BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — High-profile congressional races and statewide ballot initiatives often get the most attention in the lead-up to elections. But this year, voters in Kern will see a measure on the ballot that could bring big changes to the way our county government has operated for years.
Just outside the County Administrative building on Tuesday, a group of activists called We are Kern County celebrated a consequential step in its push to impose term limits on County Supervisors. Its measure holding Supervisors to two four-year terms received over 22,000 signatures and officially secured its place on the November ballot.
“I put my name on the initiative for a reason and it’s because we do need change in Kern County,” Sandy Moreno, Kern resident and term limit measure proponent, said. “We need people with new voices, new experiences.”
Meanwhile, inside the Board meeting chambers, Supervisors considered term limit initiatives of their own. At Tuesday’s Board meeting, Supervisors heard three options for a competing measure they could place on the ballot. One proposed no term limits at all and the two others suggested two or three terms but allowed Supervisors to run again after a four-year hiatus.
“I also think we should have at least one other option that would allow for longer, more years of service and a hiatus that would allow people to come back,” David Couch, 4th District Supervisor, said.
Chairman of the Board and 2nd District Supervisor Zack Scrivner said he is against term limits but doesn’t think the Board should propose its own initiative to avoid confusing voters that all the Supervisors think term limits are a good idea.
“When you lose that institutional knowledge of an elected official who has been there for a period of time, you are relying on appointed bureaucrats rather than the elected officials who are there to represent the public,” Scrivner said.
Ultimately, the Board voted unanimously to take no action and hold off on placing a competing initiative on the ballot.
That means We are Kern County’s initiative limiting Supervisors to a lifetime total of 8 years in office will be the only term limit measure on the ballot and it will be up to Kern voters to choose yes or no in November.
“‘All of our hard work from months ago is finally paying off,” Moreno said.
Every Supervisor on the Board except for one has already served at least two terms in office.