Reeve: San Juan Capistrano Should Have Term Limits

His proposal would have City Council members serving no more than two consecutive terms.

San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Derek Reeve. Photo courtesy of Derek Reeve.
San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Derek Reeve. Photo courtesy of Derek Reeve.

San Juan Capistrano City Council members should be subject to term limits, says Councilman Derek Reeve.

He’s proposing his fellow councilmen consider adopting term limits at their next meeting.

"Interestingly about 10 years ago I was opposed to term limits. Over the years however, I have experienced the 'institutionalization' of city councilmembers to county-wide politics," Reeve said "Big special interest money floods into the campaign coffers of incumbents along with a tangled web of competing loyalties.

"This advantage of incumbents over challengers reduces fair competition and leads eventually to a distance between the people and their public servants," Reeve said. "Loyalties should be entirely concentrated to the public servants constituents."

In his letter to council members, Reeve cites a term limits law from Laguna Niguel. It says:

[a] No person shall hold office as a member of the city council if such person has served on the city council for two consecutive terms, unless he or she, has subsequent to the completion of his or her last term, been out of office as a member of the city council for at least two years.

[b] If a person serves for at least two years of a term, that person for purposes of subsection (a) shall be considered to have served a full four-year term.

[c] The term limits established by this section shall be applicable to all terms of office for members of the city council commencing with the terms for members of the city council elected at the November 4, 2014, city general municipal election

The City Council meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 32400 Paseo Adelanto in San Juan Capistrano. 


