Wednesday Mar 09 2011
Term limits issue goes to Gaines
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
Senator asked to give town letter to attorney general
Loomis term limits has taken an unexpected detour along the way to the state attorney general’s office. The Town of Loomis has sent a letter addressing the retroactive issues of the term limits initiative to the attorney general’s office via state Sen. Ted Gaines, according to town staff. Perry Beck, town manager, said attorney Richard Miadech, special counsel for the town, e-mailed the letter to Gaines on March 4 because it is an issue “of statewide importance that could affect other term limit initiatives and may require some legislation.” Beck said those types of issues must be presented to the state by an elected representative. Beck said the letter included a cover letter that could be transferred to Gaines’ letterhead for submission. “We do not know at this point if Gaines’s office will file the letter. We have asked him, but haven’t heard back yet. It could end up being filed by someone else (another elected official),” Beck said. Beck said the contents of the letter will not be made public until it is filed by the attorney general’s office and becomes public record. Beck said a draft of the letter was circulated to town council members for comment, but the final draft was not reviewed or approved by council. Measure A, the term limits initiative voters passed in November, contains two retroactive legal issues in one phrase, according to town attorney Dave Larsen. 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. Larsen said, according to state law, 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. The town has spent to date more than $25,000 in legal fees in order to clarify the initiative’s legality. A reply from the attorney general is expected within three months of receipt, Larsen said.