Here’s a response to the Puyallup Herald’s editorial on term limits. The editorial’s text is left in normal font, the dramatic reading comments are bolded, italicized and in quotes.
Editorial: Creating term limits is a drastic move that doesn’t benefit city of Puyallup
Anyone paying attention to Puyallup’s politics could foresee that the discussion about term limits was far from over when council debated it last May.
“As well it should continue. Term limits have been one of the hot topics during recent elections, along with neighborhood safety, infrastructure, and council civility. The majority of residents support term limits.”
It’s surprising, though, that a 12-year-and-out term limit ordinance passed the first reading last week with a 6-1 vote when several members had been staunchly against the idea only a few months ago.
“Some of the former opposition saw the writing on the wall; they were not going to get reelected so they decided to take down as many people with them as they can.”
Perhaps after years of debate they had simply become weary. Or perhaps it was a chance to tailor an ordinance that’s clearly directed at one specific council member.
“Who was this ordinance directed at? It would seem Councilmember Hansen.”
When the topic first came up years ago, the majority of Puyallup’s council members had been in office for more than a decade.
“Yes, Ken Martin and Mike Deal had the decency to quit, knowing they had served the city long enough. But two long-time members still remain.”
Today only three such council members exist — Mayor Kathy Turner and Councilmembers Don Malloy and Rick Hansen. And Hansen’s time on council was broken up by nearly 20 years. In other words, 71 percent of the council has been elected or appointed within the past four years.
“Taking 20 years off removes someone completely from the political scene. Continuing on for 18 straight years does nothing more than leave a permanent depression in your council chambers seat.”
If the topic was ever altruistic with a genuine desire in leveling the playing field for others interested in local politics, it hasn’t been in years.
“That’s a bold statement to make. Listening to the citizens of this town, term limits are important to them.”
Now, it appears as though it’s a topic aimed directly at Turner in an effort to remove a council member who voters keep voting into office. In fact, most term limit supporters willingly admit the issue is a way to finally oust her.
“Does anyone really believe that she could win another election? Even she doesn’t, that’s why she is supporting this ordinance. Term limits have nothing to do with Turner, she’s gone no matter what. We would love to see a list of people who told the Herald they support term limits only to rid themselves of Turner.”
With her out of the way, the plan was to have Hansen easily voted into the at-large seat, a spot he campaigned for in 2007 but lost to Turner. Eventually the composition of the council would change and leadership within the city would swing to today’s minority side.
“Whose plan was that? Yes, Mr. Hansen did lose in 2007 but by only a handful of votes against an incumbent, a darn good showing. There are only two sides in politics, for citizens or against citizens. In Puyallup, unfortunately, the minority of the council makes up the part that is for citizens. So if by swinging the power, you mean listening to citizens, then yes that is what the people want.”
Then a wrench was thrown into the works — if Turner is going to be forced to leave, she’s taking others down with her. And that includes Hansen.
“If this is true, doesn’t it show Turner’s true colors. No wonder people want her out.”
Turner, Hansen and Malloy may not always get along but they represent distinct members of the community. Losing three longtime council members in one fell swoop will be a loss for Puyallup residents, who have benefited from the council members’ knowledge and background of the city.
“Residents do not lose all three at once. Malloy and Turner are gone at the end of the year, Hansen not until 2013. Besides, odds are that both Malloy and Turner were not returning anyway.”
Elections are the only fair way to remove politicians the public no longer favors. Obviously, the city’s voters aren’t ready to see these council members go; they keep getting voted back into office.
“Are term limits unfair for the President? If the only fair way to remove politicians is through an election, then why does the federal government feel like we need term limits for the highest office in the land.”
Term limits aren’t right for Puyallup, especially when they come with an agenda.
“Term limits ARE right for Puyallup.”