Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, December 3, 2001


Page 10


Council Fails to Override Veto, Seeks Delay in Term Limits Measure


By a MetNews Staff Writer


An attempt to override Mayor Hahn’s veto of a ballot measure to extend term limits for citywide elected officials failed Friday, but the council did pass a motion that could get the measure on the March ballot.

While the override vote failed on a 7-4 vote, it will be automatically pushed to the next council meeting set for Dec. 11, since it fell short of the required 10 votes. 

Waiting until Dec. 11 will pose problems for the ballot measure’s future due to the specifications of the State Election Code, which require the city clerk to file an adopted ordinance with the county at least 88 days before the election, City Clerk J. Michael Carey said. Dec. 7 is the last day that the ordinance can be filed.

The council did pass a motion by Councilman Nick Pacheco which directs Carey to take the vetoed term limits ordinance to the county, along with an explanation of the delayed status to override Hahn’s veto. But the filing may not be enough to get the ordinance on the March 5 ballot, Carey said.

While the state Elections Code says that city-adopted ordinances must be filed with the county 88 days before the election in order for there to be a ballot measure, it is not clear what constitutes an “adopted ordinance” said Pete Echeverria, chief assistant to the city attorney.  The county will decide whether the ordinance adopted by City Council and vetoed by the mayor is an adopted ordinance, Echeverria said. 

“I can take this adopted motion to the county and they will make the decision of whether it was timely filed,” Carey said.  “They could choose additional time or choose that we haven’t met state code.”

Deborah Wright, of the Registrar-Recorder, Department of County Clerk—the office in charge of creating the ballots—said the policy is firm and that anything received after the 88th day will not go on the ballot.  “Because of printing costs, we’ve looked at those timelines, and it is simply impossible,” Wright said.  “If we violate legal deadline, there will be no end to the exceptions.”

Carey said that in the late 1980s, the county allowed the council additional time to override a mayoral veto of a ballot measure, but the details were unspecified by him and he stated it was unlikely it would happen again. 

“I can’t guarantee that the county will accept this as a final act,” Cary said.  “Unless you override the mayor’s veto, you do not have a special election ordinance that is ever going to be accepted.”

The March ballot already includes measures that would affect county and state term limits.

Voters will have the opportunity to place a limit of three four-year terms on the Board of Supervisors, sheriff, assessor, and district attorney. If the measure is approved, it would be the first time county offices have been subject to term limits.

Voters will also decide whether to approve Proposition 45, which would allow any third-term Assembly member to run for two additional terms, one each in the Senate and House, by collecting the signatures of 20 percent of the voters in his district. A state senator with the required signatures could run for one additional four-year term.


Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company