Santa Ana Voters to Decide Term Limits for City Council, School Board

Santa Ana Voters to Decide Term Limits for City Council, School Board
The Orange County Registrar of Voters in Santa Ana, Calif., on March 5, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Micaela Ricaforte

Santa Ana voters will decide how long city officials can remain in office—along with other charter amendments—on the November ballot.

Measure H would limit trustees on the Santa Ana Unified School Board to three four-year terms and prohibit them from serving again once that time is up.

Under the district’s current policy, there are no term limits for school board members.

Measure X would impose a limit of four two-year terms for mayors, and three four-year terms for councilors.

The measure would also end the city’s eight-year “cooling off period,” which allows candidates to run for office after terming out.

Under the city’s current policy, there is a 12-year term limit for councilors and an eight-year limit for mayor.

Measure X’s term limits would apply to anyone elected in and after 2012, including current councilors.

The measure would also make other changes to the city’s charter by requiring a two-thirds council majority to approve the annual budget, implementing gender-neutral language in the city’s charter, banning the council from modifying ordinances between first and second readings, expanding the application of the city’s Code of Ethics, and making “other minor updates,” according to the ballot measure.

The council voted 5–2 to place Measure X on the ballot during an August meeting, with Mayor Vicente Sarmiento and Councilwoman Jessie Lopez voting against it.

Lopez said she opposed two of the measure’s proposed charter changes—changing the required simple majority council vote to approve the budget and banning the council from modifying proposed ordinances between the first and second readings.

But the council majority favored it; as in the past, some city officials have served decades on the council.

Miguel Pulido served on the city council for 34 consecutive years, including 26 years as mayor, until he left in December 2020.

“[We] wanted specific language in there that doesn’t allow the resetting of clocks,” Councilman David Penaloza said during the August meeting.

In 2006, a bid by the council to place mayoral term limits failed by a 3–4 vote, with Pulido and three other councilors voting against it.

Six years later in 2012, voters passed Measure GG, which imposed the city’s current term limits.