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Special meeting on Measure A set for Friday

Workshop, closed session to discuss legal issues in initiative
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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The process of putting term limits into effect continues when the Loomis Town Council holds a workshop and special meeting at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4, at the Loomis Depot. A closed session has also been scheduled to confer with legal counsel if needed. According to town attorney Dave Larsen, Measure A, the term limits initiative, was approved by voters last November, and 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.” 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. Larsen said it is illegal to make laws that apply to an elected official’s previous terms, but said “a third-party, neutral” will need to clarify the measure’s legality. During a special meeting on Dec. 7, the town council directed staff to file a quo warranto lawsuit with the state attorney general’s office once the new council was seated. Ucovich and Scherer recused them-selves from the vote. At the Dec. 7 meeting, council also voted to certify the election. Scherer and Ucovich began their new terms on Dec. 14 when they were seated on the council, along with newly elected councilwoman Sandra Calvert. Larsen said the town could take the case directly to the Superior Court or could take it to the state Attor-ney General Kamala Harris. The attorney general could then determine if the measure would be thrown out in its entirety, if a portion could be removed or if the case could continue to Superior Court. The law-suit sent to the attorney general would seek to remove Ucovich and Scherer from office if the retroactive portions of Measure A are found to be legal, Larsen said. If the Attorney General withholds permission to file, because the retroactive portions of Measure A are illegal, Larsen said it is likely that she will not give permission to file the lawsuit and Ucovich and Scherer will remain seated. In a report to the town council prepared in advance of the Feb. 4 meeting, town manager Perry Beck said the quo warranto complaint documents are ready to file with the state attorney general. During Friday's workshop and meeting, public comment will be taken on whether to proceed with the quo warranto action or seek alternative methods of implementing Measure A and determining its legality.