An element of serving on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly or school board is running for office. Because, by law assembly and school board member boundaries are adjusted after each census, so each member represents the same number of constituents, those whose area change by more than 10 percent must stand for election, even though their term would not normally be up. That occurred to me in 2002.
This is my third regular term, but I ran four election campaigns. I seriously debated a third term, and did so to complete work and at the urging of my constituents. I will not run again.
Therefore, Borough Propositions 2 and 3, term limits, will have no impact on my tenure. But both of those propositions deeply concern me. I find it disturbing that the sponsors are targeting those local entities that are most closely tied to the local electorate, with the possible exception of city councils.
We are your neighbors. You see us and visit with us in the post office, at the market and local events. We are the ones you call when you need help dealing with the borough.
The argument supporting the term limits is that incumbents can't be ousted. That is not true. When Dan Chay challenged incumbent John Davis who incidentally owns a very popular local radio station, it was Dan who prevailed. Likewise, Betty Glick ousted Tim Navarre from his seat, and Betty herself lost that seat to Margaret Gilman last year. In that election, Gary Knop ran against Kelly Wolf, and Gary prevailed.
Name recognition does not mean an automatic win. I think job performance does.
Unfortunately, the sponsors not only targeted the term limits, but also several members now running, who if they win at the ballot box, may not be seated and will certainly invite a lawsuit, which is not in the best interest of the borough taxpayers. And then there is the issue of not being able to run for three years.
So, in the year 2010 comes the next census. If a member of assembly or school board, and I assume several will, have to stand for election again, does that count as another term? Are they ousted for three years? Is that in the best interest of the voters? I don't think so.
These two propositions leave a lot more questions than they answer. The voters have the power to limit terms without this. You have those options right now. Don't vote those away.
I urge you to protect your ballot box rights. Please vote "No" on borough Propositions 2 and 3.
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