The proposal would limit terms of the five supervisors to two
four-year terms. It would also take away power to draw boundaries of
their districts and give it to a three-member commission randomly
selected from 88 nominees of the county's cities.
Skinnell, a Crescenta Valley High School graduate, said he is pushing
for the reform after seeking how the supervisors work. He said there is
growing dissatisfaction with them in the county.
"A study came out a couple of years ago that said the county in not in
good shape fiscally," Skinnell said. "They aren't terribly responsive to
people, and its hard to do that when you are constantly running for
Supervisors represent about 2 million people in their district, which
is bigger than 17 states, Skinnell said. It cost so much money to run a
campaign to defeat them that they face little competition, he said.
Supervisor Mike Antonovich, whose district includes Glendale, has gone
on the offensive to fight the proposal by issuing a news release.
Spokesman Cam Currier said he doesn't think voters will approve the
measure if it makes it on the ballot.
"He believes the voters right now have the right to turn anyone out of
office every four years. They shouldn't have that choice taken away from
them," said Currier who was speaking for an unavailable Antonovich.
Antonovich, who earns $117,912 a year, is ending his first term in
office in December 2000. No incumbent supervisor who was elected has been
defeated in an election in 20 years.
The push to get the measure on the bill is an uphill challenge because
197,000 signatures of registered voters are needed.
Skinnell said he is optimistic voters would approve the measure
because they are overwhelmingly in favor of term limits, which are used
for state offices.
The second ballot measure is also intended to reduce the power of
supervisors, which now set boundaries by a four-fifths vote. Incumbents
secure their power base by choosing who votes for them, Skinnell said.
Currier said having a commission select district removes
Vasken Yardemian, president of the Crescenta Valley Town Council,
which advises Antonovich, said the board will be discussing the ballot
initiatives at an upcoming meeting. He declined to say what he thinks at
Beside Skinnell's ballot efforts, there has been a push, which has
since dropped by state Sen. Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles), to have
voters increase the size of the board. Supervisors, however, are
considering placing a measure on the November ballot that would expand
the size of the board from five to nine members, a Polanco spokesman
Antonovich opposes the board expansion.
"This political charade does not add one more sheriff's deputy,
firefighter, child abuse worker, library or park to the county. It only
adds more politicians," Antonovich said in a prepared statement.
Skinnell's petitions are available by calling (909) 607-7568.