I could have saved him more than a million dollars . . . if only he’d asked me. Mayor Marc Morial of New Orleans wanted to stay on for a third term, seeing as how he had done such a marvelous job, except for the public schools, which were a disaster. So he also needed to stay on to fix that little problem.
Well, anyway, the good mayor wondered if voters wouldn’t mind too awfully much if just he personally could be exempted from the two-term limit under the city’s charter. Just him. Settling the mayor’s question actually required placing a referendum on the ballot and changing the charter.
So Morial set about raising some money from his friends to do this . . . to exempt a great leader like himself from the term limits law that had after all been intended for mere mortals. Well, voters gave the mayor an answer, all right, but not until Morial had spent $1.3 million dollars explaining just how much they couldn’t live without him. He outspent the “NO” side of the question by ten to one. He even tried the one about how after the terrorist attacks we ought not risk new leadership.
Voters weren’t buying it. By 61 to 39 percent, they decided to keep term limits just the way they are. Whether they like the mayor or not, most want to let someone else have a chance. The New Orleans Times-Picayune pointed out, “The margin of defeat was even more resounding than many political experts had predicted.” In New Orleans voters don’t accept the notion that elected officials are indispensable. They’re going on with the business of America.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.