Beware of politicians bearing gifts.
The titans on the Metro Nashville Charter Revision Commission voted, last week, to recommend that a charter amendment be placed on the ballot, weakening term limits for the Metro Council and reducing representation on it.
“Taken together,” reports The Tennessean, “the proposed changes could throw the 2015 council elections into upheaval by eliminating one of every three seats while offering new political life to more than half of the current council.”
The amendment now goes to the council, needing 27 of 40 members to vote yes. Almost that many are term-limited next year, so the measure may go on the ballot as early as August.
A former Metro law director on the Charter Revision Commission argued there shouldn’t be any term limits at all, but Councilwoman Emily Evans, the amendment’s sponsor, admitted to reporters that reducing the size of the council was likely the only way to get voters to agree to a weakening of term limits. She noted, “You have to give the public something.”
While voters tend to favor reducing legislative bodies, perhaps to save on costs and unnecessary drama, the other direction makes more sense: smaller districts, where each citizen is more important to his or her representative and that representative can accumulate less power.
A 2005 attempt to cut the size of the council was blocked by strong public opposition, so that may not be the sweetener the politicians think.
As for term limits, voters passed them in 1994 and have three times blocked council attempts to weaken or kill the limits.
Nashville voters know a Trojan Horse when they see it.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.