West Hollywood Activists Push Hard for Term Limit Petition Drive This Weekend

West Hollywood community activists are pushing hard with their petition drive to place a term-limit measure for the City Council on a 2013 ballot. They have a tight September 25 deadline to get a little over 2,300 signatures from some 23,000 registered voters in the city.

If you're a West Hollywood voter, expect to see signature gatherers asking for your support over this long Labor Day weekend at Pavilions, Trader Joe's, 24-Hour Fitness and the gay Starbucks on Santa Monica Boulevard.

So far, says term limit organizer Steve Martin, the most consistent view out in the street "is that people love West Hollywood and those who support term limits believe that the 'urban village' that we love is in danger from a City Council that is more concerned about fostering development than protecting our quality of life."

Martin is working with community activists Allegra Allison from Save Tara; Lauren Meister of West Hollywood West and Cathy Blaivas and Stephanie Harker from Protect Plummer Park, among others. Sheila Lightfoot, West Hollywood Transportation Commissioner Scott Schmidt and Public Facilities Commissioner Elyse Eisenberg sponsored the initiative.

Interestingly, what all these people have in common is that they have a keen knowledge of how West Hollywood City Hall works -- and they want to change it.

Martin says a number of voters have told signature gatherers that they don't believe in term limits, but he notes that the "main factor seems to be whether a person has been to a City Council meeting or had opposed a development. The more [City Council] meetings, the more supportive they are of term limits."

Martin also says that they are "doing well with long-term residents, but there's been surprising interest by younger voters."

Interestingly enough, Martin says that most folks who say they oppose term limits have been gay men. The term limit movement needs those voters in a city with a gay population of roughly 40 percent.

"It's not very scientific," he says, "but that seems to be the trend after collecting signatures for five days."

A few explanations for why Martin and his crew are pushing for terms limits can be found in these L.A. Weekly cover stories: "West Follywood" and "Dethroning West Hollywood's Martinets."

Martin and the others are seeking to create term limits for the City Council of three, four-year terms, or 12 years total.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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