Nearly a decade ago, a handful of Palm Beach County citizens launched a citizen initiative effort to limit the terms of Palm Beach County Commissioners to eight years in office. Before the measure reached the 2002 ballot -- where 70% of county voters approved it -- over 150 citizens had joined the campaign, many spending week after week in the hot Florida sun to collect 65,000 signatures from their neighbors.
Their hard work paid off. After eight years, the term limits are now fully in effect. Two current commissioners are no longer eligible to run for re-election: Karen Marcus and Burt Aaronson. Ironically, three other commissioners that would otherwise be affected were indicted on corruption charges and involuntarily left office, underscoring the need for the term limits in the county.
Term limits encourage greater participation and transparency in government as well as regular, competitive elections. It is through the concern and perseverance of the citizenry that they have been achieved.
For a full 'Thank You' list of the citizens who made it happen, plus current news about the term limits law and – sadly -- the machinations of local politicians to circumvent it, see the new local blog here.
If you are local, while you're there you can answer the poll question in the upper right corner of the page: "Would you support a politician who works behind the scenes to overturn our voter-approved term limits law?" Let them know!