20180821-bc-kcsosups-4 (copy)

In this file photo, the Board of Supervisors listen to a public speaker.

If one Kern County ballot measure is successful, time could be limited for members of the Board of Supervisors.

A local group has filed an initiative that would introduce limits of two terms of four years each for the supervisors.

If organizers can gather enough signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot and if voters eventually pass the measure, the entire current board could be wiped out by 2022.

“Incumbents have a massive advantage in terms of money, media and infrastructure, which makes it difficult for newcomers to get elected,” said local activist David Abbasi, who is the proponent of the measure. “We want to get rid of career politicians and put people in that better serve the interests of Kern County.”

All five members of the Board of Supervisors have been in place since 2013, with Mike Maggard, David Couch and Zack Scrivner defeating challengers in last November’s election.

Maggard has been on the board the longest, first taking office in 2007.

The initiative seeks to apply term limits retroactively to the board, which would dramatically shorten the length of time supervisors would be allowed to serve if voters approve the measure.

However, the California attorney general has ruled in the past that term limits may only be applied after they have come into effect, meaning that if the measure becomes law, supervisors would have eight years left before they are forced to leave.

“Even if it’s not retroactive and it allows (supervisors) to do two more terms, at least we know as a community that their time is ticking,” said local activist T.J. Esposito, who first proposed the idea and recruited Abbasi to coordinate the campaign. “We’ve got to put our foot down, and we’ve got to get these term limits in place so we can have a fresh, clean slate every eight years.”

He pointed to the deputy shortage faced by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office as well as the financial hole the county has been attempting to dig itself out of as reasons for introducing the measure.

Term limits for supervisors are relatively rare in California. Of the state’s 58 counties, only eight have enacted limits for supervisors, according to the California State Association of Counties.

In 2010, voters in San Diego County approved a limit of two four-year terms for supervisors.

The measure was heavily supported by labor unions, according to local media. Proponents of the measure clashed with San Diego authorities, who echoed sentiments that are often brought up by term-limit opponents.

“Term limits is a fools errand that only helps perpetuate inexperience, mediocrity and special interest control,” San Diego County Administrative Officer Walt Ekard said in an email sent from his official government address, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported at the time. “Let’s do things the old-fashioned way and just trust the voters to decide whom they want to represent them.”

Abbasi said he modeled the Bakersfield measure after San Diego and a similar one in San Francisco.

The Kern County counsel is in the process of reviewing the measure's language in order to prepare a ballot title and summary.

The stipulation that the term limit apply retroactively may be struck down during that process, but the measure's proponents will know either way before mid-August.

Esposito said he planned to raise $250,000 to support the measure, $100,000 of which he had already received “hard commitments” for.

He added that a group of blue-collar Kern County residents is standing behind the term limit measure, but he does not want to reveal their identities just yet.

“They are blue-collar people, working people, who are just getting hosed every day,” he said. “That’s the best I can do in regards to giving up the coalition. Right now, it’s a little early.”

In order for the measure to qualify for the March 2020 ballot, proponents will need to gather at least 20,338 signatures by Dec. 6.

Abbasi, who previously qualified a measure for the March 2020 ballot that would allow sales of medical cannabis, said he might purposefully wait to qualify the measure for November in hopes that will better its chances of passing.

“It’s something that we need," he said of term limits. “We need desperately some change and some reform in Kern County. We can all agree on that.”

Sam Morgen can be reached at 661-395-7415. Follow him on Twitter: @smorgenTBC.

(15) comments


New poll shows an 95% approval rating for term limits.

Conscience of Bakersfield

These two guys Abbasi and Esposito are criminals. Just recently in the news Abbasi pulled out a gun on a child and Esposito has multiple felonies he had expunged. Everyone knows they are just hurt they lost their marijuana businesses and they are out for revenge.

The Jackal

Abbasi was attacked by a pitbull and the pit bull's owner. His dog was killed by the Pitbull and while he wrestled the dog to prevent it from biting him, the owner came out and struck him repeatedly in the head causing him serious injury. It was not a child. It was a 6 ft 2 180 lb adolescent male. Abbasi acted in self-defense for his life and the attacker had no injuries. Supervisor Zack Scrivner was convicted of a felony for marijuana sales. TJ is a saint in comparison. These political activists are draining the swamp and holding corrupt officials accountable.


