On Thursday, the We Are Kern County coalition — a coalition of community organizations, activists, and leaders who are deeply concerned with the future of Kern county — reached an imperative milestone in their campaign to enact term limits on county elected officials and delivered nearly 30,000 signatures to the Kern County Elections office.
After just six months, the proponents of this ballot measure collected more than enough signatures to have this issue placed for voters to see on the November ballot. The petition’s high signature count proves that county residents are both ready and eager for change at the Kern County Board of Supervisors (BOS) level after years of what they describe as “mismanaged budgets and misplaced priorities.”
“This Board of Supervisors has shown us they don’t prioritize good jobs and our economy is suffering because of it,” said Sandy Moreno, an In-Home Supportive Services Caregiver. “So many of the problems we face in Kern County—crime, homelessness, poverty—are the direct result of the lack of good paying jobs. We deserve leadership that reflects all of us and invests in our local economies.”
This measure calls for terms of public service to be limited to two terms, or eight years. Proponents hope term limits will bring in new local leadership with fresh, bold ideas on how to improve administration of county services, programs, and resources and quality of life in Kern County. Currently, the County Board of Supervisors can run for an unlimited number of terms.
“We are living in two different realities when the County Board of Supervisors are talking about public services, programs, and quality of life in Kern County. We see a few issues being addressed and resources devoted to help people of Kern – however the ‘status quo is working’ line from the county isn’t cutting it,” said John Rozo, Program Technician at the Department of Aging and Adult Services in Kern County.
A press release created for this milestone reveals that:
- According to the Housing and Urban Development Annual Homeless Assessment Report in 2020, Kern County ranks nationally in the top 5 “Other Largely Urban Areas” in the number of veterans experiencing homelessness. (Page 63).
- Between 2018-2021, the total number of people experiencing homelessness in Kern County grew by 143 percent – with the majority of this growth being driven by increases in children with 327 percent and families with 221 percent. (Kern County Grand Jury White Paper on Homelessness, page 6).
- Kern County ranks 57th out of 58 California counties for the percent of people living in poverty. (County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. 2021 California Data. Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, 2021. Kern County.)
“When I moved to Kern County 20 years ago, I was filled with hope because I saw opportunities for my children, but now things are different,” said Maria Teresa Herrera, a Community and Youth Advocate. “We need to see our tax dollars being put to use and we need a Board of Supervisors that truly cares about all of us and invests in our future. ”
Proponents say they will continue working with the Kern County Elections Office to certify the quantity of signatures needed in order place the term limit ballot measure in this year’s election cycle as well as the ballot measure title.