Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Group Files Ethics Complaint Over Proposition R Mailing
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A committee that opposes local Proposition R, which would expand term limits for Los Angeles city council members from two four-year terms to three terms, on the November ballot complained to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission yesterday over a mailer sent out by supporters of the proposition.
The complaint, filed by the group Not Prop R, objects to statements in the mailer it claims suggests that council members may currently serve for life. The complaint notes that the mailer, sent out by the pro-Proposition R group ReformLA-Yes on Proposition R, includes statements such as:
“Prop R will LIMIT councilmembers to three terms in office (twelve years total). so that no one can serve for life,” and
“Prop R . . . ensure[es] that city councilmembers cannot serve for life.”
In the complaint, Jeff Jacobberger, co-chair and treasurer of Not Prop R, alleges:
“This mailer is at best blatantly deceptive, and at worst deliberately untruthful, regarding the term limits extension that is the centerpiece of Proposition R.”
The complaint argues:
“These statements are plainly intended to deceive voters into believing that, under existing law, councilmembers can ‘serve for life.’ But . . . this is flatly untrue: councilmembers are limited to two full terms.”
Jacobberger asked the commission, which enforces the city’s election laws, to “investigate and take appropriate action” regarding the mailer, but did not specify what legal provisions may have been violated.
But political consultant John Shallman, a spokesman for ReformLA, said the statements in the mailer are “100 percent accurate” and are not misleading. He said that all you need to know is that council members are currently limited to two terms and under Proposition R, they would be limited to three terms.
“The no on Prop R people don’t give much credence to the intelligence of the voters,” Shallman said.
Last month this district’s Court of Appeal turned down a challenge to the ballot heading for the proposition, which does not state that the limit of three terms is an extension of the current two-term limit. The court said the heading could be more complete and informative, but let it stand because it was not “false or misleading.”
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company