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Extended Term Limits Proposed for Mayor & Council

A proposal introduced this week by Mayor Strickland could give Tacoma's elected officials up to 24 years in office.

Rules currently in place limit the term of service for anyone person to no more than 10 consecutive years as either council member, mayor, or any combination of the two.

A proposal that came out of this year's charter review committee process is linked to the form of government conversation. That proposal would set term limits for any one person at two ful consecutive terms as council member and two full consecutive terms as mayor. With four year terms, that would raise the limit to 16 years.

Another proposal, which we first saw at this Tuesday's City Council Committee of the Whole session, would raise the limit even further, giving any one person up to three full consecutive terms on council and three full consecutive terms as mayor, for a potential total of 24 years representing the citizens of Tacoma.

The space for "rationale" is empty on the handout from Tuesday's meeting, but Mayor Strickland referenced concerns over continuity of leadership in City government as a reason for the proposed extension.

If the Council decides it likes either the 2x2 or 3x3 term limit extension, they'll send it to the voters. Hopefully we'll hear a little more debate on the topic before that happens - maybe at the next special meeting scheduled on the topic for June 17.

If you have opinions on this or other proposed changes to Tacoma's charter, you'll have an opportunity to comment at a public hearing scheduled for next Tuesday's Council meeting.

What is the right amount of time? Should we have term limits at all? 


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Comments

JDHasty

Gee, isn’t this surprising?

June 5, 2014 at 12:30 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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talus

I’d rather not have term limits at all (I subscribe to the radical notion that voters can and should decide who they want in office with arbitrarily kicking out a good office holder because they’ve been there awhile), but the proposed change would be an improvement.

June 5, 2014 at 1:56 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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TPB, Esq.

This seems like a bad idea. Term limits are designed to counter the festering of corruption in a municipal government. Removing them tends to lead to Tammany style politics in America.

June 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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JDHasty

And when you already have a Tammany style of politics entrenched (which Tacoma does with The ALF) it helps to keep them from further consolidating their power.

June 6, 2014 at 9:45 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Xeno

I agree with talus, if you’re frustrated with leadership you vote them out.  I’m more concerned with lack of talent to run this city, especially if we’re going to move to a strong mayor system.  If you notice the last few races, there aren’t any races that have challengers.  You eventually get people like Washram running for some important office and actually winning.

June 6, 2014 at 9:19 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Karen

Talent? What talent?  I am not surprised the ‘rationale’ section was left blank.  There isn’t a rational reason for proposing this change.  It’s a bare faced attempt to hold on to the seats that have butts firmly planted in them.  If it makes it to the ballot, vote ‘NO’.

June 6, 2014 at 10:01 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jim C

Term limits are a check against establishment power that developed as our democracy matured.  Trying to effectively remove them is like taking a step back in time to the 19th century.  It’s pretty telling that our supposedly “progressive” mayor and council would advance such an ideologically conservative proposal.

June 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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talus

Term limits are ideologically conservative.  Their main supporters are conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation that want to increase the tumult within government and decrease its effectiveness and responsiveness. 

Democracy is not about protecting voters from themselves, which is what term limits are supposed to do.

June 9, 2014 at 9:24 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jim C

I didn’t say conservative in the modern political entertainment sense; I meant conservative by the actual definition of the word (and didn’t intend to get into an argument about semantics on this):

1. disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/conservative

I believe that pretty accurately sums up the Mayor’s proposal. My point stands.

June 10, 2014 at 3:21 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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JDHasty

People who are against term limits are in favor of keeping the same corrupt politician around long enough to amortize their investment in them.

June 9, 2014 at 10:58 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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