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Call for term limits discussion falls short of council agenda

Posted: April 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

A discussion about term limits for Santa Clarita City Council members nearly made it to the agenda for the council’s next meeting.

But a 2012 change in council norms and procedures blocked that from happening.

The issue was raised by community member Stephen Daniels, an unsuccessful contender for council in the April 8 election and one of several ex-candidates who made their presences known at the Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

Citing the quote: “Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason,” Daniels scolded the council’s longest-serving members for remaining in office so long.

Members Laurene Weste and Marsha McLean, who had just been seated for their fifth and fourth four-year terms, respectively, and fourth-term Councilman Bob Kellar listened politely.

Daniels called for limits of no more than two consecutive council terms, and Councilman TimBen Boydston asked for the item to be put on the council’s next agenda for discussion only.

“I would be willing to entertain a discussion,” newly seated Councilman Dante Acosta responded, emphasizing that he wasn’t saying he was in favor of term limits.

But without a third council member willing to agendize that discussion, the proposal failed.

A change in the council’s norms and procedures — the guidelines by which meetings are conducted — requires three council members to agree to put an item on the agenda.

“To me this is highly unfair because the city manager can put anything hewants on the agenda at any time,” Boydston said in a Wednesday interview.

“Since it’s a council/manager form of government, I don’t believe the city manager shouldbe given more power than members of the City Council in terms of putting items on the agenda.”

Glo Donnelly, a member of the Santa Clarita City Formation Committee, which shaped Santa Clarita’s form of government, had the last comment on the issue at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

“Term limits,” she said. “It doesn’t work in the state; it won’t work here.”

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