OC supervisors reject term extension ballot measure

Supervisor John Moorlach

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 against putting a term limit extension measure on the June ballot. District 2 Supervisor John Moorlach, who terms out in 2014, proposed allowing supervisors to serve three terms instead two. Had the supervisors approved the measure, voters would have had the final say on the proposal in June.

Moorlach, who appears to like is job as supervisor, has supported term limits in the past. However, he has argued in recent email “Updates” to his constituents that Orange County would benefit from allowing supervisors to serve a third term.

“I have been a term limits advocate. It accomplished what it was supposed to do—remove Assembly Speaker Willie Brown from office. But, as Willie Brown himself would say, we now find Sacramento being run by amateurs. Serving as a County Supervisor, I will tell you that this is more of an administrative role than a legislative one. Neighboring counties have either three terms as a maximum (Los Angeles and San Bernardino) or no term limits at all. This puts Orange County at a disadvantage on the state’s playing field.”

“I have not been saying that I do not want to step down after my second term. That’s a cynical view,” Moorlach wrote in his Wednesday, Feb. 29 email to his constituents.  “All I’ve asked for is that the voters get a chance to determine if they want two terms or three.  Even if they voted for three, there is no guarantee that I would be re-elected.  (For the few counties that have term limits, the limit is three terms.)

“The ballot measure would have been an amendment to an existing provision, not a new ordinance.  Therefore, it would not have given existing Board members an opportunity to “reset” to serve another three terms,” Moorlach said. He said the county counsel concurs with that interpretation.

“ We signed up for one term.  If the voters wanted us to stay, then we would have the privilege to serve two terms,” Moorlach said.

“With that said, having some consistency on term limits would be helpful.  Two terms is too short, as the bureaucracy can just wait you out.  Sometime in the future, this will become more apparent to those opposed to my proposal.  But at that point, it will be far too late to undo the damage done,” Moorlach said.