Term limits a healthy idea

Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Clarion has dusted off an old argument against term limits in their May 23 editorial. Whenever a person's favorite candidate is limited by a term limits law, the term limits law is what is at fault. Term limits, as a concept, is a two-edged sword. It limits both the candidates you love and those you love to hate.

Ordinances should not be passed or rejected on the basis of the current office-holders. They should be approved or disapproved because of the principles involved.

Term limits, whether for the executive or the legislative branch of government is a healthy idea. The legislative branch always likes term limits for the mayor, the Governor or the President, but never for itself. Until FDR, presidents self-limited themselves to two terms. Congress then realized law was needed to impose the restrictions that voters didn't seem to be able to impose alone.

Likewise Congress, until fairly recently, enjoyed a healthy turnover rate. Now, re-election is almost a given unless scandal is rampant. Politics must be a trickle down profession because first the state and then borough legislative offices have also become long term service jobs whenever term limits are not imposed.

The good news is that Bill Smith, although soon to be term-limited out of office, will not be hauled off and executed. He may, after a three-year vacation, run again for the Homer assembly seat and serve an additional two terms. He may also decide to run for another position. The world is full of possibilities.

Vicki Pate


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