Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Turner win in NY a victory for Congressional term limits

This morning's press release tells the story:

SEPTEMBER 14, 2011 -- U.S. Term Limits President Philip Blumel celebrated the victory of Bob Turner to the U.S. House in yesterday’s special election in New York’s 9th as a victory for the cause of Congressional term limits.

"We welcome yet another new face in Washington who is committed to opening up the Congress to citizen legislators like himself," said Blumel. Turner is a retired media executive of 40 years.

A Constitutional amendment bill has been introduced by Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) in the U.S. Senate which limit members of the House to three terms and Senators to two terms in office. Turner is a signatory of a U.S. Term Limits pledge to support such legislation.

"Turner’s upset election in is just one more shock wave to hit the power structure in D.C. People are demanding an end to the entitled political culture in our nation’s capitol and passage of the term limits Constitutional Amendment would be a great leap towards that goal,” Blumel said. “We look forward to seeing Rep. Turner’s name on the growing list of cosponsors for the term limits amendment."

To sign an online petition in favor of the term limits amendment, go here.

Term limits continues to enjoy broad, bi-partisan support with 78% of U.S. registered voters in favor of congressional term limits according to a September 2010 FoxNews Public Opinion Dynamics poll of registered voters. The poll showed 74% of Democrats polled favored term limits with 84% of Republicans indicating support, with overall support jumping 8% from a March 2009 poll.

Passage of the Constitutional Amendment requires a 2/3 vote of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives followed by passage in 38 states.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rick Perry: "I am not a fan of term limits"

With a term limits amendment in both houses of the Congress picking up sponsorship and polls showing unprecedented support for the idea among voters, term limits may become an important issue of the 2012 presidential campaign. In fact, presidential support could be a decisive factor in getting the amendment through Congress.

So far, presidential candidates have been largely mum. Gov. Gary Johnson has signed the U.S. Term Limits presidential term limits pledge, committing to advocate term limits in his campaign and, if elected, as president. But the others, nothing, until now.

Gov. Rick Perry broke the silence this week with his announcement that "I am not a fan of term limits ... I am very passionate about this." He made the announcement, with a convoluted defense of his position, in response to a citizen who asked if he'd help get the amendment passed.

See the video here.

Note how he pivots to another popular amendment to recover, as the audience is not on Perry's side here. But, of course, support for term limits and a balance budget amendment are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the two reforms made up the core of Sen. Rand Paul's successful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate. The positions helped Paul catapault over his establishment rival.

Perhaps something similar may happen in the presidential race too.

To let the Congress know you are a fan of Congressional term limits, please sign the online petition here. Thanks!

County politicians ask Florida Supreme Court to abolish voter-approved county term limits

It's official. Broward County politicians, hiding behind their attorneys, are appealing the recent appellate court decision that deemed county commission term limits constitutional. Yes, county term limits are going to the Florida Supreme Court.

Bill Scherer, acting for sitting Broward commissioner John Rodstrom among others, launched the appeal after losing his case at the appellate court level on Aug. 10. The appellate court had decided -- unanimously -- that home rule charter counties do indeed have the right to customize their county commissions as they have long done.

It is for this reason that some charter counties have seven commissioners and some have five, or even 13. Some have single member districts and some are elected from the county at-large -- and some have a blend of the two. Some have a strong mayor system and some have a commission-manager structure. Some counties offer nominal compensation to cover expenses and others offer high salaries with benefits. Some charter counties (10) have term limits and some don't (10).

In home rule counties, all charter changes such as these are approved by the voters in a referendum, sometimes by a citizen's initiative after collecting thousands of signatures from their neighbors. Florida's county term limits were adopted by lopsided votes of the people, including 80% voter approval in Broward.

The August decision by the 4th District Court of Appeals upheld Broward County term limits, argued that this traditional understanding of home rule is correct. The people won; the politicians lost. It should have ended there.

But politicians grasp for power like a drowning man gasps for air. Scherer and his cronies argue in their appeal to the Supreme Court that the people cannot be trusted to alter their charter in this way. Instead, county commissioners should be treated just like constitutional officers -- such as the tax collector and property appraisers -- which are state creations over which the Supreme Court has said people have less say.

This is seen as a weak argument, as constitutional officers are distinct from county commissioners are treated in a different section of the state constitution. The quite readable 4th district decision makes this distinction as clear as day.

Meanwhile, the desperate Broward political clan is tossing 2012 county elections across the state into confusion in their last bid to hold on to the thrones that have enriched and, sadly but evidently, corrupted them.