With over 55,000 registered Whittier voters, an average of 7,000 voted in the last five elections."*


Stephanie Vallejo, M.S., Law Enforcement, RET., Community Advocate, & Proponent

Margie Rodriguez, Cesar E. Chavez Remembrance Program Founder & Proponent 

Monica Sena, School Administrator, RET. & Community Leader

Nick Donovan, Community Leader, W.H.O.W. Member & Proponent


We are a nonpartisan group of residents advocating for term limits and election date change in the City of Whittier through a ballot measure. Civic Participation and Voting are a fundamental right.  Whittier's off-cycle elections hinder voting, cost taxpayers more money, and the lack of term limits obstruct civic engagement. 


We propose a maximum of 12 years for all appointed and elected city council members and consolidation of the election date to November. 


Whittier's current election process gives the advantage to incumbents. Some members of our city council have each been in power for 12, 18, and 19 years. The incumbent's name recognition and well-established relationships with donors (many of which are outside special interests) discourages new candidates to seek office.  

Local reform would create more opportunities for leadership and promote a fair electoral system. It would encourage new candidates to seek office with new ideas, new enthusiasm, and a more relevant candidate without changing our Whittier values of love for community.  It will promote transparency and rebuild trust between local government and its voters.

Term limits provide Whittier elected officials with ample time, ability, opportunity, and the motivation to set and meet their goals (or promises) to Whittier residents. Term limits create a sense of insistent obligation, as opposed to a lackadaisical approach to politics with no accountability.  


The City of Whittier holds its elections in April, making it off-cycle. We have over 55,000 registered voters and an average of 7,000 voted in the last five elections.* City Council has shown no concern whatsoever about its low voter turnout during those elections. 

In 2015 California Senate passed SB 415 requiring cities with low voter turnout to align to the general state election by November 2020. In 2017 the City of Whittier aligned its election to the state. Voter turnout tripled (as seen in the below chart) in 2020. However, the City of Redondo Beach sued the state claiming it should not apply to charter cities and won. Thus, the Whittier City Council reverted to the off-cycle April election, despite the opposition of many Whittier residents. The result in 2022 was low voter turnout again.

The off-cycle April election gives incumbents an advantage due to low voter turnout and keeps them in power.  The City only provides two voting centers for its 54,647 registered voters. These voting centers are located in only two out of the four voting districts, yet all of Whittier residents vote during every election because of the at-large mayor position. The city provides little to NO voter education or outreach. This undemocratic advantage tends to target low income, new voters, minorities, disabled, homeless, and the elderly from voting. 

The argument that vote-by-mail ballot is a substitution for fewer voting centers is flawed.  Many residents move frequently and do not receive their ballot. A ballot can be misplaced, lost in the mail, damaged, not picked up by the mail carrier or in need of replacement due to a mistake which would creating the need to vote in person. More so, people are busy in their daily lives to remember to vote in the “off-cycle" Whittier election.  


The ideal situation would be that the Council move to amend the Charter. It would reflect the City's commitment to expand opportunities for civic engagement and participation for all our residents. Not doing so, would force its residents to undertake the immense process of placing a measure on the ballot, costing the taxpayers an additional $10,000.00 for signature verification.

We have reached out and met with four city council members, and they refuse to agendize term limits, stating, “It's just not right for Whittier.” Mayor Joe Vinatieri said, “It's never gonna happen” referring to term limits. Councilwoman Warner said, “It's not my responsibility” referring to low voter turnout. Council member Dutra ignored our requests to meet with him.

The Cities of Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, and Montebello have all moved to place term limits and change of election date on the ballot for voters to decide, including some charter cities like Long Beach.  All have overwhelming been passed by voters.  We ask that you email your city council representative requesting they place the amendment to the city charter on the ballot, as every other nearby city has done. 

We thank you for your support, contributions, and volunteer sign-ups.  Together, we can make the City of Whittier better!

Whittier for Term Limits & Local Reform Committee

*except the 2020 election, in which the state forced the cities with low voter turnout to align its election with the state, tripling voter turnout.