With term limits on tomorrow’s Council agenda, folks are joining the discussion from all sides. Today Council received the following correspondence from a Jon Fleischman, posing as the President of California Term Limits, Inc.
Note: The California Secretary of State has no corporation on record known as California Term Limit’s, Inc. and the PAC referred to by Mr. Fleischman (ID #1351314) was terminated on May 5, 2015 following an FPPC investigation into their receiving a $200,000 donation from out of state.
Dear Mayor Marick and Councilmembers:
It has come to our attention that the Brea City Council will be discussing the issue of term limits for your council members at your meeting this coming Tuesday evening. On behalf of California Term Limits, our state’s official advocacy organization for term limits, I would like to strongly urge you to place solid a measure before voters this November to amend your city charter to include meaningful term limits for council members.
We at California Term Limits believe that government at every level benefits from term limits for many different reasons:
Career politicians aren’t good for our democratic republic.
When people serve in office for too long, they lose the perspective of being average citizens. We find that after two four-year terms council members tend to become isolated, seeking a greater amount of input from city staff, insiders, and institutional donors. We find that long-term politicians are less willing to make hard decisions if it will upset the status quo.
Without term limits, incumbents are hard to dislodge.
It’s the case that because of their ability to raise funds, and their name identification, serving on a city council can be a lifetime pursuit. Again we believe career politicians are a net detriment to governments at every level.
More people, not fewer, should be able to serve as leaders in local government.
Simply put, with term limits, we ensure that a broader cross-section of local citizens have an opportunity to serve.
As an organization that focuses on term limits, we have found that the best formula for applying term limits at the city council level would be to allow any individual to serve up to two four-year terms in their lifetime.
As you probably know, most Orange County cities already have term limits, and Brea most certainly should. If you talk in your community you will find the idea very popular. Our recent polling shows local term limits tend to enjoy the support of over two-thirds of voters.
If as a council you choose to move forward, we would be happy to work with you to make the case to the voters for why this reform is a good one.
If you choose to reject placing this matter before the voters, then we would look forward to partnering with some of you, or with local activist in your community to gather signatures to place this issue before Brea voters. We were recently asked by citizens in West Hollywood for assistance — and our associated political action committee happily spent many thousands of dollars assisting with professional signature gatherers to help get their measure qualified, over the objections of their council. Much to their surprise, but not ours, the voters passed them there!
The California Term Limits PAC has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars around California the last few years advancing the cause of term limits. We look forward to working on this issue in Brea.
Please give your citizens there the ability to decide if they would like term limits for the Brea City Council. Of course I am available to discuss this issue with any of you.
A reasonable course of action.
Tomorrow night, following opening discussion, Council should instruct staff to put a public hearing on term limits on their next agenda. At the conclusion of the public hearing Council should instruct staff to again put term limits on the next agenda, to prepare a staff report summarizing Council’s consensus on the public input including a draft resolution to place (or not place) term limits on the November 2016 ballot.
An unreasonable response.
To the handful of folks whining that this is nothing more than political adversaries waging war on each other, getting even for past transgressions, I offer this, “If we suppose them sincere, we must pity their ignorance; if insincere, we must abhor the spirit of deception which it betrays.” Alexander Hamilton.
Term limits do not rob voters of their right to choose, they merely establish a framework within which choices are made.