The fact that a special election for this November will cost Long Beach taxpayers approximately $650,000.00 should flash the first red light. There is no urgency to move these issues forward before our next election in 2020.
The only real urgency is to allow both Dee Andrews and
Al Austin to run for a third term with their names on the ballot. According to assistant city attorney, Mike Mais, the way this measure is written, it would allow Dee Andrews (who won a write in for his 3rd term in 2016) to place his name on the 2020 ballot. As for 8th district council member, Al Austin, if this measure passes, would not have to run a very difficult write-in campaign. Instead his name would appear on the ballot and being the incumbent he would stand a higher possibility of winning that election. If passed, it will also give the mayor and other 7 council members a great sigh of relief to know they can most likely hold their seat beyond 2022.
In 1992, Long Beach voters denied access to a third term, by their overwhelming vote to limit mayor and city council to two terms.
In 2000, Long Beach voters refused to modify the charter to allow the April write-in candidate to appear on the June ballot if they came in 1st or 2nd.
In 2001, Mayor O”Neill’s team found an exception to the voter approved 2 term limit.
That exception is within our city charter, Section 214(b) that codifies the exception to the term limit rule, allowing voters to write-in any candidate of their choice and allowing candidates who would otherwise be termed out to run additional campaigns as write-in candidates.
Why the exception? Section 1910 of our city charter which stipulates, in part, that…”all municipal elections shall be held in accordance with the provisions of the Elections Code of the State of California governing municipal elections” and 2. State Elections Code Section 15340, which states: “Each voter is entitled to write the name of any candidate for any public office, including that of President and Vice President of the United States, on the ballot of any election.”
In short, we in Long Beach, can assert our desire for term limits for local elected offices, so long as we also abide by State law that permits write-in candidates. State Election Law necessarily controls on this matter and cannot be circumvented purely as a matter of local preference.
In 2007 LB voters did approve a partial write-in bypass for successful write-in candidates. It allowed their name to appear on the June ballot instead of having to run another write-in campaign. However, they boldly rejected by 2/3 margin to allow mayor or city council to be allowed three terms.
The voters have spoken…….