June 4, 2016

San Leandro City Council to Consider Extending Term Limits

At its next meeting on Monday, June 6, 2016, the San Leandro City Council will hear a presentation about extending term limits from the current two consecutive terms to three terms.

The presentation was requested by Councilmember Ursula Reed, who brought it up at the May 16, 2016, meeting of the City Council. "I'm interested in us looking at having the City Council, instead of having two terms, having three terms and so I would like to see if we could put that on the November ballot..." said Reed. According to Reed, City Clerk Tamika Greenwood "has already looked into it a little bit as far as the cities in the area..."

Councilmember Jim Prola asked for clarification of the proposal, stating, "As long as it doesn't apply to current City Council people, I think that would be a huge mistake if we applied it to current City Council people." Mayor Pauline Cutter said that Prola could bring it up during the presentation at next Monday's meeting.

Normally, a change to the City Charter would be referred to the Rules Committee first, but there wasn't enough time, so it will be heard by the full City Council.

While the City Charter limits councilmembers to two consecutive terms, it doesn't limit the total number of terms. Tony Santos took advantage of that, serving two consecutive terms as a councilmember from 1984 to 1992 and again from 2000 to 2006.

Click here to listen to the discussion from the May 16, 2016, meeting.

Reed previously suggested increasing term limits from two to three terms in 2011 at the June 20 City Council meeting. "The first term you’re just learning how to negotiate the council and all the different committees and sit in a meeting and understand everything that’s going on and I think by the second term you get to be really good and then the councilmember is gone. So I would also advocate for three terms for city councilmembers." Councilmember Joyce Starosciak also expressed support for increasing term limits, "I support the concept of extended terms and not allowing them to be retroactive...I can appreciate how important another term would be towards creating stability in this community and stability on the council and it is very ironic that I am the most veteran with only six years." Although Mayor Stephen Cassidy expressed support for discussing this and reform of the City Charter, there was no further discussion.

Click here to listen to the discussion from the June 20, 2011, meeting.

Term limits were added to the City Charter in 1974, largely in response to Mayor Jack Maltester, who served four consecutive terms.

The staff report on extending term limits states that the City Council would have to provide direction as soon as possible in order to give the City Attorney time to prepare an analysis of the change to the city charter before the August 12, 2016 deadline (88 days before the November 8, 2016 election).

Oakland and Hayward currently have no term limits, according to the staff report. Fremont, Dublin, and Pleasanton have term limits of two terms and Union City has term limits of three terms.

However, other cities also have campaign contribution limits. San Leandro has no limits on campaign contributions, which has made it difficult for challengers to defeat incumbents. Since 1970, only two incumbents running for re-election have been defeated. The most recent occurred when Stephen Cassidy narrowly defeated Tony Santos in 2010.

The City Council meeting starts at 7pm on June 6, 2016, at San Leandro City Hall at 835 E. 14th Street.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at June 4, 2016 5:49 PM | TrackBack
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