Long Beach, CA
On August 7th, Mayor Robert Garcia and City Council members will deliberate on whether or not to add a controversial Charter Amendment to go to the voters in November around expanding term limits from two terms to three terms for their positions. Currently each Mayoral and Council term is set at 4 years. By expanding term limits to three terms, sitting incumbents could serve a full 12 years.
It is unclear why this Charter Amendment is being brought forward to Long Beach voters outside the proponent’s reason stating it would close a loophole in Long Beach’s election process. In 2007 however, voters in Long Beach strongly rejected a similar charter amendment by over 60% of the vote disallowing 3 terms but passed an alternative option to “write-in” an incumbent candidate for a third term in a primary election. If the incumbent candidate made it to the run-off, their name would appear on the ballot.
Both State Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell and Councilmember Dee Andrews successfully won a third term as write in candidates to their City Council positions since 2007 and there is speculation on newly Vice Mayor Dee Andrews’s political path should this charter amendment be passed by the voters in November.
Early criticism has been drawn so far from the Long Beach Taxpayers Association who previously opposed Mayor Garcia’s Measure’s A and B lifting Long Beach’s sales tax to 10.25% calling the proposed term limit charter amendment “self-serving.” Former Harbor Commissioner and former 5th District Council Candidate Rich Dines also criticized the proposed amendment saying, “asking the voters to extend your stay so you can wait for the next Assembly, State Senate or Congressional seat to open will not strengthen term limits.”
Studies show, incumbents win their reelection 80-90% of the time with advantages coming from name recognition and hefty fundraising dollars.