The Stonewall Democratic Club voted overwhelmingly to oppose term limits for West Hollywood city council members at its Monday night endorsement meeting.
The LGBT club voted 37-5 against Measure C, the term limits initiative that would limit city council members to three four-year terms.
The club’s endorsement committee, charged with making a recommendation to the club before its vote, was unable to reach a consensus on the issue, leading into a lively debate before the Stonewall members voted.
“We as Democrats tend not to support term limits for the simple reason that elections accomplish what mandatory term limits don’t, which is representing the will of the people,” said Stonewall member Heidi Shink to kick off the debate.
Lauren Meister disagreed, citing a 2013 Gallop poll showing 65 percent of Democrats support term limits for legislators.
“Term limits have opened the door of opportunity for LGBT, women and minorities,” said Meister. “Over 3,500 West Hollywood residents signed the term limits petition and more than 60 West Hollywood residents volunteered to collect those signatures.”
Laurence Zakson opposed term limits, saying Democrats “need to stand for the right of voters to elect or not elect the candidates of their own choice.”
Former city council member Steve Martin, who is running for city council in the March 5 election, pointed out that the council opted not to hold a special election in 2009 to fill the vacant council seat created after the death of councilmember Sal Guarriello, instead appointing Lindsey Horvath to the council.
“The same council that is claiming (term limits) are really bad, that we should have elections, had no problem appointing Lindsey Horvath as a city council member even though they piously claim people should have a right to vote,” said Martin. “They certainly had no respect for our right to vote when they appointed Lindsey.”
Both Martin and Horvath were unsuccessful in their council re-election campaigns.
“Term limits don’t need to happen in this city. We vote people out of office,” said Casey Robinson. “When you bring up Lindsey Horvath, she got voted out of office too. It proves that elections in this city work.”
In other endorsement votes, the Stonewall Dems voted to support Steve Zimmer in his bid to continue on the Los Angeles United School District school board seat 4 (which covers West Hollywood) and to support Measure A, the proposal to increase the City of Los Angeles’ sales tax by a half-cent.