SD Rostra

“Fuzzy Logic” : as public employee unions submit Term Limit petitions for San Diego County Supervisors

Public employee union leaders turned in petitions this morning asking
a Two-term limit for San Diego County Supervisors. They say 120,000 voter names are included.

Oddly, however, it appears this petition will have little effect on the
CURRENT County Board, even if it qualifies and passes in the June
2010 election !

That’s because, like the statewide term limits law (Prop. 140 of Nov.
1990) it will apply only PROSPECTIVELY… meaning the current
Supervisors could all serve two more 4-year terms ! That is why,
for example, Willie Brown remained in the State Assembly for 6
years after Prop. 140 passed: he still was allowed 3 more terms.

WHERE THE LOGIC WENT FUZZY
If this petition had been filed a decade ago, when the incumbent
Supervisors were in their 50s, it would be forcing them out of office
now. Districts 4 and 5 would be open seats in 2010.

But by waiting till the Fab Five approach the traditional retirement
age, the Union Bosses took the notorious “Too Little, Too Late”
off-ramp.

HOW MANY VALID SIGNATURES ARE NEEDED? WHAT
HAPPENS NEXT? WHEN DO WE KNOW IF IT QUALIFIES?

(1) 77,839 valid signatures are required to qualify a countywide
initiative. Why 77,839? The figure is based on 10% of all votes
cast for Governor in San Diego county in November 2006.

(2) The Voter Registrar’s excellent staff will first count the number
of total signatures submitted. Then they will randomly select 3%
of these signatures for validation, noting the percentage which are
valid and invalid.

If the resulting validity rate, projected over the entire petition count,
equals 10% MORE than the 77,839 minimum, the petition will be
declared to have qualified.

If, on the other hand, the 3% sample projects to 5% LESS than
77,839, it will be declared a failure. If the projection falls within
the remaining window (4% less to 9% more) than the ALL of
the signatures will be individually tabulated. (Source: State Elections
Code).

(3) We will probably know if the petition succeeded or failed in about
2 to 4 weeks. It has been submitted early enough to make the June
2010 ballot if it does qualify.

IF QUALIFIED, WILL THE PROPOSAL PASS?
Based on past election results, the answer is probably YES. In
February 2008, San Diego county voters rejected a softening of
State term limits, helping to defeat state Proposition 93. The City
of San Diego added term limits in 1992, when a plan authored by
Mayor Maureen O’Connor won easy voter approval.

The petition filed today is seen as a pressure tactic on the current 5
County Supervisors, all of whom have served at least 14 years in their
present jobs. More importantly, however, the current Board has often
resisted these public employee Unions’ major demands for higher
benefits.

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