Did LA’s 2006 Ethics Reform bill reform ethics?

In November 2006, voters in the City of Los Angeles voted overwhelmingly for Proposition R, the “Ethics Reform Bill,” which claimed to reform how lobbyists worked in City Hall. But for those in the know, the controversy at the time was that the “Ethics Reform Bill” extended City Council term limits from the two four year terms to three.

The most egregious example of the deceptive nature of this bill were the mailers pulled the wool over constituents eyes, reading: “Prop R will LIMIT councilmembers to three terms in office (twelve years total), so that no one can serve for life.” Thus deliberately misleading the uninformed to believe that term limits were longer, when in fact the opposite was true.

Now, eighteen months later, Ken Draper at LA City Watch brings an update to how the Ethics Reform has worked out… or not. He makes the case that lobbyists are still working City Council as usual, and that now, because of the way Prop R was presented, is costing L.A. taxpayers millions in legal fees.

…tenacious David Hernandez continues trek through the court maze. He’s trying to get Prop R set aside on the grounds that it violates the states one issue per initiative law. He has worked his way up to the appellate level. Hernandez is due to file his final brief in the next couple of weeks.

And the city continues to defend itself, courtesy of LA’s taxpayers. Of course, the City Attorney could be spending our money on other business had the Council been straight with the voters in the first place and simply submitted an initiative to extend term limits.

A decision that may have helped them promote and pass Prop R, but to this day remains a stain on their credibility.


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