Sunday, January 23, 2011

Term Limits… Pros and Cons

At the end of 2010 I wrote Council President Noble requesting term limits for key positions in the City of Kingston, specifically the Mayor, Alderman At Large, and the Aldermen. I asked that this come before the Laws & Rules Committee in hopes of opening a dialog to explore if it is right for Kingston. It’s funny how the most vocal critics of the subject are longtime politicians or insiders (aka Good ‘Ol Boys).
From my observation it wouldn’t hurt. My intention is to spark the debate and bring it out there for the people we represent so they can have a say through a public hearing. If the members of the Laws & Rules Committee agree we will then have a public hearing, after which the full Council will vote on. If it does not pass through the Committee we will continue along with the status quo. There are indeed merits and draw backs, but we have to ask, is our system broken? After a certain period of time do politicians lose touch and eventually focus on what will get them re-elected instead of tackling tough and uncomfortable issues and contract negotiations? I have witnessed some of our seasoned Council members playing video games on their cell phones during Committee meetings, obviously not interested in the issues at hand. Have they been there for too long?

There is the argument that having too many new and inexperienced members could cause problems. Really? If you review 2010, many of the new and fresh ideas came from the new members of the Council. From where I sit I see the City of Kingston in need of a new perspective. The roots run deep in a small city and old habits can be very hard to break.


  1. Lets face facts. The longer someone is in office the more back room deals are going on. All elected positions and appointed commissioners need to have term limits. This would help to keep a bit more honesty in the positions and dealings which the American people are demanding.

  2. I think the older members are inherently conservative with regard to culture... they will be the last to welcome gay citizens into society, they will be the last the include women consider male logic to be equal to mathematical logic... as in "Of course the superbowl in incredibly important" and "child care is not an issue for government".
    And it's a feminine issue, it's the male litmus test that is applied by the old school to women who want to serve...
    Our legislators may gain experience but they seriously lack continuing education. All groups are subject to "group think" but it takes some education to understand the phenomena and consider the benefits of hive think or more modern view of negotiation.
    But I don't think that video games or doodles or the less visible mind wandering is a sign of only disinterestL it is a sign too of poor leadership that permits unimportant issues to come to the floor and then overstay. Snow, leaves, garbage, cats: that took up an inordinate amount of time. Contrast to the time that could have been spent supporting the Main Street Manager services of the Business Alliance of Kingston, bringing more art to Kingston, getting more citizens involved in public service.

  3. You are in favor of term limits. You should make the case, chapter and verse...
    You make the point that new representatives bring contribute new ideas...
    You don't name the "good old boys"... how many have been in for too long?
    I don't think this is an important issue this run through... it's surely right, but look at Jerry Brown, years back, on the fund raising reform...
    You might take a shot at Reynolds... one of your jobs is to help us get rid of bad aldermen.