Measure D – A Two-Year Mayoral Term: The Argument In Favor

The most contentious local measure on the June ballot will be Measure D – a measure to change the mayor’s term from four to two years, based on the recommendation of the Charter Review Committee.

Following is the Argument in Favor that voters will receive in the sample ballots. I’ll be posting the Argument Against and the rebuttals against both arguments. Let the debate begin!

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE D

If there’s one thing voters want from their elected leaders, it’s greater accountability. Measure D does that for Anaheim’s most important elected position – our Mayor. Please vote YES.

Unlike many initiatives, Measure D is simple and straightforward. It changes the term of office for Mayor from 4 years to 2 years, and applies the city’s term limits fairly to the Mayor.

That’s it.

While the Mayor would still be able to serve for up to eight consecutive years, changing the term of office for Mayor from 4 years to 2 years makes the Mayor more accountable to voters by requiring him or her to stand before Anaheim voters every two years and convince them they deserve re-election.

If the Mayor is doing well, it shouldn’t be a problem for them to ask the voters for another term in office every two years, should it? 

And if the Mayor’s doing a bad job, shouldn’t we have the right to vote them out of office sooner? It just makes sense.

The members of the Anaheim Charter Review Commission nearly unanimously recommended this change after consulting with good government experts and other cities in Orange County with directly-elected mayors – all of whom have a two-year term of office. Don’t Anaheim voters deserve the same level of increased accountability cities like Irvine and Orange enjoy with their directly-elected Mayors? We think so. Yes on D does that.

The most vocal opponents of Measure D are those who don’t want increased accountability in the Mayor’s office. That’s no surprise, but we disagree. In fact, two-year terms are very common for elected offices across our state and nation.

Measure D is a straightforward measure that increases accountability for our directly-elected Mayor. That’s a good thing. Please join us in voting YES on Measure D.

Todd Ament, President, Anaheim Chamber & Chairman, Charter Review Commission

Gloria Ma’ae, Anaheim Charter Review Commission

30 comments

  1. Shirley McCracken

    Neither Mr. Ament and nor Mrs. Ma’ae have run a campaign for office or served as an elected official. They have no idea the time and effort needed and how much it distracts from the responsibilities of the office if a mayor were to run for election every two years. It was tried before and rejected.. Also, as mayor of the tenth largest city responsibilities are more than a Tuesday council meeting. Anaheim mayor serves in other capacities and influence is far reaching. Anaheim’s leadership in the state is diluted by a short term mayor who is running a campaign at least a fourth of the time.

    • Running for office every two years is not overly burdensome….every member of the California state assembly and every member of the united states house of representatives runs every two years. Here in Anaheim we have seen the California state Assembly Speaker Curt Pringle run on a two year schedule. And of course, the speaker of the state assembly has a lot more responsibilities than the mayor of Anaheim.

      And right now we see our own Congressman Ed Royce …. Who is the the chairman of the foreign affairs Committee in the house of representatives. That is an incredibly tough job, particularly now, with all of the many foreign crises. But Ed can handle his job and his re-election efforts on a two-year schedule.

      I think we put too much focus on the part time job of Anaheim mayor. And Ms. McCracken thinks that this position should have a four-year term, longer than that of the speaker of the state assembly, or of a congressman who chairs a very important committee, or of every other directly-elected mayor in Orange county.

      I don’t think that mayor’s job is all that challenging.

      • GREAT POINT.

        If you want Anaheim to be more like Congress and the State Assembly, vote for this change.

        There are two fine examples of efficiency in government. Well done, CMG.

        • Longtime Resident

          Tait uses this analogy every time he advocates for districts in Anaheim. So given your response, you should be opposed to districts in Anaheim.

          • I haven’t made up my mind on districting, but there’s a substantial difference between discussing a two year cycle and its link to fund raising activity and reducing the pool that a candidate must canvas to adequately represent the constituency.

            In this case, the two bodies cited (and the candidates actually) spend MASSIVE amounts of money every two years. It’s become so bad that campaigning and campaign staffing are now permanent positions. You make up your own mind if that’s a good thing for a municipality: A full time campaigner on the dais.

            If you want to make an argument for how this ties into districting, you’re going to have to do better than they have the same name.

            • Matthew Cunningham

              The “full time campaigner” argument doesn’t hold water. This is Anaheim, not Los Angeles. Judging from the experience other OC cities that have two-year mayoral terms, that claim has no basis in fact.

