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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
March 3, 2020 — Primary Election

City of Indian Wells
Measure J Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

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Resultados electorales

Se aprueba

1,171 votos si (61.2%)

742 votos no (38.8%)

100% de distritos activos (2/2).

1,988 boletas electorales serán contadas.

Shall an ordinance be adopted amending Section 2.08.045 of the Indian Wells Municipal Code to establish a two-term lifetime limit on City Council service?

¿Qué es esta propuesta?

Información básica sobre la iniciativa de ley — Información oficial sobre esta iniciativa

Análisis del analista legislativo / Proposal

On November 2, 2010, Indian Wells voters approved Measure “Q”, which established the City’s current term limits on City Council service. (Indian Wells Municipal Code, section 2.08.045) Currently, a City Council Member may serve two consecutive four -year terms, after which time the City Council Member must step down and wait two years before seeking re­election to City Council office. However, any person appointed by the City Council to fill a vacant City Council office and who serves in that office for less than four (4) years remains eligible to serve two consecutive four-year terms thereafter.

Measure “J” would amend the City’s term limits on City Council service, as detailed below. Measure “J” qualified as a citizens’ petition initiative. The City Council determined that Measure “J” obtained sufficient petition signatures to qualify for the ballot under State law and, on December 5, 2019, placed it on the March 3, 2020 special election ballot.

Measure “J” would amend IWMC section 2.08.045 by establishing a two-term lifetime limit on City Council service. No person would be eligible to serve more than two four -year terms during his or her lifetime, including full four-year terms to which the person was appointed to office by the City Council in lieu of an election pursuant to State law due to lack of candidates filing nomination papers. Measure “J” would apply to City Council terms to which a person was formally nominated or to which a person was nominated as a write-in candidate.

However, any person appointed by the City Council to fill a mid-term vacancy in a City Council office and who serves in that office for less than two years (less than half of a standard Council term) will remain eligible to serve two full four-year terms during his or her lifetime. If a person serves for two (2) years or longer to fill a vacant City Council office, that vacancy term will count as a four-year term against the lifetime limit for that person.

Measure “J” prohibits the City Clerk/Election Official from accepting or verifying nomination papers for any person, including any nomination for any write-in candidate, or from certifying or placing on the list of certified candidates, or printing on any ballot or other voter information document, the name of any person whose candidacy, if successful, will exceed the term limits set forth in Measure “J”.

Measure “J” requires majority voter approval to pass.

A “yes” vote on Measure “J” will authorize a two-term lifetime limit on City Council service as set forth above.

A “no” vote on Measure “J” will not authorize a two-term lifetime limit on City Council service as set forth above.

City Attorney

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure J. If you desire a copy of the measure, please call the election official’s office at (760) 346-2489 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Argumento A FAVOR

innovation and vitality needed to resolve the challenging issues facing our city.

The spiraling costs of the Indian Wells police, fire and emergency medical services contracts with the county, the financial issues involving operation of the city’s Golf Resort and resolution of traffic and other issues associated with future development of the remaining vacant land within Indian Wells, among others, present challenges to our quality of life.

Indian Wells is blessed with an abundance of talent that we can drawn on to craft solutions to these important issues. Unfortunately, many residents are discouraged from running for election to the City Council. The well-documented advantages of incumbents in local government elections are too daunting for many of them. They are discouraged from running for a seat on the City Council because the electoral playing field is tilted against them in favor of incumbents running for reelection. As a result, we voters lose the benefit of robust campaigns generated by open seats in which the issues are fully debated, enabling the electorate to make informed decisions.

The current Indian Wells term limit ordinance falls far short of leveling the playing field for non-incumbents. The ordinance allows former City Council members to run again after serving two terms following a hiatus of only two years which preserves for them the advantages of incumbency. Let’s end the grip that incumbents have on the electoral process and unleash the pool of talent within Indian Wells that can bring fresh ideas to resolve the quality of life issues we face by voting for real term limits!

By:        Greg Sanders
Dana Reed


Argumento EN CONTRA

This ballot measure would prohibit any Council member who has served for eight years to be able to ever run for Council again. The present policy allows a resident to serve two consecutive four year terms and then they have to sit out one election cycle before running again.

Why change the existing policy when it is working?

It is believed that the real purpose of the ballot is to deny one specific person the opportunity to run again. Is that what a ballot measure should be about? Denying a resident to run for office and denying residents to vote for anyone they choose is disappointing and disturbing that such a tactic is being used in a city like Indian Wells.

What has happened to fairness and competition? Remember in the last election we had no resident willing to run against incumbents? There is no guarantee that anyone is going to win an election. Typically, people are elected because the residents look at one’s history and performance in the past, evaluate this and then vote on the candidate’s qualifications and what one thinks the candidate can contribute to the City’s future performance and success.

Vote “NO” on this ballot measure taking into account why this measure was put together in the first place and whether it is fair to deny someone who has been a successful Council member in the past from contributing in the future. Ballot measures should not be developed for payback purposes. Ballot measures should be executed only to improve an issue or to correct a flaw in a particular program. Government should not control in anyway the public’s right to choose who represents them.

