Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Term Limited

A late and shortened post this morning due to a very unforunate series of events that left me with a damaged computer, broken coffee table, and significant cut in my right leg. 

I did want to offer up the subject of terms limits as a topic of discussion.  As you may already know, Council-member Calvin Ball has filed a proposed amendment to the Howard County charter that would extend term limits for County Council members from three terms (12 years) to four (16 years).  Howard County is one of the few counties in Maryland with term limits and the only County that does not have term limits that align with limits for the County Executive.

I would suggest that in Howard County the incumbent advantage is not as strong as the party preference advantage.  This was on display in 2008 with the only real competitive race being in swing district 1, while all other Council members found their way back to office with relative ease.  As such, I'm not so concerned that the extension of term limits will do anything to injure the current state of competitive politics in this jurisdiction. 

I generally favor term limits to avoid the circumstance where a politician will serve in a particular position for a lifetime and become a "professional" Council-person.  There is also significant merit to the idea that these positions do require a particular knowledge base and that by slowing turn-over, we may curb the prospect of having a brand new Council every 12 years, as we did in 2004.

So let's hear it.  What are your thoughts on this amendment?  Remember that even if this amendment makes it through the Council, it will still be up for popular vote in the general election.