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Donald Glasgow January 17, 2014 at 02:27 PM
All cities should have term limits for those who serve as elected officials including San Clemente. Mix in new blood and new ideas.
Shripathi Kamath January 17, 2014 at 02:53 PM
Aren't elections good enough to limit terms? Don't like a politician, vote him/her out. Like the job someone is doing? Vote him/her in every single time. ___________________________________________________ "Big special interest money floods into the campaign coffers of incumbents along with a tangled web of competing loyalties." ___________________________________________________ Yes, and? The Supreme Court has ruled that money is speech for these purposes, protected by 1A. If people want to elect Mr. Reeve for two decades, why should they not be allowed to do so? If Mr. Reeve does not want to be a council member for two decades, well, he can always quit. "Special interest" is just code for "not what I want" anyway. Big money already buys elections, the real problem is that the money is not really that big. The presidency of the US can be (and was bought) for a mere billion. Local elections probably cost a lot less to buy.
Whiskey Bent January 17, 2014 at 03:46 PM
I for one think it’s a great idea and long overdo.
Tornado Johnson January 17, 2014 at 04:46 PM
Term limits are a great idea. Even the President of the United States has term limits. I am sure Sam Allevato/San Juan Cares would be against term limits.
Mechelle Lawrence Adams January 17, 2014 at 06:41 PM
Let democracy set the limits. We need regional seniority on inter jurisdictional boards and regional commissions. The automatic removal of experienced leaders who have rightfully been elected by a majority puts SJC in a start over position when dealing with agencies. Experience in understanding and speaking on issues is important. And forces second term candidates that are doing a good job by the estimation of the majority to redirect their focus on seeking higher office and fundraising. It has large potential impacts on making cities with smaller populations at even more disadvantage when working on issues that cut across boundaries. I for one believe in the power of the vote. Not government's greater regulations.
Gus Gunderson January 17, 2014 at 09:40 PM
Mechelle of course you would be against it. You are a Sam Allevato/San Juan Cares supporter. What is wrong with limiting the amount of time a person may serve? What is wrong with getting fresh blood and fresh ideas on the City Council? As a previous poster pointed out, even our highest elected official may only serve for eight years. Isn't that the democratic way?
Whiskey Bent January 17, 2014 at 10:24 PM
Thank you Mechelle, now we know Sam Allevato's position.
Jim Reardon January 17, 2014 at 10:43 PM
"No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once." -- The 22nd Amendment was an impulse of more than three-fourths of our states, ratified in the Legislatures of each. It is hardly a radical democratic idea. What should be of more interest is why people believe it to be necessary.
Shripathi Kamath January 17, 2014 at 11:49 PM
The equivalent of the 22nd amendment was not applied to members of Congress. Why? Why is it a good idea for the President, but has not been for senators or house reps? So yes, it is of interest to address why people may want it. Thus far, the thrust of the argument besides simple assertion appears to be it being difficult to beat incumbents. Which, I have addressed above. Briefly, if a council member is doing well, why should he or she be forced out,when you can vote her out? Use the First Amendment,convince people that you don't think someone you think is corrupted by special interests is worthy of being re-elected. Besides, special interest groups can choose the replacement just as well if they are that powerful. You want to limit someone's influence, vote him out. Convince people that your ideas are better than his, and that he does not deserve to be representing them. People would have loved having Reagan or Clinton a third time, and they had enough of Carter and Ford after just one at bat.
Jim Reardon January 18, 2014 at 12:20 AM
It's funny that you should bring up the First Amendment in connection with San Juan Capistrano.
Don_SJC January 18, 2014 at 12:44 AM
If the aim is new blood, why restrict it to being reelected to the same office and why let candidates back in after 2 years. If you hold an elected office once then you can never run for another elected office again. Would you support that Mr Reardon?
Donna Fleming January 18, 2014 at 11:39 AM
Term limits is a great idea. Serving in the city government was never meant to be a career.
Tornado Johnson January 18, 2014 at 06:17 PM
Of course you could run for another office Don_sjc, just not the same one silly.
Don_SJC January 18, 2014 at 08:59 PM
I'm sorry "Tornado" but what is your rationale for letting them run for another office? If elected office inevitably leads to a person's corruption, why would you allow them to continue to peddle their corruption, just in a different office? It's inconsistent with the stated goals (fresh blood, less outside influence) others have laid out here in favor of the proposal.
Tornado Johnson January 18, 2014 at 09:20 PM
"Don", why shouldn't someone be able to run for another office? They just could not run for another office that they have been termed out of. If someone is corrupt wouldn't the legal system take care of that?
Don_SJC January 18, 2014 at 09:35 PM
TJ, that made me laugh. You realize you just made the same point as Shri right? There is no need for term limits because the system already has mechanisms (like DAs to fight corruption and democratic elections where the incumbent can be thrown out by the voters).
Don_SJC January 18, 2014 at 10:19 PM
The more I think about this the more rotten it sounds. How can Derek Reeve who is up for re-election this year to what would be his second term propose a rule that would not affect him in this election but would eliminate his most formidable opponents in that election. That is farcical! No wonder he was against term limits before but has now "seen the light". It's blatant self-interest and about as undemocratic a thing as one could imagine.
Tornado Johnson January 18, 2014 at 10:38 PM
Don_sjc you are so silly. John Taylor and Larry Kramer both have one term under their belt as does Derek Reeve. So who then could be the most "formidable opponent"?
Don_SJC January 18, 2014 at 11:09 PM
Allevato. If they can't get him out via the recall, they'll get him out with a term limit. Thanks for making me think about this further Tornado because it just occurred to me that the rule Derek proposes even gives his pal Byrnes a pass because the term clock gets reset if you spent two years on the sidelines. I can't imagine how his proposed rule could be any more self-serving! I was joking before that the rule should be "one and done" but frankly if Reeve is going to propose term limits then it needs to be one term and then no more. I wonder if he would still be in favor of that?
Tornado Johnson January 18, 2014 at 11:26 PM
Why don't you ask him ?
Don_SJC January 18, 2014 at 11:44 PM
Because it was a rhetorical question. The answer is he wouldn't like it. No politician would.
Donna Fleming January 19, 2014 at 12:30 PM
Serving on the town city council is not supposed to be for career politicians. It used to be community voluteering their time. Now it is a paid (nominal) position. Allevato has turned San Juan into his little kingdom and is working it. We need one term limits to avoid any one person using and abusing that much power.
Whiskey Bent January 19, 2014 at 01:18 PM
Don, it's rude to ask for an answer to a question than answer the question for that person. Someone should just email him or ask at the council meeting. Penny do you know how this would work? Would Allevato be prevented from running again?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) January 19, 2014 at 01:23 PM
I don't know anything more than the plain language above. Seems like this would prevent Allevato from running again in 2016.
Tornado Johnson January 19, 2014 at 02:05 PM
Thank God!
Donna Fleming January 19, 2014 at 03:01 PM
Thank God again.
Christie January 19, 2014 at 11:48 PM
Wouldn't it be nice to have a limit to campaign spending and have public debates on the issues? Not treading upon free speech, perhaps a new format of could eliminate/reduce the campaign signage around town. Debates are an effective way of learning about candidates. It does not permit for attacks to go unaddressed due to lack of funding. It limits the effectiveness of special interests to influence perception. There is something refreshing about discussing ideas. It would keep the town free of promotional literature, and hopefully our mailboxes free of atrocious mailers. These debates could be held at City Hall and the video can be accessed from the privacy and comfort of one's home.
Shripathi Kamath January 20, 2014 at 12:26 AM
Christie January 19, 2014 at 11:48 PM Wouldn't it be nice to have a limit to campaign spending and have public debates on the issues? ___________________________________________________ No on the first, yes on the second. In a sense you are asking for limits of how much free speech one is allowed to indulge in, and simultaneously asking for more from both sides, but in a regulated fashion. Free speech is the best means we have to field competing ideas. Obviously the problem is that "free" does not equate to "true" in which case people will suffer for not taking the time to decipher one from the other. The only change I want to see with regards to campaign contributions is making the list of donors a matter of public record. In many cases this is already the norm. If Jill Politician gets a million bucks from a single donor who wants elements of Sharia Law introduced into public policy, great. Let us know the name of this donor, and we can decide whether we like that. If we do not decide wisely, well, we get the government we deserve. _________________________________________________ Besides, how would you monitor this campaign funding? Let's say you are a supporter of Mr. Reeve. If you are a rich person who loves his ideas, how can any legislation stop you from attacking his opponents through ad-buys or even supporting him directly, when you have 1A? Which government agency will monitor this, and how'll they be funded without seriously arbitrary or cumbersome regulations that everyone keep asking government to not impose? ___________________________________________________ "It limits the effectiveness of special interests to influence perception." ___________________________________________________ But what counts as a special interest? A developer wanting to build a high-rise next to a historical monument? Adult toy shops wanting to fill a market need in a city that has none? A group of retirees wanting no parking in their neighborhood for the nearby shopping center? In the end, it depends on whose ox is getting gored. But at the simplest level, they are all special interests. ___________________________________________________ I do support your idea of having lots of debates. The trouble is that unless more citizens participate and attend these, most candidates would not care to attend, or if they do, make any committal statements.
Christie January 20, 2014 at 04:07 PM
Shri, you made some very good points. It is disappointing that there is a low level of investigation which voters are willing to invest before making decisions which frequently have great impact. I prefer honest discussion of ideas and often we humans are not up to the task. It takes a special something to remove emotion from decision making. Thanks for taking time give your input.


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