31 December 2009

Houston Politicians Itching To Get Rid Of Term Limits

This is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. This whole commission idea is a cover to ditch the term limits that apply to city government. The term limits were put into place to remove entrenched politicians. Incumbents have too many advantages financially, as they collect contributions from those who are seeking contracts with the city.

There is no one in city government that we can't live without. What is it about political office that creates delusions of indispensability? I guess all the people kissing your ass all day eventually goes to your head.

Terms limits have produced a beneficial and healthy turnover in office.

Houston Chronicle: Mayor White appoints commission to study term limits

Voters may soon be asked to change the strict term limits applied to Houston's elected officials in 1993 after a referendum that upended local politics.

Mayor Bill White on Tuesday announced a 21-member commission to study Houston's term limits and make recommendations by July 1. Any changes to the current limit of three, two-year terms for Houston's mayor, controller and 14 City Council members would be subject to approval by the council and by voters.

Clymer Wright, the conservative Houston businessman who led the petition drive that led to the term limits, said the commission isn't needed. If voters wanted the system changed they could petition for a referendum, Wright said.

Creating a commission to call for a referendum, Wright said, enables city officials to “get all the special interest money behind them and run a major campaign” to weaken term limits. If this happens, Wright said, he's ready to go back into battle.

“We'll prevail, but this is really unnecessary,” he said.

Nancy Sims, a longtime Houston political consultant who now blogs about local politics and governance, said voters might not feel the need now for the limits approved 18 years ago.

Limiting officials to six years in office removed Houston's government from the control of entrenched incumbents who were “almost institutions in office,” Sims said.

1 comment:

d.eris said...

Be very vigilant in this regard. In NYC, Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council overturned term limit laws (twice passed by voters) with relative ease. Bloomberg is now in his third term, which was illegal under the laws that existed for most of his first two terms.