Bakersfield · Politics

Initiative to impose term limits on Kern Co. Supes set for November ballot

An initiative to set term limits on the Kern County Board of Supervisors is officially headed to the November ballot. 

Tuesday, Kern County Registrar of Voters Mary Bedard appeared in front of the Board of Supervisors to confirm that enough signatures have been verified from the petition to send the initiative to the November ballot. 

If voters pass the initiative, the supervisors will be limited to two four-year terms each. 

Bedard revealed to the board that the county received 28,226 verified signatures. 

Of that total, 21,951 were found sufficient, just edging the threshold of 21,338 needed to qualify the initiative for the ballot. 

The supervisors could have placed the initiative on the ballot Tuesday, but Supervisor David Couch made a request to receive a report from county staff on the initiative, which was supported unanimously by the council. 

Requesting the report does not slow down the approval process or prevent the initiative from going before voters. 

Board Chairman Zack Scrivner said the initiative will come back before the board on July 19, at which time it will be officially placed on the ballot. 

The confirmation from Bedard caps a several-months-long process from the coalition called We Are Kern County, led by a pair of unions – United Domestic Workers of America and Service Employees International Union Local 521 – to push the initiative through the community. 

One of the leaders of We Are Kern County and a named proponent on the initiative is Sandy Moreno, a home care provider in Kern County. 

“Homelessness is increasing. Social services are suffering, and many residents are worried about crime and public safety. That’s why so many folks in Kern County signed a petition for term limits. We don’t want things to continue to get worse. We want new voices with new solutions. Change is healthy for governments, and the time for change has come,” Moreno said in her address to the board during public comment. 

“The over 26,000 term limits petition signatures that we collected are proof that this county is ready for change. I’m a proponent of the term limits because I know that we can do better. We can elect a leadership that reflects all of us and invest in our local economies. This county wants the opportunity to vote on term limits to help build that leadership.”

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.