Dean Andal, a Stockton Republican activist and a member of the California Board of Equalization, has sued the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters, claiming that a ballot measure to extend the supervisors’ term limits is misleading.
The measure, placed on the November ballot by the Board of Supervisors, would extend the term limits ordinance to three four-year terms. The current ordinance limits supervisors to two terms.
The suit was filed on Aug. 17 in San Joaquin County Superior Court. A hearing is scheduled before Judge Michael D. Coughlan at 9 a.m. Sept. 10 in Department 41 at Superior Court, 222 E. Weber Ave., Stockton.
Andal claims in the lawsuit that the ballot measure is worded in such a way that voters could think that term limits are being instituted for the first time.
“The ballot language is false, misleading and biased, and surely will deceive the voting members of the public,” according to the lawsuit.
Andal, through Roseville attorney Joseph S. Speaker, requests that the measure either be removed from the ballot or re-worded to indicate that term limits would be extended, not instituted for the first time.
Although the Board of Supervisors voted to place the term limits amendment on the ballot, the board wasn’t named in the lawsuit. Instead, Registrar of Voters Austin Erdman was named because of court protocol, Andal said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. Board chairman Steve Bestolarides is named a “real party in interest.” Erdman said he was served with the lawsuit at about 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Andal, a former assemblyman in San Joaquin County, filed the suit as an individual and not in his capacity as a member of the California Board of Equalization, according to the lawsuit.
Andal also argues in the lawsuit that the ballot measure is unclear as to whether current Supervisors Ken Vogel, Larry Ruhstaller, Carlos Villapudua and Bestolarides will be allowed to serve for five terms — two under the current ordinance and three more under the proposal before voters on Nov. 6.
County counsel David Wooten told the News-Sentinel in late July that supervisors would be limited to three terms during their lifetime.
Supervisor Leroy Ornellas, who voted against placing the measure on the ballot, will complete his second and final term in December.
For the Lodi area, passage of the measure would mean that Vogel, whose second term expires in 2014, would be allowed to seek re-election for a third term. Under the current ordinance, Vogel would be required to leave the Board of Supervisors at the end of 2014.
Vogel said on Wednesday that it would be inappropriate to talk about pending litigation. It will be up to the judge to determine the outcome of the lawsuit, Vogel said.
Erdman estimates that it will cost county taxpayers $100,000 to $135,000 to place the measure on the November ballot.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.