2002-09-21 / Editorial/Opinion

What Has Term Limits Wrought

What Has Term Limits Wrought

We have long been in favor of term limits for elected politicians and were buoyed by the term limits set on city offices. In fact, we are in favor of term limits for state offices as well. We had hoped, however, that bringing in a new class of young and vibrant politicians in the city council would revitalize the debate on issues vital to the existence of the city and to bring new and innovative ways of doing things to its populace. Sadly, that has not happened. Perhaps it is too early to begin to excoriate the new council, but we see little signs of hope on the horizon. Instead of creative thinking to renew our city, we get a call for reparations. Instead of innovation, we get ex-Black Panther Charles Barron and his soul mate, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, a racist demagogue of the old school that brought us both Adolph Hitler and Idi Amin. Instead of dealing with the real issues that impact on this city, we get a debate over whether the city should supply parachutes in high-rise buildings so that those trapped on upper floors can safely jump from the building. We get a resolution to condemn the Palestinian Authority, as if anybody in the Middle East were going to listen to our city council. We get a resolution to ask the House of Representatives to hold hearings on the crash of American Airlines Flight 587, as if the Congress cares what the city council feels about the issue. We get a councilman who refuses to give up the floor during a debate on a bill that would foster same-sex marriage. We get a long debate on a resolution pushing breast feeding on new mothers. We get a resolution condemning author Judith Levine for promoting sexual relationships between adults and minors. We get street name changes. And, what we get is not what we need. Where are the debates on educational policy, on welfare, on transportation, on infrastructure, on jobs, on commercial development, on recreation and access to our beaches? We are beginning to debate whether our new city council is any better than the old. We are beginning to debate why we need a city council at all, given its subservience to the mayor and its lack of power to act in any real way. We still believe in term limits. It is the people it brought to office that we are not sure about any longer.

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