Angling for a possible third term in office, county Supervisor John Moorlach invoked everyone from the Founding Fathers to former state Assemblyman Willie Brown on Tuesday, but his colleagues refused to play along.
On a 3-2 vote, they shot down Moorlach's proposal for a June ballot measure that could have extended supervisor term limits from two consecutive four-year terms to a lifetime maximum of three terms.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," Supervisor Bill Campbell said. "There are plenty of good people out there to run for this office."
Moorlach, who represents Rossmoor, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach and Fountain Valley, has been hinting for weeks that he wished he could run again when his second term expires in 2014.
“It takes time to build networks and have good relationships in Sacramento and D.C. You lose that when someone walks out the door after eight years,” . The current system leaves OC officials at a political disadvantage against neighboring counties with longer tenures, he said.
At Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, Moorlach expanded his argument, saying California's experiment with term limits -- originally inspired by voter frustration over Willie Brown's reign as Assembly speaker -- had backfired to some extent.
He also noted that America's Founding Fathers trusted voters to decide when it was time to kick someone out of office.
But Moorlach's colleagues mostly disagreed, as did one of two audience members who spoke before the vote.
Jon Fleischman of Rancho Santa Margarita, a conservative blogger, urged the board not to weaken term limits, reminding them, "You guys signed up for two terms when you ran for office."
A few weeks ago, . In an unscientific poll, the vast majority – 65 percent – said they favored a two-term maximum. Only 10 percent favored an extension.
Clarification: An earlier version of this article said Moorlach "has been saying for weeks that he doesn't want to step down when his second term expires in 2014." In an email newsletter sent Wednesday, Moorlach disputed that characterization as "cynical," saying he merely wanted voters to decide if term limits should be extended.