Even before voters have the opportunity to decide on the fate of a new term limits law in San Joaquin County, the courts will weigh in. An opponent to the initiative says the wording in the measure was designed to mislead voters.

Measure D would give members of the Board of Supervisors three terms instead of two. The current limit has been in place in 1998. However, the way the iniaitive question was written for the ballot leaves off the history of term limits in the County. Instead, it reads “Shall an ordinance be adopted that limits the number of terms a person may serve on the Board of Supervisors and County Board of Education to three (3) terms during his or her lifetime?”

Dean Andal, who has been a longtime supporter of term limits, says that the measure reads as if it would impose a first-ever term limit, instead of allowing current supervisors an extra term. Instead, he’s proposed language that would include the term “retroactively impose” and “extend.”

However, members of the Board and supporters of the initiative say that it’s important to allow institutional memory to stay with the county just a bit longer. San Joaquin Supervisors often have to deal with complex issues including water and labor. It can take nearly a full-term or longer to grasp all the nuances of the debate. Shortly thereafter, they can be termed out of office.

From the Stockton Record:

An opponent of a November ballot measure that would extend term limits for members of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors has filed a lawsuit challenging the language of the ballot measure, calling it misleading and ambiguous.

Voters in 1998 limited supervisors and members of the county Board of Education to two terms in office. This year’s Measure D asks San Joaquin County voters to extend that limit to three terms.

But that history isn’t in the language of Measure D, which would give voters the impression that the ballot measure was adding new term limits, instead of expanding existing ones, according to the lawsuit filed by Dean Andal, a longtime advocate for term limits in Stockton and San Joaquin County.

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