ENDORSEMENT: Tualatin term limits fix shouldn't be needed
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Six years ago, voters in Tualatin approved a measure adopting strict term limits for members of the Tualatin City Council.
At the time, we argued that the measure — clearly designed to prevent Lou Ogden, who was then closing in on 22 years as mayor, from running for another term in 2018 — was unnecessary and shortsighted.
"We are already guaranteed to see plenty of fresh faces and ideas on the Tualatin City Council in coming months," we wrote.
Read our Oct. 26, 2016, endorsement editorial encouraging a vote against term limits for Tualatin City Council.
With the benefit of a crystal ball, we might have foreseen an obvious problem that arose in 2018.
That year, Frank Bubenik cruised to election as Tualatin's new mayor. The popular Bubenik — a military veteran, moderate Democrat, well-respected around town, involved in community events and organizations — had already served two terms as a city councilor. Under the new term limits rules that restrict council members to serving no more than 12 years in a 20-year period, that meant he could only serve a single term as mayor.
This year's measure, supported by some of the same people who backed the effort six years ago to block Ogden from re-election, is a predictable effort to rewrite the rules before Bubenik is now termed out.
While we dislike the cynicism of rewriting Tualatin's charter based on whether or not legally savvy Tualatinians like the incumbent mayor, we think voters should approve this measure. Our preference would be to do away with term limits for local elections altogether, but having the 12-year limit apply to city councilors who become mayor, in particular, never made much good sense. In this case, it would prevent a well-liked mayor from running for a second term for no valid reason.
We recommend "yes" on Measure 34-309 to at least partially remove an artificial constraint on voters' ability to choose who represents them.
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