Term limits likely to go to voters

By Edwin Folven, 11/15/2012

Proponents gather enough signatures to qualify for ballot


West Hollywood voters will likely decide whether three terms in office is enough for city council members after the L.A. County Register-Recorder’s office certified Tuesday that proponents had collected enough signatures for a March 5 ballot measure.

“From day one, this initiative has been a David versus Goliath effort,” said Scott Schmidt, a West Hollywood resident and term limits campaign manager. “While we celebrate our volunteers’ success in gathering enough signatures to place term limits on the ballot, there is plenty of hard work ahead to continue this conversation with the voters of West Hollywood and counter the attacks we know will be coming our way.”

West Hollywood city clerk Corey Schaffer said the county certified 2,444 signatures collected from residents registered to vote in West Hollywood, 100 more than was required. He said it is standard procedure for the county clerk’s office to certify 100 signatures beyond the number necessary to ensure there is no margin of error. The proposal will go before the West Hollywood City Council on Monday, and the council can either adopt term limits at that time, vote to place the measure on the ballot or call for a report on the impacts from the West Hollywood City Attorney. West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang said it is likely that the council will put the measure on the ballot.

“We are obligated now to place it on the ballot and let the voters decide,” Prang said. “If that’s what the people want, then that’s what we will do.”

Schmidt said he is still holding out hope that the council will immediately adopt term limits.

“We look forward to the discussion on Monday,” he added. “You never know. Should they choose to put it on the ballot, we look forward to waging a positive campaign.”

West Hollywood term limits proponent Sheila Lightfoot said the time has come to let the voters decide how long council members should serve.

“West Hollywood voters understand that those seats on the city council belong to the people, not to any one individual,” Lightfoot said. “Together, our friends and neighbors stood up for themselves and the opportunity for our city government to be a place where new ideas and new faces will be welcome.”

The proposed measure calls for council members to be allowed to serve three, four-year terms. The current council members could still run for three additional terms, as the measure would not be retroactive. Current councilman John Heilman has served for 28 years, Abbe Land has served for 19 years, Prang has served for 15 years, and John Duran has been in office for 11 years. Councilman John D’Amico was elected in 2011.

Schmidt said the effort leading up to the certification was arduous, but fulfilling. Approximately 3,500 signatures were gathered. Schmidt, Lightfoot and West Hollywood resident Elyse Eisenberg led a team of volunteer signature gatherers, who also registered more than 400 new voters in West Hollywood.




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