Not to be outdone by Kenny Hahn, the current record-holder for longest time spent on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (40 years), current supe Mike Antonovich is shooting for the big 44.
He's apparently attempting to be sly about it, but county-watchers got wind of his proposal just in the nick of time. One mysterious activist calling himself “John Galt” draws our attention to an out-of-nowhere motion on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting. It calls for…
“… a special election to be held on November 6, 2012, for the purpose of voting upon an amendment to the Los Angeles County Charter which would limit any person elected and qualified for the office of member of the Board of Supervisors to five consecutive terms commencing with a term of office which begins on or after December, 2002.”
Currently, supervisors are confined to a 12 years in office. So this new “limit,” if approved by voters, would actually be a considerable extension of the time that they're able to settle into their seats and form ties within their districts.
Terms would almost double, to 20 years — giving Antonovich the new record for longest time on the board, given he's re-elected as usual.
Will the Democrats on the board fall in line with one Republican's dream for dictatorship? Joel Bellman at Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's office says he'll get back to us with a reaction from his boss, the most outspoken of the supervisors. But Bellman does say that as far as he knows, Antonovich's motion “was prepared and introduced entirely without our knowledge.”
The L.A. City Council pulled this same stunt in 2006, asking voters to let city politicians serve for 12 years. But at least they packaged Measure R with some spineless anti-lobbying provisions to superficially sweeten the deal.
Antonovich's proposed ballot initiative, on the other hand, is an unabashed attempt to secure his throne until he's well past the ripe age of 80.
“Who do the supervisors think they are? The five kings?” asks a blogger at the L.A. County Observer. We've contacted King Antonovich's office for comment.