During the past few weeks I am hearing the rising drum beat coming from a collection of newspaper articles, online postings and other comments that propose instituting term limits for city officials here in Wilton Manors. Stop right there!
There is absolutely no reason to impose term limits on elected officials in our small city of Wilton Manors because we already have them. They’re called “elections!” It would seem that those who lose elections and those who do not like the results of an election need someone or something to blame, claiming that the system is rigged, incumbents are unbeatable, and so on and so on. Does it ever cross their minds that these officials are reelected again and again because the majority of Wilton Manors voters feel they deserve to stay in office?
No argument will convince me that Wilton Manors is not better off each and every day Commissioner Scott Newton continues to serve our wonderful city. Commission Newton always takes the time to listen to his fellow residents, is not afraid to make the tough or unpopular decisions, has actively supported the LGBT community for many years, and has always believed that Wilton Manors can be even better as we move forward. Term limits would have pushed Scott Newton out long ago, and I for one think that Wilton Manors would have suffered because of it.
Our Mayor, Gary Resnick, is also mentioned when people talk about term limits. Our Mayor has to run for office every two years, unlike the four-year terms of our City Commissioners, and yet we continue to elect Mr. Resnick as our Mayor. The simple truth here is that the majority of our residents vote him back into office because they feel he is doing his job.
Obviously there are many who feel differently and many who disagree with Mayor Resnick, but term limits are not the way to unseat him. A true hard-fought campaign and educating voters are the way to do it. A few years back, a very negative and slanderous campaign was waged against Mayor Resnick. Another year the Mayor ran un-opposed, and last election Doug Blevins ran a tight race, but fell short. Mayor Resnick is still our Mayor, not due to a faulty system that term limits will cure, but because our residents keep voting him back into office. Wow, I think that’s called “democracy.”
Now there might be good arguments for term limits when we talk about Congressional races or perhaps state offices. These campaigns cost millions of dollars to run, and incumbents definitely have the advantage, no doubt about it!
Here in Wilton Manors, far less money is needed and can easily be raised by anyone who has any real chance of winning and serving on the Commission. Our city has less than 12,000 residents, and you need to reach at most 3,000 voters. A disliked office holder can have all the campaign dollars one can ask for, but getting those votes from residents on such a small scale needs more than dollars and incumbency. It requires a level of trust, a solid record of accomplishments within the community, and an electorate that feels secure about who they are voting for.
Term limits on a local level are being peddled by some in our community as the cure-all wonder drug that will end all evil. Let’s stop looking for an easy road to getting elected, and let’s start earning it the old fashion way--through hard work, trust, respect, community service, and educating the residents of our great city on who will be the best choice comes Election Day! Term limits will only limit choices, and over time will strip our city of dedicated community servants who do their jobs very well!
So, get out and vote!...cause life will just get better here.