Smart Voter
Santa Clara County, CA November 3, 1998 General
Measure Y
Term Limits
Town of Los Altos Hills

2,371 / 68.2% Yes votes ...... 1,106 / 31.8% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Infomation shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |
Do the qualified voters of the Town of Los Altos Hills approve the ordinance stating: No person shall be allowed to serve more than two (2) consecutive terms on the Los Altos Hills City Council. Notwithstanding the above, at any municipal election after the expiration of two years following the two (2) consecutive terms, such person may again seek election or appointment to the City Council.
Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
The City Council of the Town of Los Altos Hills ("Town") has called for the November 3, 1998 municipal election to include presenting to the Town's qualified electors a ballot measure which, if approved by more than fifty (50%) of the voters voting on the measure, will impose terms limits on the City Council. If this measure is approved, beginning with the City Council election following the November 3, 1998 election, councilmembers who are elected will only be allowed to serve two (2) consecutive terms. If a councilmember serves over half a term, the member will be considered to have served a full term. However, once a councilmember is out of office for two (2) years, the individual may once again serve on the City Council for two (2) consecutive terms. If this measure is not approved, a councilmember may serve an unlimited number of consecutive terms as long as the individual is duly elected.

City Attorney for
Town of Los Altos Hills

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Arguments For Measure Y Arguments Against Measure Y
Throughout the U.S. voters are demanding term limits at every level of political decision-making. Sixty-seven percent of Los Altos Hills residents supported term limits in the California state legislature. This overwhelming strong support of term limits reflects citizens belief that one should seek public office to serve and represent a constituency for a limited time, so that the political process is constantly reinvigorated with new ideas and fresh perspectives based upon a dynamic environment and the changing needs of constituents. Term limits which force open seats have the positive effect of attracting a larger and more diverse pool of individuals seeking office, as well as increasing voter participation and decreasing apathy. This effect has been clearly demonstrated in Los Altos Hills. Eight candidates ran in 1988 for three open seats Since then, only one resident has ever challenged an incumbent, significantly limiting our choice in Los Altos Hills elections.

While opponents of term limits may rightfully claim residents may vote out incumbents, residents also have the right to put in place a political structure which guarantees limited service. Our society saw the wisdom of this structure by limiting our president to two terms years ago. Two consecutive terms totalling eight years is clearly sufficient time for a Los Altos Hills councilmember to make a contribution, give back to the community, then step down, so that others are encouraged to participate.

I urge you to vote yes on Measure Y.

Los Altos Hills Councilmember


Vote NO on Measure Y it will have no effect until 2006 and then it may take away your right to choose who you want on the Town Council. Term limits act as an automatic trigger to dump an incumbent whether or not it may be ''time for a change''.

"Time for a change" is a legitimate campaign issue. But it should apply to an individual, and not a blanket, automatic prohibition against a candidacy.

Retain your right to decide whether the incumbent deserves your support or the challenger. A Yes vote on Measure Y takes that right away from you.

Term limits on State Legislators became necessary because incumbents could collect huge reelection war chests from lobbyists which made it difficult to mount a campaign against them. Nothing like this occurs at the Town level. The cost of running an election here rarely exceeds $5000, and in the past few elections the candidate spending the least has come out on top.

In a small Town like ours, there is a limited number of residents willing to serve in this rather thankless job. Let's not preclude those who are willing to serve from continuing as long as we agree with the job they are doing.



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Created: February 16, 1999 18:55
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