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Costa Mesa’s Council to Ask for Term Limits

The City Council has passed a resolution calling for the state Legislature to allow cities to impose term limits on council members.

The council recently voted 3 to 2 in favor of the resolution, which was to be forwarded to Sacramento.

Councilwomen Sandra L. Genis and Mary Hornbuckle voted against the measure.

“We already have term limits,” Genis said. “It’s called ‘voting for somebody else’ during the regular elections.”

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But Mayor Joe Erickson and Councilmen Gary Monahan and Peter F. Buffa voted for the resolution. Monahan suggested passing the resolution on Jan. 3. He said he thought it was time the city imposed term limits. Right now, council members are elected to four-year terms and can run for election and reelection unlimited times.

But City Atty. Thomas Kathe pointed out that general law cities such as Costa Mesa cannot impose term limits on their council members under state law. General law cities are governed by the state. He said the council would first have to pass a resolution and then send it to Sacramento.

For Buffa, now in his third term, the issue was not whether term limits should be imposed on council members; it was a matter of the freedom to vote.

“I think the issue should be decided on the ballot,” said Buffa. “The resolution will tell the state that we want to put the decision in the hands of our citizens. We’d at least like the ability or freedom to put it on the ballot.”

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