Letter: City Council should agree to place term limits on the agenda

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Only a self-indulgent career politician expects to serve more than two terms in office. Resident voters seek the opportunity of term limits as a ballot measure. It appears to be a “conflict of interest” to expect seated politicians to limit themselves to two terms to enable new candidates the opportunity to serve. 

Privileged incumbents generally have a distinct entrenched political campaign finance advantage from all the favors they grant during their term in office to known wealthy donors and PAC organizations.

When I ran for City Council, term limits were an important issue of my campaign platform. If an elected official cannot complete their campaign promises within two terms, it is time to allow a fresh new candidate the opportunity to serve their city. Enabling a newly-elected City Council member the privilege and opportunity to serve their community brings fresh ideas, new perspectives, and change.  

Lorene Laguna, Laguna Beach

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you. I completely agree. Laguna Beach Council has a history of dragging its feet addressing basic best practice governing and other community related issues. All too often, simple issues become big battles dividing the community. Just look how long it took to create, adopt and utilize a Decorum and Civility Policy like other cities have to deal with our city’s most publicly abusive city elected?

    Decades of council elected’s serving more than two consecutive terms (8 years) in office hasn’t served us well. Nor did it for 30 out of 34 OC cities who have all chosen to adopt Term Limits to secure politically healthier and more effective city government environments.

    IMO, we must reject any existing or new elected’s who refuse our citizen right to vote on setting term limits for our local government. The degree of serious conflicts and division in our city is the result of overly-controlling and non-transparent elected’s who are serving themselves and not all constituents. Demand that LB CC Term Limits be put on the ballot!

  2. Lorene Thanks, but I think your are just scratching the surface.

    Had Enough Of The Baton Pass Yet?
    When have the mayor and former mayor ever said anything more in a Council meeting than, NEXT CALLER? 6 years is OVER THE TOP having two people monopolize this city.
    Click here to read more If you feel our voices, laws, needs and your concerns and rights matter. Vote for city change this year and in 26.

    We need a different Mayor. That does not include the current pro tem, who is sponsored by the current and last mayor.
    http://lagunabeachchat.com/tony-fisch

  3. Let’s make that statewide and national, shall we? Then the likes of Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff, Feinstein, etc. will not be able to get fat and wealthy off of being career politicians. Let’s also make that for LB school board.

  4. Laguna Beach City Council members Mayor Kempf/Mayor/MPT Whalen and MPT Rounaghi have purposely ignored multiple direct voters requests for Term Limits to be included in the 2024 election so we would run out of time to get the measure on the ballot.

    Not acceptable. A Ballot Measure Committee will be formed and Laguna Beach Residents will be allowed to vote on City Council service Term Limits in 2026.

    Voters: Please do not vote for any council candidate in the 2024 election that will not publicly commit to supporting and endorsing Elected Term Limits in 2026. We already know we have one potential incumbent that has controlled our council for 12 years and robbed us of our stakeholder right to have a say in our governing service terms. Enough is enough. Let the voters decide.

  5. No fat and wealthy Republicans on your list, Ms Zeiter? More to the point, how does this translate to local politics? Who on the Council or School Board ever got “fat and wealthy off of being career politicians”? The reason behind this current flurry of interest in local term limits isn’t good governance. It’s Bob Whalen. He hasn’t announced whether he is running for a fourth term, but if he does he’ll have my vote because he is experienced, moderate, and open-minded. Those are the same reasons Toni Iseman’s supporters voted for her when she ran for her third, fourth, fifth, and sixth term. The fact that they are now pushing for local term limits smacks of hypocrisy and their inability to find qualified candidates. I won’t lump you and Sam Goldstein in with this group, but in a small town like ours, I think term limits are unnecessary and anti-democratic.

  6. Mr. Quilter – thanks for your thoughts and opinion but you still offer no factual rational argument for LB City officials to not allow voters to exercise their right to determine the governing service terms of our elected official’s.

    This topic issue isn’t new in LB (or county-wide) nor is it driven by any specific group alliances as you try to infer or suggest that LB stakeholders are too small in numbers to have a say in the government machine we all fund.

    Respectfully, you are in the minority. Fact is, 30 out of 34 OC Cities voters overwhelmingly adopted Elected’s term limits when given the choice by their fair and objective city council leaders and they did so because like us they experienced multi-term overly-controlling/self-interest official’s with agendas who refused to listen and serve all of constituents. Voter statistics don’t lie.

    It’s fine to have personal longtime friendship loyalty to certain elected officials but it’s not healthy to use our local government as a means for a few hand-picked individuals with well-funded self-interests support to gain unending power, influence and control over our city.

    This is reason enough why voters should determine elected officials service term limits. IMO- 8 years of consecutive public service should be sufficient to make a community difference. It also protects us against politician power hoarding and controlling behavior.

  7. Thank you for condescending to reply, Ms Abraham. May I ask if you voted for Toni Iseman when she ran for the Council for the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth times?

  8. Thank you to Lorene, MJ , JZ and Tony Fisch…Logic wins, sarcasm and derision that is far from logic or democracy is not wanted…TERM LIMITS, Allow fresh perspective, unfair alliances and old crony B.S. ..truly the only logical thing to do. Who wants the same old, same old…

    **** Did anyone notice that a out of towner call into the CC meeting, created a beautiful opportunity to not do any zoom anymore, I mean, who wants to hear from the residents that pay for everything. dah..

