Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Bee's Jihad Against Term Limits

The Sacramento Bee's main editorial today is against term limits.   It is an odd statement against.    In the inset they present four things that term limits seem to have caused - they include 241 members have turned over since 1996 (if you take that as an average per year that is 13 members per year - that is a turnover rate of less than 20%); the numbers of members who were over fifty grew significantly; sixty eight percent of legislators had prior experience at the local level; and the percentage of Latino legislators grew by more than fourfold.  My God!!!  Horrors.   The legislature has been transformed to include more senior and experienced people who are tied to their local communities AND we increased diversity.

The Bee's editorial seems to ignore those positive effects and go back the argument that the evils of term limits as they have been harping on since the initiative passed in the early 1990s.   They argue that staffers and lobbyists have more influence in the process than they did before the passage of Proposition 140.   And that is true.   But look at Congress, where there are no term limits.   I guess by the Bee's logic there is less influence of lobbyists in Washington than in Sacramento and that staff is less important there than here.  Huh.  

Any public policy offers positive and negative effects.   If the Bee had any credible arguments against the influence of lobbyists in the political process or the increasing ability of legislative staff to determine outcomes - they explain how to solve the problem. Those problems are real - but they were not caused by term limits by themselves. The editorial offers nothing except support for  a change which would allow members to serve in one body for twelve years - and that might be a good idea.

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