Letters to the Editor

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PUYALLUP: Breaks in service needed, not lifetime limits

Letter by Steven Shores, Puyallup on May 31, 2010 at 11:37 am | 2 Comments »
May 31, 2010 11:37 am

Re: “Puyallup City Council doesn’t need term limits” (editorial, 5-27).

Your statement, “Only two of the city’s seven council members have been in office longer than three years,” is currently true, however Mike Deal quit last year after 20 years and Ken Martin quit before him after 24 years.

The proposal of a 10-year lifetime limit for council members doesn’t appear to be intended to make government better for citizens, but rather to take as many members as possible down with the ship.

Term limits are enforced by describing qualifications that must be possessed by a candidate to run for office.

Instead of a lifetime limit, consider one that just creates a “break” in service. This would allow both newcomers with fresh ideas and experienced members to serve together. I propose this language to describe the qualifications: “No candidate having served for the last 8 years consecutively is eligible. Candidates having previously served, but not for the last 4 years, are eligible.”

What would this do? Break up member complacency, collusion, neglect and ties to special interests. Increase odds for newcomers to get elected by eliminating competition from incumbents having greater name recognition. Increase candidate participation due to increased odds of getting elected. Eliminate career politicians seeking only health benefits and other perks. Allow experienced candidates to return to service after a four year break.

And finally, if you accept the philosophical premise of term limits, they must be implemented retroactively.

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