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Term Limits Group Is Busy Collecting Signatures

Volunteers will be out this weekend gathering signatures on a petition to get a term limits initiative placed on March 2013 ballot.

Expect to see the Weho Term Limits folks all over town this weekend gathering signatures for a .

Volunteers will be out in force in at places like Plummer Park, Gelson’s, Pavilions, 24-Hour Fitness, Trader Joe’s, Basix and the Starbucks in Boystown.

They have until Sept. 25 to collect just over 2,300 signatures from West Hollywood registered voters. The group started collecting signatures last weekend, but intend to amp up their efforts this weekend.

The term limits they are calling to be put before the voters are three four-year terms for City Council members, served either consecutively or scattered, for a maximum of 12 years.

Since state law prohibits terms limits from being retroactive, all of the current City Council members would be allowed another 12 years.

Of the current City Council members, John Heilman has served for 28 years, Abbe Land has served for 21, Jeff Prang has served for 15 and John Duran has served for 11. The new kid on the Council, John D’Amico, has served for one year.

Chloe Ross September 02, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Scott you are certainly the master of instant repartee and woeful lack of wit. IN re: "Comments like you made are beneath you". I am really sick of you deciding what is and isn't beneath me. Okay? I may even be older than you and in such a case I find it disrespectful. In re: "You and I are very similar - passionate, intelligent AND repetitive." You do not know anything about me aside from what you have read. This does not create a foundation for comparison. I have known myself all my life and am quite familiar with who I am and how I became the person I became. You do not. Repetitive? When the subject is the same - the answers do get repetitive. In re: Strom Thurmond. Clearly you do not get the joke. I don't care. In re: Disparaging? How? Without insulting you personally - and I do not mean to do anything of the sort. BUT, comments you make are sort of like a persistent rash for which there is no treatment. I would meet you anywhere in public to chat. I don't see it happening - but I am game.
scott ferguson September 02, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Chloe - your commenting to those who disagree with you: saying that rather than having ideas to express, they have tiring and overweaning opinions to reiterare Me - I compliment you and consider you a worthy poster Yet you find offense, and insult me. Now you add "persistent rash" to your nastiness. Why not counter my often fact-based opinions? One of the reasons I repeat things is people are your side ignore them, and some of you (including you way too often) resort to nasty responses instead. As for meeting - I might be open to it, but to be honest after your disregarding my wishes about putting my name in the threads, I have reason to be wary about you, though I am not going to let that be the deciding factor.
eyes open September 02, 2012 at 09:30 PM
I propose a different, two-part solution to the problem of long-serving corrupt politicians on West Hollywood city council: Council districts and an increase in the number of council seats from five to nine. Districts would require that council members be responsible, and responsive, to his/her constituents. The increase will allow for differing viewpoints and less control to be concentrated in one person (presumably). Additional changes would need to be made at city hall with regards to pay and a reduction in the overall number of staff. Obviously, we wouldn't want nine council member deputies each being paid $160,000 a year (plus thousands of dollars in perks).
scott ferguson September 02, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Eyes open - I have previously proposed districts as the best solution to promoting more responsiveness. I'd counter with 7 districts, plus 2 at large (this is a common practice in modern cities). I know this proposal is not favored by the current council - those I've talked to oppose it. Someone previously suggested this could be rigged. In a city of our size, odd boundaries already and most importantly nearly everyone being of the same party, it would be impossible to do so. It is the best solution. I'd like the council to consider it, but I'd be opposed of a referendum on principle.
Ali September 02, 2012 at 09:39 PM
My god people, such rancor back and forth. All the petitions are for is to put the item on the ballot. You can vote it up or down. No reason to get so testy with each other. That doesn't serve any purpose.
Chloe Ross September 02, 2012 at 09:41 PM
@Ali - I am in agreement 100% Thank you
Chloe Ross September 02, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Hypothetically - what threat do you imagine I could possibly pose to you and why would I even consider such a thing?