Abbasi is so not a smart guy. In fact he’s a maniac. Intelligent people know you can’t beat “city hall”, in this case it’s the county he can’t beat. Which malady effects him worse, ignorance or arrogance? Seems like a heaping helping if both. Facts: Abbasi walks his dog in the ghetto. Smart move. Then, surprise, a pit bull chews his dog up. Abbasi trues mace... May have well urinated... pit owner gets mad socks the coward Abbasi in the mug... Abbasi the coward grabs his gat and threatens to shoot the dog and the frail teenager—5’8 136 lbs. soaking wet. Abbasi will NEVER get a cannabis license in Kern. The Board of Supervisors rough draft of their own cannabis initiative provides that any prospective dispensary owner is not eligible to operate should they have a gun-related criminal conviction on their record. Since Abbasi, even if he plea bargains his case will therefore suffer said “gun-related criminal conviction” and thus ends his cannabis career in Kern. What a short-sighted guy. An arm of the county is prosecuting the case. He’s probably already copped a plea that sinks his eligibility. Lol. That bodes well for the few “decent” dispensary owners who got the rug pulled out from under them due in great part to Abbasi’s antics and under-handed campaigns against the county. He had tainted the cannabis movement in a Kern and everyone involved in legal medicinal cannabis should shun the guy. What a rotten fellow not only to associate with, but to be The Leader? That guy couldn’t lead a tiddly-winks team of 4th graders. And that Espinoza sketchy character? Wow. Horrible credibility issues. Accusing County employees of taking $50k in bribe money... with zero proof? Brainiac 5 he is not. So vomit up these two cannabis thugs and let medicinal prosper for those qualified to actually run a business. Abassi is like a nightmare that keeps on playing. Don’t know what neck of the woods he’s from, but it ain’t good old Bakersfield. I’m from LA and I know better than to follow a mental midget and emotional wreck into quicksand. You will sink following his footprints in the sand.


Wow. Mr. Ben writes an article slanted towards Abbasi The Mad Man’s warped viewpoint. Great journalist integrity. Lol. If that’s not daft enough he quotes Espinosa, the criminal himself! As for Espinosa claiming to have $100k in committed private funds to back the term limit initiative, he likely has a couple of grimy quarters and a few stinky nickels with pocket lint stuck to them —and that’s it. Any Tom Jim or Harry can “claim” anything they want. Hey Espinosa... I have ten million dollars in commitments AGAINST your initiative. Just saying it doesn’t make it so just like you just lying through those questionable teeth about having your hands on $100k committed to your bitter revenge-encrusted initiative old buddy old pal. Lol. And for either Espinosa or Abbasi to call out the Supervisors, how’s that for the pot calling the kettle black? Quit it. Just Q.u.i.t. I.t.

Inconvenient Truth

Instead of term limits, here’s a better idea: Personal financial liability for all mismanagement, misappropriation, budgetary overruns, graft and corruption that occurs during their tenure. Make every Supervisor a fiduciary of the County’s resources.

The Jackal

Both [thumbup]


Do we have evidence that new faces are better able to serve the community? These notions seem to have more appeal to populist beliefs but I haven't seen evidence that inexperienced politicians are better public servants than those with experience. I'm thinking about the performance of people like Couch and Maggard. Those two are hardly poster children for bad self serving behavior.

The Jackal

Term limits help reduce the stranglehold special interests on politicians. Newcomers do face a disadvantage. The current supervisors have done quite enough damage as it is. We have a public health and safety crisis currently under this leadership. We don't have enough deputies policing our County. There are oil spills and earthquakes linked to Wastewater disposal permits. Maggard was on on the radio talking about wiping the Slate clean to create a marijuana Monopoly for his franchise. Hardly a saint. We don't need career politicians that are ineffective we need new people to better serve Kern County.

The Jackal

We need new leadership that isn't beholden to special interests. No experience is needed. They have staff taking care of everything for them.


Why do I suspect this is about marijuana not being allowed in Kern County.


yeeesss!!!! please get out to 93306 for signatures. where can we go to sign? set up booths... set up a facebook page... God is watching over us


San Diego County Administrative Officer works for their BOS. If he supported tight term limits, he’d be out of a job tomorrow. Elective office, if main source of income, can make politicians suckle the money, so maybe term limits make sense.

The Jackal



ohh..... if we only could of had eight more years of NoDrama Obama......."Term limits is a fools errand that only helps perpetuate inexperience, mediocrity and special interest control,” San Diego County Administrative Officer Walt Ekard said"

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