During its January 21, 2020 meeting, the City Council did something dastardly -- they adopted strict term limits not because they want them to be the law, but they did it as a political tactic to kill strict term limits.
Yes, you read that correctly! Let me explain...
As you know, we gathered signatures over last summer from Oxnard voters to qualify a term limits initiative for the November 2020 ballot … that would limit the Oxnard mayor and council members to two consecutive four-year terms. After a two-year break the officeholder would be eligible to run again.
Knowing that we were about to qualify for the ballot, the City Council placed its own competing initiative (Measure B) on the March 2020 ballot that would also impose term limits, but their proposal allows for up to three consecutive four-year terms (and a two-year break before being able to serve again).
But the City Council’s measure includes a loophole – if you switch from council to mayor (or vice versa) the clock starts all over again … so some can avoid term limits altogether. In other words, it’s a fake term limits proposal.
Now here’s where it gets really interesting.
The City Council met in closed session on January 21 to discuss whether to sue to keep our measure off the November ballot.
While they were behind closed doors – and the public was waiting in the council chambers for their decision – we suddenly heard raucous laughter from their back room.
Soon afterward, the City Council emerged – acting quite giddy – and announced that they weren’t going to sue to stop term limits.
Instead, what the council did next was a political maneuver that would make Machiavelli proud.
Rather than submitting our REAL term limits measure for the November ballot, the City Council actually ADOPTED it to go into effect immediately.
Why isn't that a good thing? Here's why!
The City Council knows that people voting in March for Measure B (the Fake Term Limits measure) will unwittingly be voting to OVERRIDE real term limits.
You see, the voters in the March election are about to be lied to in an official government publication. Voters won’t be told that we ALREADY have strict term limits because of the council’s vote to adopt our measure. Instead the ballot argument for Measure B – already printed in the voter guide, but not yet mailed out – falsely states the following:
“FACT: Measure B imposes real term limits on elected officials...”
… as if term limits don’t yet exist.
In reality, because of the Oxnard City Council’s self-serving maneuver, voting for Measure B in March will now OVERTURN our stricter term limits and substitute the council’s FAKE TERM LIMITS scheme.
With this vote, the City Council deprived the public of the right to vote for real term limits in November.