Measure D – A Two-Year Mayoral Term: The Argument Against

We’ve posted the Argument in favor of Measure D, which would amend the City Charter to limit the mayor to four consecutive two-year terms, instead of the current limit of two consecutive four-year terms. Here is the Argument Against Measure D that will be in the sample ballot:


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.

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

James Vanderbilt is one-half of what will presumably be a two-person council candidate “Tait Slate” to knock out incumbents Kris Murray and Gail Eastman.

Jose Moreno is a professor in the CSULB Chicano and Latino Studies Department and the lead plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit that sought to force Anaheim citizens to elect their city council from single-member districts.

Steve McKay is a friend and supporter of Mayor Tait’s from Anaheim Hills.

Helen Myers is a friend of Cynthia Ward, treasurer of a political action committee formed last year by Ward, and was treasurer of millionaire developer Tony Bushala’s Fullerton Recall PAC.




  1. Good opposition arguments.
    Need to level the plane field: 4 year terms for all or 2 year terms for all.
    Can’t cherry pick 2 year term for one job and 4 year term for the other.

    Anaheim voters should vote down this portion of the Charter Amendment!

  2. Matthew Cunningham

    On the contrary, Allen. They are half-baked arguments.

    Council terms are four-years for a reason. that way, half of the council seats are up every two years. This gives voters the opportunity to turn-over half of the council at each election. It provides the opportunity to change the governing dynamic while retaining stability.

    With two-year council terms, the entire council could (in theory) be turned out every two years. You might like such instability, but it makes for poor governance.

    Think of the U.S. Senate, which the Founders structured so 1/3 of the Senate is up for election every two years – enough to potentially change the ruling majority while retaining stability and institutional memory.

    In fact, a two-year mayor term would bring the Anaheim City Council closer to that ideal. in elections when the mayor isn’t on the ballot, voters might not be able to change the governing majority (in situations in which mayor is part of that majority). With a two-year mayoral term, three of the five seats on the council would be subjected to the judgment of the voters every cycle.

    • Why not an election every year, Matt? After all, if council members are doing their job well, they should have no problem getting re-elected every two years. Stagger the terms, we all get together every November and increase accountability to the voters.

      Call a spade a spade. We all know what this is . . . Shouldn’t reality be a better thing to vote on than this fiction being presented?

      If Pringle were the major, there is NO WAY this ballot item would have ever seen the light of day. #truthbeatsfiction

      • Matthew Cunningham

        OK, Ryan – I’ll play the “reductio ad absurdum” game. Why don’t we make the mayor’s term eight years? That way the exalted leader of the city can make his/her plans and implement his/her vision unimpeded by politics and special interests?

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