California’s Westly, Poizner Square Off on Term Limits Measure

December 20, 2007

Steve Westly, the Silicon Valley millionaire and former state controller who lost in last year’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, said he is supporting the February ballot measure to modify term limits.

Westly’s announcement pits him against another millionaire, Republican Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who has pledged $1.5 million of his own money to defeat the measure.

Westly, a former eBay executive who runs his own venture capital firm, said term limits for state lawmakers had created a “lack of institutional memory” that is hurting the Legislature’s effectiveness.

“I can assure you that kicking skilled employees out the door after just a few years on the job is no way to run a business, and it’s certainly no way to run state government,” he said in a statement.

Political observers say the showdown between deep-pocketed and high-profile figures could be a preview of the 2010 governor’s race. The winner could score major points with his respective party.

Proposition 93 would let most current state lawmakers extend their terms in office by allowing them to serve 12 consecutive years in either the Senate or Assembly, rather than 14 years split between the two houses. Democratic leaders of both houses support the measure, which has been losing ground in polls.

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