  9. Mr. Quilter – and I believe not allowing and/or supporting residents right to determine our elected’s service terms condescending, controlling and anti-democratic.

    My point is that you offer no facts or reasonable justification/logic to support your objection to Elected’s Term Limits. Instead you deflect from the issue to focus on how long one former Council Member served. IMO – several council members, including Iseman and Whalen (who may run for a 4th term = 16 years!), have shown us that they tend to stay as long as possible and often become less effective and/or self-serving/controlling in the positions. How many years should we accept “I want to complete what I started” as has been one incumbents campaign ongoing platform. Time to move on. Just how long does it take to get something accomplished or set it up responsibly for successors to assume?”

    We can disagree. I fully support Term Limits and think Laguna Beach Leaders (Elected’s and City Insiders) should stop blocking objective governing polices and procedures and join the majority of other OC cities (state/nation) that have overwhelmingly adopted more balanced administrative practices. If we did, our community divisiveness would decrease and community spirt and trust increase. Win Win for Laguna Beach.

    Re: your question. No. I don’t vote for council members to serve more than two consecutive terms in the same public office.

  10. Term limits are popular, Ms Abraham, but are they effective “objective governing policies” as you claim? If so, please provide some evidence. Here’s what I found:

    https://www.brookings.edu/articles/five-reasons-to-oppose-congressional-term-limits/

    Although you only voted for Toni Iseman twice, commendably out of principle, she was the top vote-getter when she ran for her sixth term in 2018. Bob Whalen also led the pack when he ran for his third term in 2020. It’s not hard to imagine him winning a fourth term if he decides to run. A third term for Sue Kempf in 2026? Works for me.

    You don’t need to deny me and everyone else the right to vote for the Council candidates we feel best qualified to represent us. You need electable candidates.

  11. Mr.Quilter you jump to conclusions. I never said I voted for either Iseman or Whalen.

    Again, I think it’s time voters do their due diligence by examining and evaluating objectively our leadership performances, questionable decisions, increasing controversies/debacle issues we have endured especially over the last four years. My personal concerns include: CLB first Brown Act violation related to closed session), Mayor/MPT inability to deal with abusive Council member Peter Blake allowing outbursts and attacks over four year period till voters solved the problem, stacking boards and commissions with campaign donors/friends, promoting Divisive P and Q Measures attracting the highest out-of-town/state investor/developer monies ever seen in our local elections, more pro-investor development alliances, Presbyterian Church parking lot investment resident long-term debt bad deal, highest employee turn over rates in 10 years/increased top management level separations/morale problems, Police Chief Thompson’s abrupt resignation exit after only 4 months OTJ, more recent CDD Weiner abrupt exit, CM Shohreh Dupuis internal hiring push/exit/retirement package she didn’t deserve, Dupuis’ Police DPT violation fiasco/public demand for transparency/ police officer on leave/retaliation concerns, refusal to listen to the four residents Dupuis publicly defamed without any proof of accusations, poor water/sewer infrastructure oversight/pollution spills, Promenade, handling of Hotel Laguna crisis during the Honarker/MOM management/legal issues, poor building department construction project oversight/special treatments, Record number of CEQA issues, Library proposal hidden reuse verbiage scam, controlling/hoarding Mayor /MPT positions for 10 years. I won’t go on- you get the picture I’m sure.

    Thanks for the congressional link. I disagree with the thinking and consider them concerns not evidence. May I suggest that you research the actual cities in our own county (30/34) whose majority of voters adopted term limits for council members to see if there’s any validity to your position that they limit leaders and deny voter rights concerns? See what they say after years of TL implementations. I don’t hear any rumbling or regrets voiced.

    We all know that multi-term incumbents are hard to unseat as they build up popularity and empires through financial supporters who have their ear and thus taxpayer money which denies other capable individuals interested in public office from the chance to obtain it without the same. We don’t have to agree. Btw, the reference to “objective governing” is my opinion. Thanks.

  12. MJ, clap,clap,clap..well said, how anyone can say term limits are bad, virtually cutting anyone new that would like to run completely off, to think that fresh thinking and standing outside looking in is bad, I just don’t understand. unfortunately people that keep running over and over and refuse to allow this to be on the ballot makes me flinch, they have created their alliances, know what they will pass and not discuss..It’s time to have change, we have had a rough 8 years and now with a new city manager possibly we residents might start to matter again..Time Limits please.

  13. Thanks. I find it concerning when individuals get into office, empire build, shut out residents other than their campaign supporters and refuse to allow residents to vote on the terms of their public service. It’s insulting.

    Power hoarding and working against the public instead of on the public’s behalf is not acceptable.

    So embarrassing that Laguna Beach is one of only a few cities in OC still holding on to such archaic leadership practices. Yet our council members claims to be moving our city forward. Talk about double-talk.

    Ask CC member Bob Whalen and Mayor Kempf why they have refused all public requests to allow LB voters to vote on term limits. If we don’t adopt them- their self-interest bases will pay /influence to keep them in office as long as it takes to meet their investor/development pro-business agendas. We lose. Reject politicians like this so we can return LB to the resident serving city it once was.

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