scott ferguson September 02, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Ali I despise the rancor. But it is obvious that a lot of pro-term limits people do not want to hear opposing opinions. Please recognize where the rancor comes from. And again, saying "all the petitions are for is putting something on the ballot" applies to any referendum idea, from the relatively minor (like WeHo term limits) to the venal (Prop 8 and other horrible ideas). Opposing what one thinks is a bad idea from being on the ballot is something every last one of you would agree with if it was an ideally that was opposite your basic beliefs, as term limits are for me.
George Martin September 03, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Just to clarify, Scott. Your understanding is that the current council opposes council districts. But you'd like the council to consider it. That sounds doomed to me. So since you're in favor of districts, would you oppose a referendum supporting them? Not attempting to be argumentative, just sincerely confused.
scott ferguson September 03, 2012 at 07:45 PM
George This response may appear above your question because of the way this site works. Thanks for the reasonable question. I first and foremost favor our system of representative democracy, as was initially set up by the founding fathers. That means our democracy is indirect - we choose who decides for us rather than make the direct decisions ourselves. The counter to this is the referendum system. History has shown, and California is the best example in the world, that the referendum system wreaks havoc on government. It allows for contradictory, illogical laws. It hamstrings the legislature. It enables those with money (usually wealthy, often out of state) business interests to buy a vote based on deceptive ads. It has made California ungovernable. If would prefer candidates for the council to run on this issue, and if elected then enact it. I would not support a referendum for this because my disdain for referenda and the damage they do would trump my support of the idea. One of the lesser reasons I oppose the term limit proposal is that it could encourage others to make West Hollywood a more frequent referendum place. That would almost certainly lead to more bad than good votes, consistent with what happens elsewhere. Yours was a reasonable question. Thanks for giving me a chance to explain. I am a liberal ideological, but conservative structurally - I fear tampering with the system will, as it usually does, bring unanticipated bad results.
Gal Friday September 05, 2012 at 11:35 PM
RE: "I repeat - your argument is exactly the same one who asked for signatures to put Prop 8 on the ballot would have made." It sounds like you're saying Civil Rights should not be put to a popular vote. But what has that to do with term limits?
Chloe Ross September 06, 2012 at 12:11 AM
@Galfriday or girl friday: The Prop 8 issue was about money, marriage and Mormons and out of state money funding it. A prop like Prop 8 has a huge impact in every city, county and part of the state. Term limits - do you want to vote on them or not - impacts 35K people - the petition only asks if you think it should go on the ballot and if it fails then it fails. If it gains acceptance and is voted in - assuming it is on the ballot- it won't go into effect for quite a few years. I hardly think love of CC members falls into the same category as poeple who love each other wanting to be married. And having EQUAL rights. If you do. Mazel tov. I don't and the people who are trying to get this ref on the ballot are not members of a church and not just any church - a very judgmental and anti-gay church. And it is no secret they did it. So no - I don't see them exactly as you do. You oppose terms limits. No problem.
Manny September 06, 2012 at 12:30 AM
City council members also don't fall into the same category as President of the United States. No I don't support term limits....No I won't sign the petition.
Chloe Ross September 06, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Manny - have people been bothering you. That is so terrible. But I think we do agree on one thing - City Council members - the ones we have are not Barack Obama or have any fear of being mistaken for presidential material any time soon.
scott ferguson September 06, 2012 at 01:39 AM
To clarify the initial points. 1) Prop 8 was raised to show how silly it is to say "sign the petition - it doesn't mean you support term limits - just that you want people to decide." Exactly the same argument could have been raised by people trying to get Prop 8 on the ballot. The issues are of course different, but the argument otherwise is 100% the same thing. 2) Referenda have greatly damaged the process of representative democracy in California, but so far we in WeHo have managed to not be afflicted by them. I fear that progressives behind this initiative don't recognize the potential damage they could be starting for this great city if this becomes a common practice. I don't want out government to be dominated by term limits and referenda like Sacramento has. 3) I've gone back and researched much more of the analysis of the impact of term limits on gov't in the US. Much of it provides strong evidence of how negative they have been. But even those who argue for them do so far more strenuously for executive offices - governor, mayor - than legislative, where power of course is divided among multiple people. If (and my guess is that the threshold of signatures, particularly after the likely many non-WeHo residents names on them are thrown out, a real problem since nearly all sites they are being collected are full of non-WeHoans) there will be a chance to educate the voters further, and I look forward to taking part in that beyond this very narrow forum.