              The amount of time candidates devote to fundraising is driven more by the personalities of the candidates than the length of their terms. In Orange, Mayor Tita Smith – serving a 2-year term – had her first re-election fundraiser two weeks ago.

              Some councilmembers, serving four year terms, schedule quite a few fundraisers. Some hold only a few.

              • Shot in the dark . . .

                Average cost of a race in Orange?

                Anaheim… ?

                • Matthew Cunningham

                  The cost is higher in Anaheim, of course. But not enough to support your contention that a two-year term would require the mayor to constantly be fundraising. If the charter amendment passes, will Tom Tait constantly be fundraising? No. He hates fundraising. He’s had four fundraisers in three-and-a-half years – and you want be to believe that if it goes to a two-year term he will suddenly go into a whirlwind of non-stop fundraising?

                  What you miss, and I’ll chalk it up to your relative inexperience in local politics, is that most local elected officials do less fundraising than you would think – and even less than they ought to even when faced with competitive races.

                  Also, a mayor who is good at fundraising could raise a sufficient warchest without constant campaigning. In 2005, prior to his re-election campaign, Mayor Curt Pringle raised $350,000 in a single fundraiser – enough to scare off potential challengers. He could have done the same thing under a two-year term regime.

                  You also miss the value of of being on the ballot more frequently. Successive re-elections every two-years boosts name ID and voter loyalty, and requires potential challengers to raise even more money than they would otherwise in order to have a chance of toppling the incumbent.

                  The “full-time campaigner” argument has superficial appeal, but it doesn’t really hold up under the lens of experience.

  2. I’ve respected Shirley McCracken for years and she is entitled to her opinion but running for or holding political office should not be a prerequisite for having an opinion on this issue. Both of these individuals represented residents on the Charter Review Committee and studied the options. Both have been engaged in Anaheim while Mayor Tait has worked to drive our city into the ground. Given the city may be carved up into districts because of Tait and the office of mayor will be the only office that still represents the city at large, making sure this office is accountable to the electorate every two years is a necessary check and balance. I will be voting in favor of this measure to strengthen term limits!

  3. Ridiculous!
    Mayor is the Executive and most elected Executives like Governor and President and even Mayor are elected to a four year term.
    Anaheim voters should be wise to vote down this proposal.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      That’s factually wrong, Allen. The mayor of Anaheim is not an executive.

      Anaheim, like every other Orange County city,has a council-city manager form of government. The city manager of the executive – not the mayor.

      So your Mayor-President analogy is faulty.

      • #FAIL.

        Who does the City Manager work for, Matt?

        • What city departments report directly to Tait?

          • I believe the City Manager and the City Attorney report directly to the council, who solely hold vested executive authority for the city– which is delegated back down to the CM to administer.

            Matt is correct that the mayor doesn’t solely hold executive authority like the examples cited; but he tripped over the finish line assigning that authority to the CM. The mayor, by charter, retains the role of representing the city, which is a traditional role of the Executive branch.

            Ticky tack, but we can’t let that stuff slip!

            • Matthew Cunningham

              “The Mayor shall be the official head of the City for ceremonial purposes.”

              That’s from the Anaheim City Charter, Ryan.

              The mayor, in terms of statutory power, is no more an executive than is the Queen of England.

              It’s not “ticky-tack” just because it works against where you’re coming from.

              • Less so than the Queen– but the Queen IS in fact the head of government.

                Thanks for proving the point. But again– ticky tack. We have better discussions on the floor.

            • Matthew Cunningham

              In fact, Ryan, the charter prohibits the mayor or councilmembers from giving direction to city employees. They can express their wishes to the city manager.

              Not exactly the stuff of being an executive.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          #STRAWMAN

          The council, Ryan. Nobody said he/she didn’t.

          But that doesn’t make the mayor an executive position.

          • Dude, not a strawman, but whatever.

            See above. I didn’t say the mayor is THE executive authority. I said the CM isn’t.

  4. The city manager works for the entire council. The mayor cannot fire the city manager on his own without two more votes. We have a two year mayoral term in Irvine and it works just fine

  5. Longtime Resident

    There is a two-year mayoral term in every other city in OC with a directly elected Mayor. Only Tait’s sycophants are opposed.

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