Friday, September 24, 2021 – 08:00 a.m.
A Superior Judge has set aside Measure K, a voter-approved ballot measure to limit the terms of office and cut the compensation for members of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.
Last week, Superior Court Judge Donald Alvarez declared a one term limit provision contained in voter-approved Measure K, passed by voters in November 2020, as unconstitutional in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Alvarez further ruled that combining the term limit provision with an annual compensation limit of $60,000 violated California’s single-subject rule for ballot measures.
Normally ballot measures must cover a single-subject to avoid precisely what has occurred with Measure K.
It’s impossible to determine what aspect of Measure K, as written, persuaded a person to vote in favor. Was it term limits? Was it the compensation cap? or Was it both? Would the lack of term limits change the vote result?
In this case the court determined the two issues were inextricably intertwined therefore the unconstitutional term limits language tanked the compensation cap.
The decision essentially ends the measure unless an appellate court determines otherwise. As of the writing of this article a notice of appeal has already been filed in Division Two of the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Riverside.
Assembly Bill 428, currently sitting on Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk, would prohibit a single term limit of office, such as what’s proposed in Measure K. But it would not prohibit voter-approved pay limits in a charter county, like San Bernardino.
Measure K is the brainchild of Wrightwood Millionaire Eric Steinmann, who makes his fortune leasing property for cellular phone towers in multiple states.
Steinmann has had an ongoing beef with county supervisors for years, and had been threatening for some time to bring a ballot measure forward to punish supervisors. Campaign finance records show Steinmann, for the most part, single-handedly funded the campaign to pass the measure using a front entity named The Red Brennan Group.