With 25 of 40 council seats turning over, “term limit advocates are enthusiastic about the influx of new folks and ideas,” explains Tennessean columnist Frank Daniels III, “but many council members are worried about the loss of knowledge and institutional memory.”
More precisely, “many council members” fret that the city cannot afford the loss of their “knowledge.” Politicians so want to kill such thinking that on today’s Nashville ballot is not one, but two measures to weaken the “eight is enough” council limit. Amendment 1 weakens the limits by 50 percent — from two terms, eight years to three terms, twelve years.
Amendment 2 weakens term limits just like Amendment 1 does. But Amendment 2 also reduces the size of the metro council from 40 representatives to 27. Reducing the number of “politicians” has some popular support, but what’s needed is closer representation. Which means more representatives, not fewer.
Nevertheless, when Amendment 2’s proponent, Councilwoman Emily Evans, was asked why the reduction in the council was combined with weakening term limits, she replied, “You have to give the voters something.”
The perennial argument against term limits asserts that lobbyists, special interests and the bureaucracy will have greater “institutional memory” and, therefore, take advantage of council members.
Talk about hollow! The group pushing Amendment 2 just released their campaign finance report. Their largest donor is the Service Employees International Union, representing city workers — followed by lobbyist after lobbyist, after developer, after payday loan company CEO, and a horde of politicians.
The open secret of our age: lobbyists hate term limits, voters love ’em.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
P.S. And if you live in Nashville, don’t forget to vote today, yet again, to keep the citizen-initiated, voter-enacted, three times voter re-affirmed term limits against the latest ballot schemes of politicians and their cronies