Vote Yes on Measure L and Hold Elected Officials to a Standard of Public Service That Benefits All the Citizens of Glendale.
Term limits are an important component of transparent, responsible, and sustainable government. Incumbents commonly possess an unfair advantage in elections, making the potential for corruption a greater reality in a system that allows unlimited terms for politicians.
The operative term for elected service positions, at any level of government, is “Service”. Politics is not an appropriate forum for a career, as service to the public quickly morphs into self-service for elected officials.
Opponents to term limits generally argue two points against its implementation. First, some argue lack of political experience leads to a concentration of power in the hands of non-elected city staff, limiting the decision making ability of junior elected officials to the advice of permanent staff. While this concern is warranted, it does not outweigh the potential for overt corruption in the hands of a permanent ruling political class. Opponents also cite the fact that elections are built-in term limits, as voters have the power to elect alternative candidates. However, incumbent advantage in reelection bids defeats the campaigns of challenging candidates more often than not.
According to a May 2011 edition of Legislative Studies Quarterly, incumbents seeking reelection at the local level share advantages similar to politicians running at the state and federal levels. Whether leveraging greater name recognition, more sophisticated campaigns, or better access to funding, incumbent politicians possess a significant advantage in elections regardless of the quality of their tenure.
Term limits provides numerous and invaluable benefits to voters. City council has less time in office, limiting special interest’s ability to buy favors and votes. Council may actually work to implement important legislation while serving, rather than act solely for the purpose of getting elected, and toeing party lines. Politicians may also more readily admit mistakes that cost the city resources, and act to remedy them. Rather than perpetuate costly failures that, if admitted, would likely result in election defeat.
Three terms, or 12 years in office is more than enough time to effectively serve one’s community. The argument that we as citizens should allow unlimited time in office opens up serious questions regarding the motivations of those seeking an indefinite ruling post in our city government.