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Lawmakers reject measure expanding county boards of supervisors

Lawmakers reject measure expanding county boards of supervisors
L.A. County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis speaks during a board hearing in June. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The Senate on Thursday failed to muster the two-thirds vote to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot requiring large California counties, including Los Angeles, to expand their five-member boards of supervisors to at least seven members.

Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) may bring the proposal up again Friday, but he was able to get only 24 of the 27 votes he needed on Thursday after four Democrats voted against it and Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) withheld her vote.

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Mendoza said his proposal would increase the opportunity for minority communities to elect representatives.

It would apply to all five counties with populations of 2 million people or more: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego.

SCA 8 "will provide the opportunity to be more responsive to and reflective of the needs of the people they serve," Mendoza told his colleagues. The bill, which still needed Assembly approval, would put the issue on the November 2016 ballot.

However, Democrats and Republicans questioned the proposal.

Republican Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa said the bill is "totally unnecessary" because counties already have power to expand their boards if they decide it's necessary.

Sen. Benjamin Allen (D-Santa Monica) also opposed the bill, saying Los Angeles County voters have turned down expansion proposals in the past. Expanding the board without an elected chief executive to bring order would create an "unwieldy" panel, Allen said.

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