The issue is not new. But it has been brushed aside by our City Council more than once in the past, and has never been put to the people of Simi Valley to decide.
It is time to put Term Limits on the ballot for the Simi Valley City Council.
Two terms (8 years) for City Council members, and four terms (8 years) for Mayor.
Term limits will end the ever-spiraling costs for local campaigns, reduce the power of special interests, and open the field to ordinary citizens with new ideas and fresh thinking. Our Founding Fathers envisioned a rotation in office with citizen legislators serving their country. Yet the reality is that incumbents are elected over and over and over again because of name recognition and the money they raise.
Term limits offer considerable benefits to municipal governance, some of which have already been itemized in past Staff Reports to Council:
- Limits potential abuses of power by elected officials who stay in office too long.
- Encourages new people to get involved in local government.
- Broadens the base of potential candidates.
- Increases responsiveness to the public (by furthering the interests of voters vs. ensuring long term political survival by candidates).
- Encourages fresh ideas.
- Provides voters with more choices.
- Increases voter turnout.
- Ensures a better balance of power among different interest groups.
- Encourages more diversity of Council Members.
- Encourages broader representation of different neighborhoods.
- Reduces the cost of campaigns.
The movement towards term limits has become near-ubiquitous throughout our nation. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors currently operate under term limits, as does the City of Thousand Oaks.
The City Council has the authority to decide to put term limits on the ballot. The cost is negligible. The Council could also choose to continue to evade the decision to allow the voters to choose, and claim that the issue can only be put on the ballot by petition. But that is simply not true.
I hope you will join me in calling for this very ordinary measure to be put on the ballot by our City Council, in order to allow the citizens of Simi Valley to decide for themselves whether to enact basic term limits for our City’s elected officials in the future.