The petition to impose term limits for Wilsonville City Council members is a very bad idea ("Should City Council have term limits?" May 8, Wilsonville Spokesman). The petitioners' comments actually make the case to oppose it.
Petitioner Debi Laue claims that our political system was designed to have short terms of service to avoid career office holders. (But) that is why we have elections. I do not want my right to vote for a person to be taken away by term limits. If I don't like a current office holder, I will vote for a new person. If my preferred candidate wins or loses, that is how the system works.
Petitioner Doris Wehler clearly stated that this is a political proposal. It seems to me that her concerns should be addressed at the ballot box, not by term limits.
Petitioner Scott Starr justified his position by saying he was more influenced by city leaders and bureaucrats the longer he was on Council. Since term limits reduce councilors' experience, he proposes that city staff attend external meetings and report back to Council. This is contradictory as city staff (i.e., bureaucrats) could then influence
Petitioners claim term limits will make Council more responsive to their and Wilsonville residents' concerns about density. Council did respond by allowing homes with big yards in the new Frog Pond West area while bending state land-use requirements. Now we are seeing Street of Dreams homes maximizing lot coverage and looking as dense as elsewhere in the city.
Wilsonville has a disproportionally large regional influence due to the tireless efforts of the political targets of the petition, Mayor Tim Knapp and Councilor Charlotte Lehan. They have invested considerable personal effort and many years to gain that recognition. Term limits will take away the incentive for new councilors to make the effort to gain that experience.
The briefing documents provided by our excellent city staff are voluminous and detailed. It takes time to digest the contents and to learn the history of each issue. The churn resulting from term limits will lower the expertise of City Council.
Wilsonville's most recent community survey shows that 95% of residents polled believe the city is an excellent or good place to live. This is testament to the fact that City Council has been doing a great job without term limits.
Please join me in opposing term limits in Wilsonville.
Al Levit is a citizen of Wilsonville.
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