Good news. Coronado already has term limits. If you are elected to the Coronado City Council two times in a row, you cannot be elected to that same seat a third time in a row. If you are elected Mayor of Coronado two times in a row, you cannot be elected three times in a row. This set of term limits for the Coronado City Council and the Mayor of Coronado was voted in by the public in 2002 as the result of a citizen led petition and it has been working well enough that no new official petitions have been turned into the City Council on this subject for the last 21 years.
A recent letter to the editor suggested that Coronado needs permanent term limits to allow for more “new blood” on the City Council. While the upside of permanent terms limits (like those attached to the Presidency of the United States) would be to allow frequent new blood onto the City Council, the downside would be the permanent limiting of our options or choices, at the ballot box. If there was someone you wanted back for a third term, you as a voter would be barred from making that choice.
Coronado, under its current rules, strikes the right balance. When I left the City Council in 2016, two new City Council Members were also elected that year. Another new member was elected in the following election in 2018. In 2020, a Council Member was re-elected and a relic (Casey Tanaka) was also sent back to the Council. In 2022, a brand-new Council Member was elected alongside a classic (Carrie Downey.) If Coronado voters wanted a more restrictive set of term limits, relics and classics would receive decreasing and declining sets of votes. Instead, relics and classics have stood the test of time with the Coronado electorate. I have run for Coronado elective office six times. In the year 2000, I received 1,801 votes, in 2002 – 2,434, 2006 – 3,269, 2008 – 3,056, 2012 – 5,592, and in 2020 – 6,577. If Coronado’s goal was to permanently ban its most experienced elected officials, my numbers should have been in decline. Instead, they are on the rise. Carrie Downey left the City Council in 2012, was elected back in 2014, left the Council again in 2018, and was elected back, again, in 2022. Carrie Downey’s electoral staying power is a clear indicator that the public likes to have options, and deliberately selects for the experience gained representing the public in elected office. Coronado voters also have a history of voting out incumbents and are not some powerless group that needs people taking away their options for future elections.
The good news is that we already have term limits and they are working well.
VOL. 113, NO. 20 - May 17, 2023
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