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Voters OK term limits for supervisors as incumbents face runoffs

From now on, members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will be restricted to two terms.

Voters gave strong backing to Proposition B on Tuesday, agreeing to impose term limits on the board.

The makeup of the Board of Supervisors has been unchanged since 1995 and several members have run for re-election unopposed in the past. Until this year, no incumbent had faced a November runoff since 1998.

Incumbent Supervisor Bill Horn, with 48.02 percent of the vote was forced into the general election against Vista City Councilman Steve Gronke who had 20.93 percent. as was Ron Roberts, who had 48.02 percent with challenger Stephen Whitburn running at 21.64 percent. To avoid a runoff, the incumbents would have had to get 50 percent of the vote. (About 160,000 mail-in and provisional ballots have yet to be counted.)

Proponents of the proposition, mostly from public employee unions, called the supervisors out of touch with the voters after having been together so long.

Opponents said term limits not only hasn’t worked to reign in power in the state legislature, where it was first instituted, but has contributed to make things worse in a dysfunctional state government.

Lani Lutar, the executive director of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, said there was no fundraising to try to defeat the measure her organization opposed.

Lutar blamed the “low voter turnout and larger Republican voter turnout — which supports term limits.”

The limits will not be applied retroactively to the current supervisors, all of whom will be allowed to serve an additional two terms at the voters’ discretion.