Wednesday Dec 15 2010
Measure A debate continues
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
Supporters, opponents disagree on legality
There is a lot of finger pointing going on in the legal mess of Loomis’ term limits initiative. In November, Loomis voters passed a term limits initiative containing a clause with two retroactive issues and re-elected two incumbents. The term limits measure is now being sent to the state Attorney General to determine if the town should implement the initiative and unseat the re-elected incumbents who were slated to be seated on the new council on Dec. 14. In an e-mail sent to the Loomis News, Sonja Cupler, Term Limits For Loomis committee member, called the situation “unfortunate.” “Loomis Town Council has decided to handle the victory of Measure A (Term Limits) … with closed door meetings with limited public input; changing their legal decisions because of taking on a secondary attorney; and promising to have public workshops after Council is seated,” Cupler wrote. “Many citizens are very seriously considering a recall of the Council.” During a special council meeting on Dec. 7, Rhonda Morillas, councilmember, said to Cupler and Tom Millward, also a term limits committee member, “You put this on the ballot … There’s a problem with the way you wrote this.” During the meeting, Cupler said the Term Limits For Loomis committee never got an attorney’s opinion on the wording or the legality of the measure. “We’re just citizens doing what we think people in this town want,” Cupler said. Dave Larsen, Loomis town attorney, said of Measure A, “This was a citizens’ initiative, not the town’s. It wasn’t done correctly.” Larsen said the council kept the original wording intact and only moved it from the June special election to the November ballot because more voters participate in general elections. “The idea that there was a conspiracy to move this from June to November to avoid the retroactive application, or to make it illegal when it might have been legal, is really a stretch,” Larsen said. “I had no business correcting it. It’s not allowed,” Larsen said. Larsen said in a later interview that if he had stepped in to examine the legality of the measure he could have been accused of malpractice. Kieran Anderson, of Loomis, said he believes term limits are a good thing, but should start after the re-elected council members serve two more terms. “The people have spoken. They re-elected these people,” Anderson said. Kathy Schilling, of Loomis, said she voted for term limits. “That doesn’t make sense that they (voters) voted for term limits and re-elected them (the incumbents). Legally, I think they have to seat them,” Schilling said. “We need to abide by the laws on the books. You can’t just go willy-nilly and make up things as you go. Change the first law that says term limits must be prospective,” Schilling said. Kitty Sommer, of Loomis, said, “They shouldn’t be sworn in until after the attorney general decides what is correct and legal.” Rich McCormac, of Loomis, said the town needs to proceed with the legal challenge on the retroactivity. “Otherwise, you have a three-member council,” McCormac said.