The final question is whether this ballot measure will be challenged legally?

By:        Edward Ty Peabody


Refutación al argumento A FAVOR

s stated in the original argument in opposition to Measure J, the four residents who sponsored and secured this ballot measure did so as a personal vendetta against one specific resident in the city. They are not interested in fairness and competition but rather chose to penalize Council Members who choose to run again after sitting out one term.

What happened to any resident being able to run for office and the residents having the sole right to vote for anyone they so choose. Government should not control in any way the public’s right to choose who represents them.

This ballot measure is nothing more than circumventing the duly elected City Council to get what they might not get by going through the proper process.

Ask yourself, has any other city in the Coachella valley done such a ballot measure? The answer is no!

By:        Edward Ty Peabody


Refutación al argumento EN CONTRA

Vote “Yes” for Measure “J”

In the argument against term limits for members of the City Council, the opposition asks, “Why change the existing policy when it is working?”

The fact is the existing ordinance does NOT work. It fails to provide real term limits. The current ordinance allows an incumbent to serve two 4-year terms, sit out only 2 years, and run again for potentially two more 4-year terms.

Term limits should mean just that – Term Limits. One should be allowed to serve two 4-year terms for a lifetime total of 8 years on our City Council.

History shows a distinct disincentive to run for public office when challenging an incumbent or one who has recently served as an elected council member. One needs to look no further than the 2018 City Council election as evidence that discourages qualified residents from running. Two incumbents were re-elected without any opposition. City Council races are hardly fair or competitive when there are only incumbents on the ballot.

Indian Wells would benefit by having a number of energetic and talented residents offer their services as candidates for City Council. Removing the distinct advantages that incumbents enjoy by enacting real term limits will encourage others willing to run for the City Council and bring fresh and innovative ideas to City Hall.

The proposed change to this ordinance will ensure fairness to past, present and future City Council members.

Vote “Yes” on Measure “J.”

By:        Ted J. Mertens, Council Member

Greg Sanders

Dana Reed


Leer la legislación propuesta

Legislación propuesta



(NOTE: Additions are highlighted in bold italics and deletions are highlighted in strikeout)


SECTION 1. Subject to the approval of a majority of the voters of the City of Indian Wells at the scheduled election so designated by the City Council in a separate resolution placing the proposal on the ballot for such election, Section 2.08.045 of Chapter 2.08 of the Indian Wells Municipal Code is hereby amended to read in its entirely as follows:

“ 2.08.045 Term limits.

No person shall be eligible for nomination and/or election to the office of Member of the City Council Member or Mayor for more than two (2) consecutive four (4) year terms following the adoption of this Section during his or her lifetime, including, without limitation, terms to which the person was nominated and appointed to office by the City Council in lieu of a General Municipal Election pursuant to California Elections Code Section 10229. No person who has been elected to or held office as a City Council Member or Mayor, or either office; for two (2) consecutive (4) year terms during his or her lifetime may seek nomination and election to either that  office, until a period of  (2) years from the termination of the second term  whether as a formally nominated or write-in candidate. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any person who is appointed by the City Council to fill a vacant office of a City Council Member or Mayor for the balance of a four (4) year term, but who and serves in that office for less than two (42) years in that office, shall be eligible for nomination and election for two (2) consecutive full four (4) year terms thereafter. The City Clerk, or other election official authorized by law, shall not accept or verify the signatures on any nomination paper for any person, including any paper seeking election as a write-in candidate, nor shall he or she certify or place on the list of certified candidates, nor print or cause to be printed on any ballot, voter information guide, sample ballot or ballot label, the name of any person whose candidacy, if successful, will result in a City Council term that exceeds the Iimits set forth herein.”

SECTION 2. If any portion of this Ordinance is declared invalid by a court of law or other legal body with applicable authority, the invalidity shall not affect or prohibit the force and effect of any other provision or application of the Ordinance that is not deemed invalid. The voters of the City hereby declare that they would have circulated for qualification and/or voted for the adoption of this Section, and each portion thereof, regardless of the fact that any portion of the initiative may be subsequently deemed invalid.

SECTION 3. To the fullest extent allowed by law, the provisions of this Ordinance shall prevail over, and supersede, all other provisions of the Municipal Code and any ordinances, resolutions or administrative policies of the City of Indian Wells which are in conflict with any provision of this Ordinance.

SECTION 4. This Section shall not be repealed or amended except by a measure approved by a majority of the electors voting on the issue at a General Municipal Election, or at a special election called for that purpose.

SECTION 5. This Ordinance shall take effect only if approved by a majority of the eligible voters of the City of Indian Wells voting at a Special Municipal election to be held on March 3, 2020, and shall take effect ten (10) days after the City Council has certified the results of the Special Municipal election by resolution.

SECTION 6. The Mayor is hereby authorized to attest to the adoption of this Ordinance by the People voting thereon on March 3, 2020, by signing where indicated below.

I hereby certify that the foregoing Ordinance was PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the People of the City of Indian Wells on the 3rd day of March, 2020.






ATTEST:                          APPROVED AS TO FORM:

___________________________        __________________________________

CITY CLERK                            CITY ATTORNEY


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