Wednesday Mar 30 2011
Attorney general looking at Measure A
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
Town has spent $36,000 in legal fees on term limits issue
Loomis term limits is now in the hands of the state attorney general. According to town manager Perry Beck, the attorney general’s office has confirmed receipt of the letter sent by Sen. Ted Gaines on March 8. The letter asks for an opinion on the retroactive clause in Measure A, the Loomis term limits initiative. The letter was written by attorney Richard Miadech, special counsel for the town, and e-mailed to Gaines on March 4. Beck said the question needed to be brought to the attorney general by an elected official because the issue is “of statewide importance that could affect other term limit initiatives and may require some legislation.” Beck said the issue should be assigned to a deputy attorney general within a week, at which time he will find out the timeframe for receiving a response. The seven-page letter gives background on Loomis council and Measure A and asks two questions regarding the retroactive clause. The first question is if the government code stating term limits “shall apply prospectively only” means that prior time served in office, including a partial term, may not be counted. The second question is if the ordinance was adopted on Nov. 2, 2010, and council members were also elected on the same day, would they be entitled to serve two more terms before being subject to the 8-year waiting period. The remaining pages of the letter present applicable law and analysis and cite the government code, the elections code and the intent of the legislature when they passed Senate Bill 2 authorizing term limits. Former town attorney Dave Larsen said the term limits initiative passed by Loomis voters in November contains two retroactive legal issues in one phrase. The phrase is “a member who has served more than two terms prior to August 1, 2010 must sit out eight years.” Larsen said one issue is the retroactive start date of Aug. 1; the other is that the measure counts a council member’s prior terms served. The retroactive phrase in Measure A would apply to councilmen Miguel Ucovich and Walt Scherer. Both councilmen have served more than two terms and both were re-elected to the council on Nov. 2. To date, the town has spent more than $36,000 in legal fees in order to clarify the initiative’s legality.