Manny September 06, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Chloe, watch out!....things are going over your head....duck!
MarkD September 06, 2012 at 04:38 AM
I think that lumping all five individuals together and painting them as a single reprehensible thing is shallow thinking and wrong. Two of them I'd be happy to toss out tomorrow, but voters decided (just barely) to keep them in last time (in part, due to their clever machinations to appoint a cannon fodder member who would run with them). One councilmember seems to go back and forth between bad behavior and good, though currently he seems to be doing OK. I do wish he'd depart, though, to seek higher office since its clearly what he keeps angling to do. And two councilmembers who seem to be doing a good job under a lot of fire (though one tends to let his emotions get the best of him from time to time). Thing is, I didn't vote for the two-headed Heilland beast, but I'm not interesting in changing the rules so I can get my own way.
David Bonfiglio September 06, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Except the gang of 5 has rigged the system with a revolving door policy that makes it nearly impossible for them to be challenged effectively. If the right had pulled that kind of bs people would be freaking of. If the elected officials want to play fast and loose with democracy then the electorate has a responsibility to respond, if enough of the electorate disagrees, then the bill it will be defeated.
scott ferguson September 06, 2012 at 06:25 PM
David Please cite evidence of how the incumbants have rigged the system. Have they knocked legitimate opponents off the ballot? Have they quietly backed other candidates to divide the opposition? Have they prevented voting blocs from being able to cast ballots? That's a pretty serious charge. It demands proof if it is going to be made. Until any is offered, I see no reason to think the only thing they did "wrong" is to win.
MarkD September 06, 2012 at 06:34 PM
In today's political climate, it is, apparently, only necessary to assert a claim. There is not need to back it up with citation or fact. Why should David let fact-checkers control his posts?
MarkD September 06, 2012 at 06:39 PM
"the gang of 5 has rigged the system" Um, John D'Amico didn't start serving until just over a year ago, and already he has "rigged the system"? And with a "revolving door policy" no less. (Revolving door policy? What does that even mean? What do you even think it means?) I say that if Mr. D'Amico can do all that in just a year, then he's a pretty effective and efficient worker and clearly deserves his seat.
Chloe Ross September 06, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Well - if lies are good enough for the GOP... I don't see how the incumbents could rig a system without voter suppression and a myriad of other illegal acts. The thing here David - you can call them, IYHO, filthy cows and that's an opinion but to accuse actionable misdeeds opens you to libel and and all the rest. You better ante up your facts - because the absolute truth is the only defense to libel and slander. Can you produce that?
scott ferguson September 06, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Well said Chloe. I have no doubt that there are legitimate concerns about our city, and that alternatives to the current members (chosen freely, without rigging the system - which is what term limits does) should be considered and perhaps win. But it is the demonization and distortions from the opponents that lose them votes. In the last election, three examples: 1) I got an unsourced flyer that compared John Heilman to Romania's Nicolai Caecescu and North Korea's Kim Il Sung. That was beyond the pale of what even Karl Rove would try. 2) I got one from the D'Amico campaign (clearly target to gay voters) claiming that Heilman, Land and Horvath were destroying the gay legacy of the city. 3) Then another against Lindsay Horvath accusing her of being a Republican supporter - while she was in high school. Seriously, this sort of stuff insults voters' intelligence, and leads them to think that desperation moves like these were needed to sway people. None of our council members is perfect, they all need to be held accountable. But saying things like they rig elections hurts, rather than helps, opponents.
