who spend too much time in office stop representing us, and start representing themselves. Only when politicians are periodically forced to return to normal civilian life will they consider the long term effects of the legislation they impose on the rest of us.
yessir December 04, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Nice piece. Too bad after reading the whole thing the actual gem of info was totally glossed. So. ....... If this goes to vote and passes next November, how would this affect El Jeffe? Would he be booted after his term expires or would he potentially have 12 more years that he could be the mayor?
La Mesa Term Limits December 04, 2013 at 01:28 AM
FAQ Questions about Term Limits: Q15: Critics say "this initiative is aimed at Art Madrid". Is that true? A: If approved by the voters, this initiative applies to all Mayor and Council candidates equally. Since the law requires it to apply prospectively, the first terms limited will be those won in November 2014. If Mayor Madrid wins reelection in 2014 (at age 81?) he can serve 3 terms until 2026 (at age 93). He is required to take four years off, but he can run for Mayor again in 2030 (at age 97). So the practical effect on Art Madrid is simple- he can't serve as Mayor between the ages of 93 and 97. We think this is a small sacrifice for a much greater good.
Scott H. Kidwell December 04, 2013 at 10:29 AM
Incumbents enjoy a huge name recognition advantage such that even well qualified challengers have no practical chance to overcome through debate and discussion. It is even common for incumbents to encourage a third candidate to split challenger vote.


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