Term-Limited OC Supervisor Bartlett Attempts Ethically-Challenged Measure To Extend Her Time In Office

It’s been a while since I have had to fire up a “Alert” e-mail in response to an Orange County politician trying a fast-one on the public… But here we are. You can thank career-politican wanne-be Supervisor Lisa Bartlett…

We have seen this before. No one hates term limits more than an incumbent politician who is faced that dreaded moment – a forced return back to being just a regular person. Every once in a while one of these term-limited folks propose a ballot measure that, if passed, would let them extend their time in office.

This year’s “Career Politician Award” goes to Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, who unveiled today, Friday, a ballot measure to be in front of Supervisors at their meeting this Tuesday, a measure that would gut term limits.

And knowing the popularity of term limits in Orange County, she proposes a ballot title that would completely mislead voters into thinking they are strengthening term limits, not realizing they are being played for patsies. Without voters changing the County Charter, poor Bartlett cannot file for re-election in 2022.

This is her proposed ballot title:

“An ordinance of the County of Orange, California, adding section 1-2-9.1 to the codified ordinances of the County of Orange imposing a lifetime limit on the number of terms for members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors”


That is the big print that voters would see. What you don’t see unless you get well into the weeds on the small print is that there is already a two-term limit, after which a Supervisor has to leave office. They CAN run again in the future, but this has happened literally once in the history of the county. Also, in the fine print is the changing of the term limits from two four-year terms to three four-year terms.

And what is not in the print at all is that there is a very strong legal argument that if this measure passes it would “reset” the terms of all of the incumbents, meaning that Bartlett could run for an additional three terms in office, serving until 2034! While the county lawyers opine this would not likely be the outcome, independent counsel that is not beholding to the Supervisors of course gave the requested opinion.

I happen to believe that term limits are a good thing. I think that having career politicians is not a good thing, and that we have a system in America that protects incumbents.

But even if you do not like term limits there is plenty to dislike about what Bartlett is doing here. Because she is trying to mislead voters. Note that the ballot title above does not say: “Change term limits from two terms to three terms and eliminate the ability of a termed-out politician to ever run again. And reset the term limits for incumbents.”

This is a cheap maneuver by a politician so desperate to hold on to her office that she is willing to violate a somber responsibility to be truthful and upfront with the voters.


No doubt Supervisor Bartlett has known for a very long time that she was going to try to slip this onto the ballot with virtually no notice, in the middle of July. She and I spoke about this issue months ago and she never mentioned to me that she was going to do this. But then again why would she tip off anyone to this sort of back-handed maneuver?


While Bartlett’s play is disappointing, there is some good news here. I have spoken directly with Supervisors Michelle Steel and Don Wagner, and with Supervisor Do’s Chief of Staff, and simply put none of these Supervisors support Bartlett’s proposal. There is not a single “yes” vote between them!

That said, due diligence is important – as is expressing appreciation. So, I would like to encourage you to either call or send an email to any or all of these three thanking them for committing not to vote for Bartlett’s cynical and self-serving play. You could also reach out to Supervisor Bartlett and ask her to withdraw this measure. The other Supervisor, Doug Chaffee, has co-authored Bartlett’s proposal. If he is your Supervisor, you should urge him to have it pulled from Tuesday’s agenda as well.

YOU can make a difference. Reach out on their social media pages, or directly through the contacts below:

Supervisor Lisa Bartlett (714) 834-3550 [email protected]

Supervisor Doug Chaffee (714) 834-3440 [email protected]

Supervisor Andrew Do (714) 834-3110 [email protected]

Supervisor Michelle Steel (714) 834-3220 [email protected]

Supervisor Don Wagner (714) 834-3330 [email protected]

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This article was originally published by the Flash Report.

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