The City Council unanimously approved on Monday a petition to have voters decide if council members should be subject to term limits. The proposed ordinance seeks to establish a three-term maximum.
More than 3,000 people who are registered to vote in West Hollywood signed the petition, according to a report by the city clerk. In order to qualify for the ballot, petitioners need at least 10 percent of the city's 23,438 voters.
"I am not supportive of term limits ... but the signatures were collected, and it deserves to go to the people," Mayor Pro Tempore Abbe Land said.
"We can't make it personal, we can't make it about individuals," said Scott Schmidt, who organized the petition drive. "We've got to give people hope that they can fully participate in the public process here in West Hollywood without being intimidated by someone who will call them up because they attended a fundraiser for someone."
West Hollywood resident Ivy Bottini countered, "We have term limits, it's called an election. ... Term limits is a nasty way to get rid of people that they can't get enough votes to defeat them in an election."
State law prohibits ballot initiatives from applying retroactively. If voters enact the term limits ordinance, newly elected or re-elected council members would begin their first four-year term in 2013.
Four of the five city council members have served for more than a decade: Mayor Jeffrey Prang for 15 years, Councilman John Heilman for 27 years, Mayor Pro Tempore Abbe Land for 20 years and Councilman John Duran for 11 years.
The election for city council and the term limits measure is March 5. Mayor Jeffrey Prang and Councilman John Duran face re-election challenges.