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Day: May 27, 2010

IN THE RING: Term limits for Keizer mayor?

Dennis Koho, attorney and former mayor:
“No.  We ought to be able to elect whoever we want to office.

“Having said that, elected officials ought to impose term limits on themselves.
This city was founded on the notion that we have a lot of citizens who will
pitch in to help, and there is always someone who can do a good job given the
opportunity.  I think eight or ten years on the council without a break in service
is enough, and it is a huge contribution to the community.  I’d like to see
officials voluntarily step aside at that point.

“Having been in that position myself, my advice to them would be: let someone
else step up to do the job after that period of time. Go home and remind yourself
what your family looks like.  You’ve earned a break.”

Jacque Moir, retired city councilor:
“Terming limiting the Mayor’s or a Councilor’s positions could result in good folks talents being lost.  The voters are the ones who should decide who gets in/stays in office or not. They do so by casting their ballots and being informed.

“When candidate forums are available there is the opportunity to learn more about existing elected officials or those who are seeking office.  All one has to do with existing people to see if they should be reelected is to watch a few Council meetings or call an existing Councilor or Mayor and have a conversation with them.  They are also available now through email.  Remember these folks are serving in unpaid positions and are there because they wish to serve us.

Over the years we have had good people who have served us a very short time and those who have served us a very long time. So bottom line is, the ballot box is where we control who is in or out of office and we do not need to make things more cumbersome by adding ‘term limits.'”

Warren Franklin, KYKN radio personality:
S”ome years ago I thought there should never be a limit to the number of years a person is reelected to an office.  However, my mind has changed as I have seen what happens with many long time incumbents.  I believe new people in office bring fresh thinking, new ideas and keep the system churning.

“We have been fortunate in Salem and Keizer.  Mayor Taylor served three terms and did a wonderful job and Lore Christopher continues to work hard and do positive things for the community.  So, my comments aren’t pointed at either one of these two inspirational leaders.

‘However, they are, in my opinion, anomalies.  Not every person voted into office over many terms has this kind of positive impact after several terms.  All you have to do is look at our state legislature or congress and see what long term incumbents do to our country.  It is as though they forget about us and start doing what is right for them.  They become selfish and self centered.  As a result, we end up with major problems like not listening to the public when it matters the most.

“Lets work on term limits and remind the elected they work for us.”

James Willhite and Pat Ehrlich, vice presidents, Gubser Neighborhood Association:
“We do not support the imposition of term limits by law or ordinance.  In virtually all human endeavors from hiring a Mechanic, Doctor, Engineer or Lawyer, one would choose an experienced person over a novice.  Inexperience, no matter how good the intention, too often produces unintended consequences we would all be stuck with.

“The voters should be the ones to determine if a person has been in office long enough (and therefore be defeated) or should be returned for another term.  There is a lot to be gained from experience and knowledge of the operation of the city that is helpful in steering the course.  It a person is unhappy with the way an elected official is executing their responsibilities then we should let that official know.  It is through individual feedback we can try to change direction in government.”

Art Bobrowitz, Compass Rose Consulting:
“I would support term limits. In this age of hyper information and changing attitudes, how does a community grow and make the necessary changes? An innovative and competitive campaign can open up the political windows of a community to the “fresh air” of new ideas.

“The challenge becomes the number of terms. Some communities have limits of two terms. It would seem appropriate that three terms could work. Either way, good campaigns are a marvelous way to enlighten a changing community and give more people the opportunity to experience the challenges of public service.”

Stu Crosby, Multi-Tech Engineering:
“WHY ?

“Our Mayor is doing one heck of a job and is an outstanding representative of our City. No one works harder. I wouldn’t want to put a limit on that.”

Jeanne Bond-Esser, retired educator and parks board chair:
“Absolutely not! The electorate can always impose term limits on whomever they want — just bother to turn in their ballots and vote against the incumbent! With the dismal primary turnout this year (coupled with the absolute ease of Oregon’s vote-by-mail), it’s ridiculous to try to replace voting with some restrictive rule that alleviates the bother.”

JoAnne Beilke, Budget Committee member and real estate agent:
“I believe term limits are generally not a good idea.  The voters should decide if an elected official should be removed.  And this has been proven in elections.  Term limits let the staff do most of the decision and policy decisions.

“A free press always keeps the public informed about elected officials.  They are the ones we can keep accountable.  So my answer is not term limits.”

Vic Backlund, former GOP state representative and retired educator:
“”I don’t think it would be wise to impose term limits on our mayor, primarily because the voters already possess the power to limit the mayor’s terms by electing someone else mayor.

“Term limits deprives the city of valuable experience (experience is a very valuable asset).  A two or even three term  term mayor knows more about the “ins and outs” of city government than any rookie would know.  Actually, if a person were to view the number of mayors that Keizer has had since its inception in 1982, it would be apparent that there has been enough turnover to satisfy many of those who might want term limits.”