Stanton voters may be able to decide if they want to restrict how many times future mayors can serve in office.
City council members are expected to decide Tuesday on whether they want to direct staff to draft an ordinance for the November 2024 election that would establish term limits for the Mayor’s office.
“We think it’s only fair. If the council is limited to two terms, the mayor should be too,” said Councilman Gary Taylor in a Monday phone interview.
In Stanton, the Mayor is directly elected by voters across the city while council members are elected by residents in different districts.
Council members are also expected to discuss an uptick in prostitution activity and homelessness at their 6:30 p.m. meeting today at Stanton City Hall. Residents can attend in person or watch the meeting over Zoom.
Councilman Donald Torres said in a Monday phone interview that he was not sure what the term limits could be for the mayor specifically, but was in support of the idea.
“Term limits breed competition. I think that competition is a diversity of opinions and I think that diversity of opinions ultimately helps out our democracy and our city,” he said.
In May, city council members narrowly directed staff to look into and research creating term limits for the mayor at the request of Taylor.
Mayor David Shawver and Councilwoman Hong Alyce Van at the time argued that in a small town like Stanton, the mayor should not have term limits. Both did not return requests for comment Monday.
Shawver – the city’s first elected mayor in 2022 – has been on the city council since 1988.
If voters approve a Mayor term limits measure in the 2024 election, the law would take effect in 2026 after Shawver’s term is expected to end.
Placing the measure on the 2024 ballot will cost $8,500, according to a city staff report.
Councilwoman Carol Warren also did not respond to a request for comment.
Stanton residents approved a measure in 2016 that placed – a two term limit, eight years total, on city council members.
One year later, the city established district based elections with residents across Stanton being able to vote for and elect a mayor, but the term limits enacted in 2016 did not apply to the Mayor’s seat.
Taylor said the council had thought those term limits would apply to the mayor as well but that the city attorney told them that if they wanted to put such limits on the mayor they’d have to bring it to residents to vote.
Currently, the mayor can serve unlimited terms of four years apiece.
Taylor said the city may also look at returning the mayor’s seat to a rotating one year position like other cities and creating a fifth election district in the city.
“We’d have to redistrict. It would be sometime in the future. It’s not anything that’s going to happen tomorrow,” he said. “I do believe that there would be support for that. I think even the mayor would support that.”
Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.
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