SUPPORT FOR TERM LIMITS EVERYWHERE!
We are being deluged with support for the committee's effort to defend West Palm Beach's voter-approved 8-year term limit via email and phone calls from West Palm Beach citizens, people who work or own businesses in West Palm Beach, former West Palm Beach mayors and commissioners, candidates and potential candidates, you name it.
The ever-observant Palm Beach Post even ran across this banner near Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard. For the full story, go here. Keep the pressure on!
TERM LIMITS OPPONENT JEFF KOONS INDICTED FOR CORRUPTION
The two most vocal Palm Beach county commissioners in opposition to county commission term limits -- a citizen referendum passed by the voters by 70% in 2002 -- were Warren Newell and Mary McCarty. Both are today in prison for corruption. (Tony Mazilotti is in prison too, but he was silent on term limits during the referendum campaign.)
Well, now it looks like another commissioner might be joining the club, former West Palm Beach city commissioner Jeff Koons. See the story of his arrest this morning on corruption charges in today's Palm Beach Post: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/investigators-cite-threatening-voice-mail-in-pursuit-to-838054.html
Interestingly, a few years ago there was a buzz among observers of county government that Koons was exploring challenging the enormously popular 8-year commission term limit so he could remain in office for additional terms. He ignored calls from former Palm Beach Shores Vice Mayor Bill Hayes, the chair of the Palm Beach County Term Limits Committee, to sit down and discuss his plans. Eventually, his trial balloon was shot down and the issue quietly disappeared.
AUG. 9 REMINDER POSTCARDS MAILED
The Keep West Palm Beach Term Limits Committee has compiled a list of supporters and prospective supporters in West Palm Beach and yesterday mailed 200 of them a postcard update on the important Aug. 9 commission meeting. As explained in the postcard, "In 1991, West Palm Beach voters approved a two-term, 8-year term limit on the mayor. Today, however, there is a move afoot by the Mayor Lois Frankel to gut the term limit so she can run again. First, she launched a petition campaign to do so, but citizens weren’t signing the petitions. So now she is asking the WPB City Commission on Aug. 9 to put the anti-term limits measure on the ballot in November anyway…Let the commissioners know you support the city’s 8-year term limit and do not approve of short-circuiting the citizen amendment process."
2009 POLLING SHOWS MASSIVE LOCAL OPPOSITION TO WEAKENING 8-YEAR TERM LIMITS
A Quinnipiac University poll dated April 15, 2009, shows that in Southeast Florida, 76% of respondents opposed extending state legislative term limits from eight to 12 years. According to the executive summary, "Opposition is strong among all political groups and throughout the state."
PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL COMMISSIONERS PRIOR TO AUG. 9
The proposal to weaken West Palm Beach's 8-year term limit needs 3 out of 5 commission votes to get on the ballot in November without citizen signatures. As of now, here's how we see the votes:
Molly Douglas NO
Kimberly Mitchell NO
Isaac Robinson UNDECIDED (Changed from UNKNOWN)
Jeri Muoio UNDECIDED
Bill Moss YES
If one of the commissioners doesn't show up and the vote is tied, the mayor herself would cast the deciding vote!
Please call and/or email the commissioners before Aug. 9 and either thank them, where appropriate, or encourage them to do the right thing on Aug. 9. For contact info, see: http://www.wpb.org/commission/maycom.php
"DON'T THE VOTERS HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE?"
In a clever case of political projection, supporters of the anti-term limits proposal ask, "why don't you want the issue on the ballot? Don't the voters have the right to decide?"
Of course, the voters do have the right to decide on changes made to the city charter. Indeed we approved the 8-year term limit on the mayor as part of this process. Voters also retain the right to revisit the issue. And, in fact, a politician-led citizens committee was formed to use the citizen initiative process to put the issue back on the ballot. But signature gatherers found there isn't enough support. That is why the commission is being asked to circumvent the normal process and put the question on the ballot anyway. That's right, without the signatures!
As the polling data above and the failing petition drive shows, there is no public clamor to put this question back on the ballot. If it is done by the commission, it will be not be done as a service of the people, but due solely due to pressure from the mayor.
If it is the people one worries about, then one would respect their wishes as expressed by them at the polls and via the current citizen initiative process. The move to put this question on the ballot via commission is an effort to circumvent the people for the benefit of a single politician.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
One weak link in our campaign so far has been letters to the editor. To our knowledge, none have appeared for over a month during the mayor's first attack on the voter-approved 8-year term limits law. You can send letters via email to email@example.com, letting the city know how you feel about the mayor's attempt to use her power as a strong mayor to game the system and get around her 8-year term limit. For additional background and talking points on the issue, use our daily updates or see http://pblumel.blogspot.com/2010/07/west-palm-beach-mayor-clings-to-power.html