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West Hollywood Citizens File Term Limits Measure

Group asks the City Council to place initiative for city council term limits on the March 2013 ballot.

The following is a press release from Scott Schmidt.

A group of three West Hollywood residents filed paperwork at City Hall to place an initiative measure on the

Initiative proponents Elyse Eisenberg, Sheila Lightfoot and Scott Schmidt are asking the City Council to place a simple question on the ballot during the next municipal election:

“Shall an ordinance be adopted providing that no person shall serve more than a total of three (3) terms as a member of the West Hollywood City Council, whether served consecutively or non-consecutively, with any portion of a term, whether elected or appointed, counting as a full term?”

“We are asking the City Council to let the voters have a say on term limits,” said proponent Scott Schmidt. “Since the voters of West Hollywood last considered a more restrictive version of term limits in 1997, LA City, LA County and the State of California have all come to agree that twelve years is enough time to accomplish one’s goals in public office—and that is what we are asking for in West Hollywood.”

“While all of the West Hollywood Council members have done many good things for the city during their tenure, these should not be lifetime positions,” said neighborhood advocate Elyse Eisenberg.  “The direction and values of the city have strayed dramatically from its core values when first established in 1984. It is time for fresh faces and new visions which support the existing residents and local businesses.”

Initiative proponent Sheila Lightfoot added, “West Hollywood has so many creative, intelligent and engaged residents. We need term limits to give of them a chance to represent their friends, neighbors and local businesses over the monied interests.”

Schmidt concluded, “If the City Council refuses to put the question on the ballot, then the citizens will have the opportunity to sign a petition to put it on the ballot themselves.”

For more information on Term Limits for West Hollywood, please visit www.wehotermlimits.com.

