June 16, 2000
Recently the Charter Review Commission for the City of Chula Vista proposed that term limits should be abolished for elected officials. They plan to make a presentation before the city council this month with the hope of having this issue placed before the voters in November.
Term limits for Chula Vista have been a part of the city charter since 1973, limiting the terms of the mayor and the city council to two consecutive, four year terms.
Obstinately the logic for abolishing term limits, now, is that good people are prematurely leaving the city council to continue their political career at a different level.
The question that begs to be asked is, after 27 years what has changed that the Charter Review Commission now feels it is necessary to drop term limits?
One of the most important functions of term limits is that it allows for the voters voice to be effective, to allow for change. By utilizing their vote the public's desires, hopes, and the changing demographics are registered and reflected by the people that they put into office.
Without limits an undecided advantage goes to the incumbent office holder who not only can take advantage of name recognition, public appearances, media coverage, but it gives the incumbent a decidedly unfair advantage in the most important arena of all - fund raising. With these advantages career politicians have ensconced themselves into office, creating mini-empires.
But back to the question of what has changed in the last 27 years? The answer is simple - voting demographics of the City of Chula Vista. As the minority populations continue to grow they are quickly catching up to the present day voting majority and with this growth brings change. The power structure that currently enjoys a voting majority foresees this advantage dwindling and seeks to ensure their control by changing the rules.
If the city is losing "good" people due to term limits it is a reflection of that person who is leaving to serve their agenda and prolonging their political career. They are not serving the needs nor the trust of the voters that put them into office to serve a four year term as a member of the Chula Vista City Council.
Term limits have worked for 27 years, allow the limits to continue to work and allow the voters the opportunity to reflect change, hope and desire through the ballot box. If and when this proposal comes before the Chula Vista City council this is one proposal that should be shelved. If it ain't broken, don't fix it.