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Striking a balance with term limits

Posted: July 3, 2011 - 8:00am  |  Updated: July 5, 2011 - 9:20am

Recently, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly president Gary Knopp introduced an ordinance to rework the current term limits on assembly members.

His idea — which will need to OK’d by the assembly and passed by voters in October — seeks to make the limit on assembly members three full terms, with a term being described as three years.

Currently, assembly members are limited to two terms, with a term being defined as any part or all of a three-year term.

In effect, Knopp’s idea strikes a balance between the decades without term limits and the current, somewhat constricting definitions of term limits.

Two terms with a maximum of six years just isn’t practical. It doesn’t allow our assembly members enough time to properly learn the job, perform and excel at representing their constituents.

We would urge the assembly to consider approving this ordinance and ask voters what they think. It is clear the voters want some form of term limits — as exampled by elections in 2007 and 2009 — and that’s fine.

But there is nothing wrong with making a good idea better. We agree with Knopp’s sentiment that once an assembly member reaches his or her prime, they are often forced out of service.

Term limits have become popular nationwide as an additional means of keeping politicians in check and allowing for eventual diversification of the governing body.

Knopp’s proposal would achieve those goals, and acknowledges the borough voters’ wish for term limits while allowing for a more experienced governing body.

In fact, with three, three-year terms, voters will be able to make a decision on assembly members’ performance twice before they would be term-limited out, thus putting more control in the voters’ hands over who is elected and who can stay on the assembly.

We also feel there has been and will continue to be adequate turnover on the assembly to keep things fresh.

With the current term limit system, the most experience any assembly member can have is six years before being forced to take a break, and it is a very real possibility to have a very inexperienced assembly running our borough.

It has also been suggested that assembly members inherently don’t want term limits, with the not-so-thinly veiled sentiment that they are some version of power hungry politicians. At this level of government, that’s not the case. They are public servants performing a needed service few else would step up to do.

Knopp’s idea would help keep experienced assembly members around a little longer — as long as voters deem they are doing a good job. It would allow for a healthy mix of political wisdom and fresh ideas and perspectives on the assembly as a whole.

In short: Adding another term to assembly members’ term limits and redefining the definition of a term is valid idea. It would be a balance between the voters’ wishes for term limits and the sentiment assembly members need more time to be most effective.

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spwright 07/04/11 - 07:16 am
Peninsula Residents want Term Limits

Mon. 7/4/11 Happy Birthday America

Speaking of America, since when does the Boro. Assembly
have the authority to over rule the wishes of the VOTING Public ?

Kenai Peninsula Residents voted for 2-3 year terms in Office for a total of 6 years

We did NOT vote for 3-3 year terms for a total of 9 years.

What about the word NO do you not understand ?

The Voting Majority Rules.

House Dist. 33 Senate Dist. Q & Yes I VOTE

SPW in Sloooooooowdotna

witchwitch 07/05/11 - 04:32 pm
Nine plus year term limits are not a meaningful limit

Voters have spoke FOUR TIMES on term limits, while the Borough has dismantled term limits at every opportunity. Term limits enacted BY THE PEOPLE in 1992 an 1993, were overturned by the Borough Assembly in 1999 through an ordinance by now term limited Pete Sprague. The only reason term limits weren't overturned in 2009 was that private citizens put the issue in the ballot AGAIN and term limits were passed AGAIN.

The arrogance and hubris of our elected officials in general and the Borough politicians in particular are nearly boundless. Their hope is the uninformed voters will believe that their term EXTENTION is another term limits extention by the people, which it is not.

Career politicians have overspent Borough funds, while the only growth industry on the peninsula is GOVERNMENT. This comes at great cost to private enterprise. Local politicians have created a socialist system, using their power to take your money through taxation, creating for themselves a very comfortable and cozy arrangement whereby THEY control YOUR money and maintain their power and advantage by doing so.

Nine years, plus any partial terms are not a meaningful limit and do not reflect the WILL OF THE PEOPLE. If you are surprised by the Borough politician's arrogance then you should do some research and discover the true depth of their deception. It is nearly boundless....

bob99507 07/08/11 - 06:10 am
Term Limits

To the Borough Assembly.Even in the mini poll in the paper it was 76% against your proposal. The assembly is like a spoiled brat demanding candy from their parents.When do they start falling on the ground and screaming and bawling?

witchwitch 07/08/11 - 05:15 pm
There is no appropriate justification for ignoring voters

Regardless of any Borough politicians desire for MORE terms, the people clearly spoke. They are now trying to figure out how they can get more without voter approval.

I hope the voters follow this issue and remember the politicians who believe they know better than the citizens they were elected to represent. Such politicians have no right to subjugate the people of to ignore their will. Only voting for different candidates can fix this problem.

The MAJORITY of people who fail to vote in Borough elections are giving approval for such crass acts by career politicians, by allowing others to decide. Please become informed and vote.

christiwp 11/29/11 - 01:21 pm
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