Term limits for Colton City elected officials will not make 2022’s ballot

Colton City Mayor Frank Navarro gathering votes from the council at the May 14th meeting. (L to R) Councilman David Toro (District 1), Councilman Ernest Cisneros (District 2), Mayor Pro Tem Kenneth Koperski (District 3), Mayor Frank Navarro, Councilman Dr. Luis Gonzalez (District 4), Councilman John Echevarria (District 5) and Councilman Issac Suchil (District 6).

At the recent Colton City Council meeting, the council voted five to one in favor of adding term limits for elected officials on the ballot. However, the council also unanimously approved holding off the addition of the measure to the November ballot and instead will add it to the 2024 ballot. 

Prior to City Attorney Jim Priest presenting the options to the council, Mayor Frank Navarro took a vote from his colleagues to see if they were still interested in implementing term limits on the ballot. Following the five-to-one vote, the council was then given the option of adding the term limit to this year’s ballot and implementing term limits in 2024 or waiting until the 2024 ballot. 

“Our recommendation, given the nature of your measure and our rollout, that if you were to put something on the ballot for this year, is that it not go effective until 2024 because that’s when all council terms will sync back up for four-year terms,” said City Attorney Jim Priest.

“Legally there are three options, practically it really comes down to one date, and that is the Nov. 8 election date cause that’s the next one that is coming up,” he added. 

With the option of holding off until 2024, Priest broke down how waiting won’t affect when the city implements the term limits.

“If the council doesn’t place it on that date, the next time that would come around under the law would be the March statewide primary in 2024, so you’d be waiting for a while. But then again, as outlined in the staff report because of these unique dynamics of the measure R rollout in your city, we’re not recommending that it be effective until 2024 anyway.”

Priest followed up by explaining what would happen next if the council chose to hold the term limit off this year’s ballot.

“If council’s choice was to defer action on this and maybe consider placing this with action in 2023 or something, that would certainly be an option as well.”

In response to Priest’s presentation and options, Mayor Navarro said, “I myself would like to see the term limits come to pass.”

After discussing with the council and unanimously voting to add the term limits to the 2024 ballot, Mayor Navarro gave his explanation saying, “We have a consensus to bring it back to put it on the initiatives.” “One of the caveats is we already have a couple of things on the ballot for the city and we don’t want to convolute the ballot more than what it already might be.” 

Navarro then pointed to the other city matters already on the ballot.

“Don’t forget people are gonna be voting differently for council members because of the reduction of districts from six to four,” he said. 

Finally, Navarro explained his thinking and what his preferences were regarding the term limits.

“My thought would be, and I have discussed this with the city manager, it would be preferably 2024,” said Navarro.