City of Anaheim Mayoral Term of Office Amendment, Measure D (June 2014)

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A City of Anaheim Mayoral Term of Office Amendment, Measure D ballot question was on the June 3, 2014 election ballot for voters in the city of Anaheim in Orange County, California, where it was defeated.

If approved, Measure D would have changed the mayoral term from four years to two years. It would also have defined four complete mayoral terms or the combination of one complete term as a city council member and two complete mayoral terms as equivalent to eight years of service, which was the city council's term limit.[1]

This measure was part of the reform suggested by the Charter Review Commission and was designed to coincide with a ballot measure that would have removed the term limits for the city council members and the mayor. This proposal was designed, in part, to allow city council members in their second term to run for the position of mayor. The city council rejected the measure that would have eliminated term limits, but approved Measure D for the ballot.[2]

Measure C, which sought certain updates and reforms to the Anaheim Charter, and Measure E, which sought to allow the retail sale and use of "safe and sane fireworks," were also recommended by the Charter Review Commission and were put on the ballot by the city council. Both were approved.[2]

Election results

Measure D
Defeatedd No12,99954.3%
Yes 10,946 45.7%
Election results from Orange County Elections Office

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:[3]

Shall Anaheim City Charter Sections 500 and 504 be amended to change the term of office of the Mayor from four years to two years, and to clarify how "eight years of service" is determined for the purpose of calculating term limits for someone serving as Mayor by also amending Section 503.5?[4]

Impartial analysis

The following impartial analysis of Measure D was prepared by the office of the city attorney:[1]

Background/Existing Law:

Anaheim City Charter Sections 500 and 504 currently state that a Mayor is elected to serve for a term of four years. The current four-year mayoral term was approved by the voters of Anaheim in 1991 and became operative beginning with the general municipal election held in November, 1994.

This Charter Amendment Measure:

This proposed measure amends Charter Sections 500 and 504 to state that a Mayor is elected to serve for a term of two years, beginning with the November 2014 general municipal election. As a result, the term of office for a Mayor would change from four years to two years.

Effect of this Charter Amendment Measure:

The Charter currently requires the City to hold the next two scheduled elections for the office of Mayor on November 4, 2014 and in November of 2018. This measure would require an election for the office of Mayor every two years. Therefore, if this measure is adopted then the next two elections for the office of Mayor would be held on November 4, 2014 and in November of 2016.

This measure also states that if the term of office for a Mayor changes to two years, then Charter Section 503.5 would be changed to state that four complete terms of service as elected Mayor, or one complete term as City Council member and two complete terms as elected Mayor, "shall be deemed equivalent to eight years of service" for the purpose of the City Charter's term limits provisions.

A "Yes" vote is in favor of adopting this measure. A "No" vote is against adopting this measure. If a majority of voters vote "Yes" then this measure will take effect when it is filed with the Secretary of State. This measure was placed on the ballot by the City Council of the City of Anaheim.[4]

—Michael R. W. Houston, Anaheim City Attorney[1]



The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Measure D:[5]

  • Todd Ament, president of Anaheim Chamber & Chairman of the Charter Review Commission
  • Gloria Ma’ae of the Anaheim Charter Review Commission

The following individuals supported Measure D and signed the rebuttal to arguments against Measure D:[6]

  • Steve Chavez Lodge, board member of Anaheim Hills Community Council
  • Craig Farrow, retired Anaheim Police Sergeant and member of the Anaheim Charter Review Commission

Arguments in favor

Official arguments

The following official arguments were submitted in favor of Measure D:[5]

If there’s one thing voters want from their elected leaders, it’s greater accountability. Measure D does that for Anaheim’s most important elected position – our Mayor. Please vote YES. Unlike many initiatives, Measure D is simple and straightforward. It changes the term of office for Mayor from 4 years to 2 years, and applies the city’s term limits fairly to the Mayor.

That’s it.

While the Mayor would still be able to serve for up to eight consecutive years, changing the term of office for Mayor from 4 years to 2 years makes the Mayor more accountable to voters by requiring him or her to stand before Anaheim voters every two years and convince them they deserve re-election.

If the Mayor is doing well, it shouldn’t be a problem for them to ask the voters for another term in office every two years, should it?

And if the Mayor’s doing a bad job, shouldn’t we have the right to vote them out of office sooner? It just makes sense.

