This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Orange County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Measure I
Term Limits
City of Fountain Valley

Majority Approval Required

17389 / 73.9% Yes votes ...... 6128 / 26.1% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall term limits be imposed on Fountain Valley City Council Members?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
The proposed measure would impose term limits on Fountain Valley City Council Members. The proposed measure provides that Council Members may not serve more than three consecutive full terms. A "term" is four years. If a Council Member has served three consecutive full terms (12 years), he/she must take a two-year break in service before again serving as a Council Member. As required by law, this ordinance only applies prospectively, and only terms of office commenced after November 2, 2004, are counted in calculating the term limits. A General Law city such as Fountain Valley has only been authorized to have voter-approved term limits since state law changed in 1995.

Suggest a link related to Measure I
Links to sources outside of Smart Voter are provided for information only and do not imply endorsement.

Arguments For Measure I Arguments Against Measure I
Please vote YES on this ordinance which establishes term limits for city council members to three-consecutive terms (or 12 years). There are many good reasons to support city council term limits.
1. Term limits will provide a greater opportunity for all interested citizens to become more involved in city government by encouraging fresh ideas and insuring that an elite circle does not govern Fountain Valley.
2. Term limits would increase the responsiveness of city government by eliminating the long-term incumbent who may have become complacent, assuming, non-responsive, or uncaring to the opinions of the voters.
3. In 1984, a huge majority (66%) of Fountain Valley citizens voted to approve term limits. That decision was never enforced. But today, a new state law guarantees that the city of Fountain Valley must enforce our decision if we again Vote YES on term limits.
4. Any long-term city council incumbent has an advantage when running for office that others don't have. Term limits will level the playing field.
5. If those who serve on the city council for 12 years truly believe that they are indispensable, then they may simply sit-out a term and then run again as a non-incumbent, in accordance with this proposed ordinance.
6. Finally, we should remember that our nation's founders believed that our elected representatives should be temporary legislators, not permanent politicians. Our President, the Governor, and even State Legislators are subject to term-limit laws. Why should your city council play by different rules? I urge a YES vote on Term Limits.

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Term Limits are not needed in Fountain Valley! Here's some more reasons why: Fresh ideas are a reflection of attitude not longevity! If an incumbent becomes "...uncaring to the opinions of the voters." then the voters can "vote" them out of office. An incumbents "name advantage" is balanced with his/her "performance record". (Most of the current council were first elected by beating incumbents.) The argument that Term Limits will ensure that " elite circle does not govern Fountain Valley." is an exaggeration and misleading. Most proponents of Term Limits are driven by "political" motivation not "good government". When Fountain Valley term limits was voted on in the 1980's its purpose was to get rid of one particular council member. It was never enacted because the courts held it illegal. Term Limits doesn't "level the playing field". It removes talented and proven players from your team. The argument that our nation's founders believed in term limits is another exaggeration and is absolutely false. The framers of the Constitution debated term limits and wisely rejected them, choosing instead to force holders of public trust to face the voters regularly for re-election. If the proponents of Term Limits want to rest their case on the success of Term Limits in Sacramento, then they are not paying attention to the mess in Sacramento caused by "short term" thinking. Term limits has proven to be a cure worse than the disease. Keep Fountain Valley "a nice place to live". Vote NO on Term Limits!
"Term Limits" is a limit on your most fundamental freedom, the right to vote. Term limits violate two bedrock principles of democracy: citizens' right vote for the candidate they choose and citizens' right to run for office. If Fountain Valley residents believe that a Council member is not doing good job then they can vote them out of office. If they are happy with Council member's performance and the way the city is run, then they can re-elect them for another term. Term limits says the merit of an elected official's performance is not important as the time of service. It treats the experience of that person not only worthless but also counterproductive. It says the best candidate becomes the worst after 3 terms and should not be even considered reelection no matter how happy residents are about the way the city is run. Experience is considered a valuable asset in every profession, job, activity. Could a business prosper if its top management were automatically ousted regularly, regardless of their performance? Term limit proponents argue that "fresh ideas" can only come from a new person. FRESH IDEAS ARE A REFLECTION OF ATTITUDE NOT LONGEVITY. The experience of one individual can create as many or more "new ideas" as the naivete of another. A non-incumbent candidate runs for office on "promises and potential. " incumbent runs for re-election on his or her accomplishments and past performance. Even prior ardent supporters of Term Limits admit it has failed in many other communities. The impact of Term Limits on a city the size of Fountain Valley could be very negative! WE ALREADY HAVE A PROVEN WAY TO LIMIT TERMS. IT'S CALLED ELECTIONS AND IT HAPPENS AT THE BALLOT BOX. VOTE NO ON MEASURE I

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
This Measure (ordinance, initiative), is in the best interests of the Citizens of Fountain Valley. The opponents of this measure ignore the advantage of being an incumbent. In the 47-year history of our city, only two incumbent Council members have ever been defeated in a regular election. Long term and unlimited terms of office are an invitation to the establishment of special interest coalitions and power blocks. This Measure ensures a fair procedure for orderly change. Twelve years of service is not a short time to serve and does not constitute rapid turnover. Effective Council members can accomplish their goals in a shorter time Stability in a City Manager form of government depends on full time professional employees, not on long-term professional politicians. To the contrary, long-term politicians have a tendency to become complacent and non-responsive. City Council members are not elected to serve on county, state and federal boards. They are elected to serve Fountain Valley citizens and it should be noted that the signatories of the Argument against Fountain Valley city council term limits are either currently serving or have served as elected city council members, and no other organized citizen group have come forward to oppose this measure. I again respectfully urge a YES vote.

Orange Home Page || Statewide Links || About Smart Voter || Feedback
Created: December 15, 2004 13:32 PST
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.