Chloe Ross September 06, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Flyers like that scream desperation. Desperate people lie to get where they want to go and often make it through. Seeing through lies is something we all need to do. I find that people who do not tell lies usually can spot one fast. Opinion is one thing - but unfounded attacks that are simply wrong usually bite the liar in the butt. Fact checking can be educational and fun. Everyone can do it and it's very simple. Google.
MarkD September 06, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Scott - 1) I will give you 2) This is a matter of perception, and I believe there was enough information available to make this charge worth investigating. You can't say D'Amico was wrong to point to something he saw as a valid issue, particularly when he provided addition information about how he came to way of thinking in interviews and public appearances. As I recall, one particular issue was trying to block the long-standing annual Tom of Finland exhibition in Plummer Park because it might offend families. Agree or disagree, but D'Amico had foundation for his opinion. 3) No, the flyer noted that Lindsay Horvath was a member of the College Republicans (not high school), and that she only switched her party affiliation a short time before accepting her appointment to city council. I don't recall the exact time, but it was within about 18 months as I recall. It's a verifiable fact. And you don't have to take my word for it, here is a link to a column Lindsey wrote for her college paper supporting George Bush for president, signed Lindsey Horvath, College Republican. http://www.nd.edu/~observer/11022000/Viewpoint/3.html So where is the distortion there? You may want to check your brass before you start citing "distortions," maybe make sure you're not distorting things yourself. Scott, meet Google. Google is your pre-posting friend.
scott ferguson September 06, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Mark - I appreciate the correction about high school/college. But for the purposes of a campaign issue, it makes no difference. This was 7 years later, a lifetime for someone in her 20s. I stand by my the meaning of my point. It was an insulting to voters. It actually made me switch my vote to her at the last minute.
MarkD September 07, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Scott - What was 7 years? As I stated before, she changed her party registration about 18 months or less before accepting the appointment. That is not a lifetime. That flyer may have changed your vote in her favor, but it did not distort any fact or insult anyone's intelligence, and while it may not matter to you (or to me), I don't think you can say it doesn't matter to a great number of other voters. And that's kind of been the theme of your posts on the term limits issue (to bring us back on topic) -- that other people shouldn't be deciding for you or removing the choice you want from your reach. (Personally, I think Lindsey would have done much better in the polls if she had accepted responsibility a lot more, and distorted facts about herself and dodged reporters a lot less.)
Elyse Eisenberg September 07, 2012 at 11:38 AM
I have just had a chance to catch up on all these comments. I would like to point out a major difference between the Prop 8 petition signature gatherers and our WeHo Term Limits petition signature gatherers. The Prop 8 people were hired and paid by out of state money, big money, with a religious agenda. Our group is entirely local volunteers who are very familiar with City Hall machinations. Big difference. And only a couple of our group have ever been interested in running for office. Although most of us have been active in city politics in other ways.
Manny September 07, 2012 at 02:33 PM
That argument is irrelevant....come on!....The gatherers of this petition might indeed be local but they are still a special interest group with an agenda. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Chloe Ross September 07, 2012 at 04:03 PM
The simple act of circulating a petition is legal. The petition in this case is whether the choice for or against term limits for the WeHo CC should or shouldn't be placed on the ballot in March so residents can make this choice - should they so desire. I am wondering why anyone is so upset. It is legal, it is not the first time it has been done and if it makes it onto the ballot and if it prevails it will not go into effect for about 13 years. Seems as if all is according to Hoyle. If you don't like it at all. Don't sign anything. If you think it is something that should be up for public opinion and choice, sign it, if it makes the ballot and you like the idea - vote for it - if you think it is not a good idea - just say no. What we all need to do however, is register to vote or if registered vote in November. This is an important election. Find out the facts and choose your candidates - but please vote!!! I am not running for any public office, neither do I wish to sit on any committee.

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