The Studio City Neighborhood Council voted to end their own term limits that members can serve—just before the council holds its own elections again in September.
But one member, Jeff Carter, expressed concern about the vote, and suggested that it was a conflict of interest, and potentially against the U.S. Constitution.
In a vote late Wednesday night at a Supplemental Board Meeting, the council voted 10-1 to do away with restrictions that prevents a person from serving more than three consecutive terms. Their original rules say that a person can return to the board after being off at least one year.
“Apart from the issues of good old-fashioned fair play, there are also issues here under our United States Constitution as to equal protection and due process,” Carter said at the meeting. “And, this board, as a public governmental body, is directly and clearly subject to that Constitution. It is quite likely, I believe, that the equal protection and due process rights of potential candidates and all stakeholders will be substantially and negatively affected by this motion's passage.”
Each Neighborhood Council is allowed to come up with their own by-laws and this recent motion came from the committee headed by Ron Taylor. The city delayed regularly-scheduled elections and now Studio City will be among the first of the councils to hold elections again for these citizen advisory boards, which distributes about $45,000 a year for local community needs.
Only two sitting members would directly be prevented from running again if the rules were not changed— former council president Ben Neumann and treasurer Remy Kessler.
Kessler said, “Nobody wants to do this forever.”
President John Walker said, “I hope and encourage anyone who wants to run for these positions will do so. I hope we have a lot of candidates.”
Bur Carter has concerns about the vote, and fears it may hamper the upcoming elections.
“Should this council, having had term limits since its creation 10 years ago, delete those limits now and effective immediately and only four months before an election and thus remove those current term limits on current members who are tonight voting on the removal of the very limits that would otherwise prohibit them from running in that election just four short months from now?” Carter said.
“I have given this much thought and have the utmost respect for the views of all of the board members on this resolution. But do we need to consider: What is best for some? What is best for many? Or, what is best the community? The resolution calls for the end of term limits now. Not after the elections.”
Carter said, “Every organization needs to be refreshed. None of us own these seats. None of us are indispensable. None of us are infallible.”