Are term limits in the Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ future?

Alameda County Supervisors Scott Haggerty and
Richard Valle during a board meeting in 2013.
PHOTO/Shane Bonda

ALCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS | In the East Bay, a seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors is the closest thing to a lifetime appointment on the US Supreme Court. An incumbent county supervisor has not lost a seat in 23 years, and a local group is seeking to end that trend with a countywide ballot initiative to limit supervisors to three, four-year terms.

A notice of intention for the potential referendum was accepted by the Alameda County Registrar’s Office on Thursday. The county counsel must evaluate the proposed initiative and produce a title and ballot summary within the next fifteen days, according to the registrar’s office.

The initiative’s supporters hope it receives approval for voter’s consideration in time for the June 2016 primary election. But, before then, the county registrar’s office says supporters will need to gather more than 30,000 valid signatures for inclusion on the ballot. The number is based on 20 percent of the votes cast in Alameda County during the most recent gubernatorial contest.

Longtime Castro Valley resident Frank Mellon said the impetus for the countywide ballot initiative is clear: County residents are dissatisfied with the board on a number of issues, including the amount of taxpayers’ money it spends on sports instead of funding safety net services, along with the failing state of the county’s healthcare delivery services.

“The common denominator is you have supervisors that are there forever,” said Mellon, who is an elected member of the East Bay Municipal Utilities District. Mellon said his role in the county term limits initiative is independent of his duties at East Bay MUD where he has served as a director since 1995.

The county applies term limits on its own appointed board and commissions, said Mellon. “If it’s good enough for boards and commissions, why isn’t it good enough for the board of supervisors?”

The proposed referendum would amend the county charter to limit service for members of the board of supervisors to twelve years. Under the proposed charter amendment, three of the five county supervisors would be termed out of office…


Categories: Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Alameda County registrar, Frank Mellon, initiative, Keith Carson, Nadia Lockyer, Nate Miley, Richard Valle, Scott Haggerty, term limits, Wilma Chan

7 replies

  1. Anything to get rid of Dick Valley, Boss Miley, Thug Haggerty, Shit Chan, and Crappy Carson. Oh, wait. That's all of them!


  2. By MW:

    Before serious consideration could even be given to whether such a measure would be allowed on the ballot, first the County Counsel's office, and which is headed by Donna Ziegler, would have to go through its choreographed, scripted, and prearranged charades of pretending to “analyze” the measure, and so as to “determine” whether it is “legal” and “conforms” to the “appropriate” and required “format” and “standards.”

    In other words, if the media and general public do not watch every single thing like hawks, then it is a virtually sure thing the County Counsel's office, and after first going through its perfunctory charade and standard window dressing of pretending to “analyze” the issue, will invent a “reason” to declare the proposed ballot measure to be “defective,” and therefore to not allow it on the ballot..

    More specifically, the County Counsel's office normally functions just like a crooked law firm representing a guilty client, and therefore sees its primary job to try to pull anything it thinks it can get away with.


  3. Mr Mellon should impose term limits on himself. Looks like he has been in office for 20 years collecting a salary and most likely huge benefits. What a hypocrite.


  4. In response to MW, the proposed measure is basically a carbon copy of the term limit initiative which was put on San Diego County's ballot in 2010. It was defeated, but that's beside the point…

    The point is that with that precedent it would be very hard for Alameda County to say it would not be allowed here.


  5. The problem is that, even if the term limits petition passes, these politicians set up their successors, get them the endorsements that they need, including the democratic party endorsement, and then continue to wield power and get favors through the person they helped put into office. If anyone tries to run against that person they sic the DA on them to trump up any kind of criminal charges that they can. The change needs to be more sweeping to keep the “same-ol” from continuing.


  6. By MW:

    Nate Miley has regularly taken the positions that: one, the reason he and the other members of the AC Board of have been repeatedly re-elected is because they are doing such a fantastic job; and two we ordinary members of the general public are extremely lucky to have people as wonderful as him and the other members of the AC BOS in office and guiding us and regulating us – AND SUPPOSEDLY THAT IS THE REASON THE MEMBERS OF THE AC BOS HAVE BEEN REPEATELDY RE-ELECTED.

    As far as the position on term limits that will eventually be taken by Donna Ziegler's County Counsel's office, the County Counsel's office could decide to get “cute” about it, and such as for instance concluding, and after of course first going through its choreographed charade of pretending to “research” and “study” the issue, that any term limits law should only apply to future members of the BOS, but not to the present members – AND PERHAPS DEFINITELY NOT TO ANY PRESENT MEMBERS WHO WOULD BE IMMEDIATELY TERMED OUT.

    And since Ziegler is not even an elected official, but instead is selected by the members of the BOS, therefore if Miley, and who is perhaps the strongest personality on the BOS, is very strongly opposed to a strong and clearcut term limits law, I am confident Donna Ziegler's County Counsel's office will, and after doing its “research,” find a way to sabotage it.

    NOTE: In fact some years ago in a conversation I had with one of the higher ranking members of the County Counsel's office, he took the position that it was the job of the County Counsel's office to defend the members of the Board of Supervisors, and definitely NOT to represent the general public.


  7. The above opinion is exactly correct. I've seen it time and again at the county. They come up with some dreamed up regulation which would be the reason why the new law can only apply to future elected supervisors, but it will not be true. These things can be set up however the PEOPLE want them to be. Hopefully whoever is leading this has some chutzpah and will push back.

    It is also correct that county counsel feels that it is there to protect (and cover up for) the supervisors.

    Systemic corruption.


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