Term limitation for politicians is typically a hotly debated issue wherever it is proposed and Grand Rapids, Michigan, is no exception. The grassroots Grand Rapids Citizens for Municipal Term Limits group worked for months to gather enough petition signatures to place the issue on this November’s ballot.
Supporters argue that term limits open up the system and promote new ideas, preventing elected officials from becoming too comfortable in office and encouraging them to be more responsive to voters. The group hopes to raise enough money to be able to send out at least one mailer to voters.
Take a look at the mailer from proponents of municipal term limits: Term Limits Card
Bonnie Burke, a leader of the pro-term limits group, wrote for the Grand Rapids Press:
“Term limits mandate that open, competitive elections are held in every seat at least once every eight years. This ensures that the commission better represents the current thinking of the citizens.
“Open-seat elections inspire serious, goal-oriented candidates to step up to the job, putting their experience from the private sector to work. This experience, much broader in commissions with term limits than those saddled with entrenched incumbencies, can be put to work in fresh ways.”
Meanwhile, opponents of term limits quickly organized against the charter amendment. The group, Protect Your Vote GR, consisting mainly of the big business lobbyists from the Chamber of Commerce and representatives of organized labor, has already stuffed mailboxes in the city with postcards claiming the ballot issue amounts to “hijacking of our local democratic process” and will “erode local control and silence your voice.”
Yet, it’s what those mailers don’t say that is most interesting, going out of their way not to mention two words: term limits.
MLive: Advocates make their pitch for and against term limits in Grand Rapids
Common Sense: Grand Rapids’ Grand Alliance