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Mission Viejo City Councilmembers Must Step Down, Appeals Court Rules

A man leans over a table spread with campaign literature for different candidates. Yard signs for various candidates are propped up between the table and a wall.
The Mission Viejo Chamber of Commerce held a candidates forum for Mision Viejo city councilmember candidates on Oct. 19, 2022.
(Jill Replogle
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Three Mission Viejo city councilmembers must step down immediately, according to a state appeals court ruling Thursday.

The backstory: An Orange County Superior Court judge found earlier this year that councilmembers Ed Sachs, Greg Raths and Wendy Bucknum had overstayed their terms in office by more than two years. The Mission Viejo City Council had extended the terms illegally, the court found, while they tried to work out a deal to implement a new election system.

The city's appeal of the lower court's decision is still pending. But the appeals court ruled that the councilmembers need to step down in the meantime.

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What's next? At least one of the councilmembers will likely be back in office soon. All three were on the November ballot. The vote count is ongoing, but the latest tally has Bucknum with a substantial lead in her race. Raths and Sachs, who are running to represent the same district, are both trailing challenger Cynthia Vasquez.

The new council is expected to be sworn in in mid-December.

For more on the race and the legal quagmire, read this and this.

Do you live in Mission Viejo? Let us know your thoughts on the city council. You can drop us a note or a question here and it’ll be routed to our Orange County reporter.