The members of the Anaheim Charter Review Commission nearly unanimously recommended this change after consulting with good government experts and other cities in Orange County with directly-elected mayors - all of whom have a two-year term of office. Don’t Anaheim voters deserve the same level of increased accountability cities like Irvine and Orange enjoy with their directly-elected Mayors? We think so. Yes on D does that.

The most vocal opponents of Measure D are those who don’t want increased accountability in the Mayor’s office. That’s no surprise, but we disagree. In fact, two-year terms are very common for elected offices across our state and nation.

Measure D is a straightforward measure that increases accountability for our directly-elected Mayor. That’s a good thing. Please join us in voting YES on Measure D.[4]

—Todd Ament and Gloria Ma’ae[5]



The following individuals signed the official arguments in opposition to Measure D:[7]

  • Tom Tait, mayor of Anaheim
  • James Vanderbilt, Anaheim City School District Board Member Trustee
  • Jose Moreno, university professor
  • Steve McKay, Anaheim Canyon Community Coalition
  • Helen Myers, Orange County Historic Commission

Arguments against

Official arguments

The following official arguments were submitted in opposition to Measure D:[7]

Opposition to Charter Amendment to Section 504

We urge you to vote “NO” on Measure D. Under Anaheim’s Charter, the mayor and city council members are all elected to four-year terms. Measure D proposes to change the Charter to require the city’s mayor to run for office every two years, while council candidates continue to be elected every four years.

There is simply no good reason to support this proposed change in the law.

The vast majority of American large-city mayors serve four-year terms. A four-year term gives the city’s chief elected official time to set goals and plan for the city’s needs, and it provides continuity of leadership to keep city government both stable and responsive to the voters.

California’s 10 largest cities, including Anaheim, elect their mayor for four years. This length of term gives these large-city mayors time to execute their vision and agenda, allowing voters to assess their accomplishments in the next election.

If our city required its mayor to run every two years, a significant amount of that person’s time and attention would be moved from the job of running the city to running for election. This is not a change that serves the public’s best interest.

Proponents will try to argue that a shorter term will make the mayor more responsive to the people. This is inconsistent and does not make sense. Under their logic, shouldn’t the terms for the city council members also be shortened to two years?

This suggested change is not about improving the mayor’s responsiveness to the people. It is not in the best interest of the people of Anaheim and for that reason, we join many community leaders and civic organizations in urging a “NO” vote on Measure D.[4]

—Tom Tait, James Vanderbilt, Jose Moreno, Steve McKay and Helen Myers[7]


  • Orange County Register: The editorial board of the Orange County Register wrote an article urging voters to reject Measure D. The editorial expressed concern that this measure was an attack on Mayor Tait and that it was politically motivated. It also pointed out that Measure D was designed to go hand in hand with a measure eliminating term limits for the city council and mayor, which was not put on the ballot, making Measure D somewhat pointless, according to Orange County Register staff. An excerpt of the editorial is below:[8]

In a ballot filled with otherwise seemingly innocuous Anaheim charter changes, the move to change the mayor’s term of office from four years to two years stands out as particularly suspicious.

It is no secret that Mayor Tom Tait has been something of a thorn in the side of many at City Hall, and these editorial pages could hardly be blamed for thinking the measure smacked of political gamesmanship.

While proponents deny such political ends, these editorial pages still worry it will do nothing more than clip Mayor Tait’s wings. Especially considering the measure would take effect in November, the middle of a two-term run for the incumbent, rather than at the beginning of the new mayor’s term. That is why we are suggesting a no vote on Measure D.

Todd Ament, current president and CEO of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, supports the measure. But he told us the change was meant to coincide with a change in term limits, which would allow council members to serve out the length of their time in office at different positions so as to allow a proper shuffling of council leadership.

However, the council thought term-limit reform appeared too self-serving and quashed the seemingly necessary secondary component for this change to work. It is a wonder, then, why the council majority would push it to voters at all.

Vote No on Measure D.[4]

Orange County Register editorial board[8]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in California

In May of 2013, Anaheim Councilman Jordan Brandman requested a Charter Review Commission to be formed. This seven member commission recommended four measures. Measure D was among them. Two other measures recommended by the commission - Measure E and Measure C - were put on the ballot by the city council. One measure seeking to abolish term limits for the city council and mayor was rejected by the council.[2]

Similar measures

Related measures

Approveda City of Anaheim Legal Language Update Amendment, Measure C (June 2014)
Approveda City of Anaheim Council Authority to Regulate "Safe & Sane Fireworks," Measure E (June 2014)

See also

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