Stephanie August 11, 2012 at 12:54 AM
My fellow citizens and avid Patch followers: This is an important issue we can all get behind. Whether or not you believe in term limits this is an opportunity for the citizens to VOTE on the issue. So, if you are against term limits you will be able to vote "NO". If you believe term limits will help bring about much-needed change in our community vote "YES". If term limits work for the Presidency of the United States, it should work for 34,000 people. Let's all get informed on this topic and not have someone else make our decisions for us. www.wehotermlimits.com.
Manny August 11, 2012 at 01:44 AM
The comparison to the President of the United States and a West Hollywood council member is ludicrous....Actually, maybe not so much, but rather a good argument AGAINST council member term limits. The council will never argree to put this on the ballot.
Cathy August 11, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Exactly Stephanie....I mean really! Term limits are not a death sentance. Let the voters vote, let the people decide. Let's put it on the ballot....period!
scott ferguson August 11, 2012 at 04:53 AM
I commend in advance the city council for its likely decision not to put this on the ballot. And the idea that an idea that someone thinks is wrong should be on the ballot is absurd. How many of you have ever signed a petition for a referendum on something you disagreed with? Hardly anyone would ever do it. If it gets enough signatures to do it, then fine - that's the law, that's year right. But it's pathetic that backers would ask opponents to wish them well.
scott ferguson August 11, 2012 at 05:48 AM
To give an example - back in 2008 if someone asked you to sign a petition to place on the ballot an amendment to outlaw gay marriage (the status quo in effect law, same as no term limits), and you said, no, I favor gay marriage rights - if the petition gatherer had said, that's OK, please sign anyway, this is something the people should vote on... How would you have react? Term limits in WeHo is of course not the same as gay marriage rights. But for someone like me who thinks term limits are anti-democratic, I have a similar revulsion for the thought that I should be happy that this should be voted on.
Manny August 11, 2012 at 05:49 AM
Unfortunately people do sign petitions on something they disagree with. All those folks that signed the Billboard Act while exiting the Pavillions where mislead about what they were signing. But fortunately when it came on the ballot it was voted down by a huge margin. So in the end the previous commentator has a point, "let the voters vote, let the people decide" That's exactly why we DON'T need term limits.
Manny August 11, 2012 at 06:53 AM
I agree with Ferguson, why would I want to put something on the ballot that I don't agree with? The first commentator's premise that "if you are against term limits you will be able to vote NO" is as preposterous as comparing the President of the United States to a WeHo council member.
me August 11, 2012 at 11:39 AM
where do i sign to put it on the ballot????....can't wait
Sheila Lightfoot August 11, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Go to http://www.wehotermlimits.com/ and sign up for the mailing list. As soon as the City completes its process and the official petition is authorized for circulation, you'll be notified of all the places you'll be able to go to sign it. As for the argument that “only” elections are democracy, one fact hasn't been discussed. Our elections don’t have candidates running in a one-on-one contest for the voters to choose between them. We have multiple incumbents and non-incumbents running for either 2 or 3 seats. In our last election, Non-incumbents got 54% of the votes (8967) and the Incumbents only got 46% of the vote (7584). That’s a considerable margin of votes “for” the challengers over the incumbents. John D’Amico beat all 3 incumbents and Steve Martin bested Lindsey Horvath and only trailed Heilman by 306 votes. Of course, we can only wonder what the outcome would be if Steve Martin ran against John Heilman one-on-one. Term Limits will, at least, give voters a chance… without their votes being split up, to vote one way or the other… either “for” or “against” unlimited incumbency. But, of course, you have the right to decide it shouldn’t go before the voters – that’s the way it works. However, when you speak of blocking a vote, let me remind you that’s become the go-to republican strategy of filibuster - to block a majority vote on every item of Obama’s and the democrats’ agenda. Just food for thought, my friends.
scott ferguson August 11, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Sheila The counterargument of course is that term limits won't change that the candidates with the most votes, irrespective of what their "side" is, will win, and usually with fewer than 50% apportioned. And what the Senate Repubs have done with the filibuster has in my opinion nothing to do with this. They are preventing a majority vote from prevailing. If (as I guess is unlikely) manage to get this on the ballot, if you get a majority, you win. You won't need 60%, which is what is needed in the Senate. And, of course, this will have zero impact until 2025 at the earliest. I don't know them, but my guess is that Heilman and Land and Prang and Duran will be thrilled if their opponents spend the next year spending their time and efforts and money over this rather than coming up with a couple clearly qualified candidates with real experience who won't divide the field and make the effort to reach out to the majority of the city that is generally happy about our government. I don't get why you are focusing on this - it seems to me to be politically inept, which is one reason over the past few elections I usually reject the opponents.
scott ferguson August 11, 2012 at 07:02 PM
The other thing I question in your thoughtful post is your assumption that all the votes for all the other non-incumbent candidates last time would have gone to other similars one in the absence of some of them. That's not the way voting works. My guess is the majority might have, but significant numbers would also have gone to Heilman and Land, boosting their totals. It's one of the most common fallacies in reporting about elections that people can assume how voters would have gone in different circumstances. (For example - Republicans to this day claim that Ross Perot cost Bush the election in 1992, whereas exhaustive studies, including exit poll surveys, show that his voters would have split right down the middle between Clinton and Bush).
George Martin August 13, 2012 at 05:16 PM
I have a hard time getting too excited about what's going to happen in 2025. But I'll admit I have a perverse desire to see this petition come before the Council, if only for the spectacle of their voting it down with the usual disingenuous platitudes. (We have term limits blah blah...) Could this become the second strike against the Council after the bad taste left by the Horvath coronation, which was probably a significant—if not the only—reason D'Amico could win as the reform "new blood" candidate? If so, as the Council continues to reveal itself as blatantly self-serving, maybe then there will be enough support among the citizens for council districts. This is what I would prefer to term limits. And it would solve the incumbent/non-incumbent vote ratio problem that Sheila and Scott seem to agree (is that a blue moon I see? Is Hades cold?) on.

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