Updated May 14, 2018 – By Donna Westfall – Originally published February 13, 2018 – For far too long, we’ve seen politicians make a career out of sitting on the Board of Supervisors.
The June 13, 2017 resolution called for the ballot measure to be called “Measure A.” The language reads:
“Shall Ordinance No. 2017-003 be enacted? (The Ordinance limits the number of terms a person may serve on the Board of Supervisors to three total terms. It would be of no consequence whether the terms are consecutive or not. A partial term in excess of two years shall be deemed to equal one full term. Terms limits shall only apply to new supervisors who commence a term of office after January 1, 2019.”
There are many good reasons for term limits.
- Complacency. A feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.
- Keep doing the same thing they’ve always done. No change. Place continues to stagnate
- More apt to get involved in ethics and fraud violations. The more time on the job, the more time in office to develop financially beneficial commitments to lobbyists and other special interest groups.
- Puts a check on the concentration of power. Statistics prove that the more time on the job, the more power amassed. With that, they will eventually be corrupted by it.
- Having definite terms means voting for things important to constituents because the elected official will soon be a constituent.
- They sit on committees and oftentimes cherry pick those that pay like the Del Norte Solid Waste board that used to pay $300 per meeting.
- Sitting on committees allows them to put up roadblocks for those seeking answers on things like budgets.
- Terms limits could stop the political reward and abuse of power that so often happens after too many years in office.
- Why not have term limits?
* The simple answer is that you can just vote them out. However, the practical answer is that name recognition and party affiliation too often puts the same people back in office and nothing changes. That’s called gridlock.
* Every once in a while, a politician will fight for their constituents and resist the corruption and abuse of power.
When someone new, young and inexperienced comes onto the Board, they have a lot to learn. Oftentimes they are afraid to rock the boat. Don’t you think this community needs people to rock the boat though? Other times they run because of a particular problem that needs attention like the Solid Waste Authority, Last Chance Grade, homelessness or blight.
According to the Transparent California website, California’s Largest Public Pay and Database:
When Martha McClure lost her re-election bid in 2016, after 20 years on the job and seeking her sixth term, her total pay and benefits were $60,856.84. In 2015 they were $70,164.59. She was appointed to the Calif. Coastal Commision by Gov. Brown in 2011 and quickly won a reputation for failing to return phone calls and emails from Humboldt coastal advocates. It only went downhill from there. At what point did she stop being a voice of the people? At what point did she turn to the dark side? Even her supporters from the Friends of Del Norte wrote a letter to Gov. Brown asking for her to be removed from the Coastal Commission.
McClure was the first elected official from Del Norte County ever appointed to the Coastal Comm. By 2015, she was accused of ethics violations; and voted to fire Executive Director Charles Lester despite his popularity. Part of the reason she lost her re-election bid on the BOS was because of the scandal involving her staying at the Malibu home of a consultant, her colorful, sailor-like language reported by LA Times, Steve Lopez in 2016 and his writing about a $500 donation given to McClure in 2012 from Susan McCabe’s domestic and business partner. Susan McCabe is a former commissioner turned lobbyist.
When David Finigan lost his re-election bid in 2016, his total pay and benefits were $73,126.85. In 2015 they were $70,164.59
Running for re-election for District 4, Gerry Hemmingsen’s total pay and benefits for 2016 were $66,779.46. Retired Code Enforcement officer, Dave Mason is running against him.
Running for District 3, Chris Howard’s total pay and benefits for 2016 were $55,362.34. Running against Howard is former CalTrans Manager, Jake Smith.
Sups Howard and Hemmingsen voted “NO,” to term limits, while Sups Cowan, Gitlin and Berkowitz voted “YES.” The 2-3 vote put it on the ballot.
A YES vote will put term limits on the books. Remember, this only affects County Supervisors. This does not affect the Crescent City, City Council members or any other elected positions.