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domino, power, election, term limits, initiatives

Electing a Better Way

For the seventh time in the last 22 years, the Metro Nashville Council put a measure on the ballot to weaken or abolish their own term limits. And for the seventh time voters said no.  Term limits were under attack elsewhere in Tennessee — along with Ranked Choice Voting. The

Jack Gargan

THRO

What can one person do? I wish Jack Gargan were here to answer that question — I can almost hear his characteristic chuckle, see the glint in his Irish eyes, in preparation. But sadly, Jack passed away late Sunday night or early Monday morning in Thailand, where he had retired.

Gender, neutral, term limits, Memphis, City Council,

Seventh Time’s the Charm?

“You have to give the public something,” explained termed-out former Councilperson Emily Evans, a few years ago. She was referring to a 2015 initiative she had pushed. The unsuccessful measure had tempted voters with a smaller council in exchange for weakened term limits. On Tuesday’s ballot, voters find lame attempt

Memphis, City Council, term limits, lie, cheat, steal

Lie, Cheat AND Steal

Sometimes lying just isn’t enough. But dishonest politicians have additional weapons at their disposal. There’s cheating. And stealing, too. Meet the Memphis City Council. Apparently fearful that their official fibbery through deceptive ballot wording on three council-referred measures won’t be enough to successfully hoodwink a majority of voters, the council

bone saw, Saudi Arabia, murder, free speech, ,press freedom,consulate,

The Bonesaw Massacre

Last week, the Washington Post published journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s final column. Khashoggi was apparently murdered by dismemberment at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this month. “The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain,” Khashoggi wrote, “imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces

Arkansas, term limits, corruption, rules, regulations, initiative, democracy

Corruption, Arkansas-Style

On Friday, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck Issue 3, a citizen-initiated measure to restore legislative term limits, from Arkansas’ November ballot. The Court declared, 4-3, that there weren’t enough “valid” signatures. This, despite opponents never disputing that more than enough Arkansas voters had signed the petition. In recent years, legislators

Mercatus, map, term limits, Democrats, Republicans

In the Pudding

Republicans have made much hay of the Mercatus Center map of our United States, colored by fiscal condition. Why? Well, nine out of the ten least financially stable state governments are run by Democrats. But there’s another way to look at it. “Only 15 state legislatures in the U.S. are

Paul Jacob, Rome, term limits, inititative, ballot

The Perfect Couple

A marriage made in . . . democracy?  Last Thursday, at the 2018 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, held at the Palazzo Senatorio in Rome, Italy, I talked about term limits. And initiative and referendum rights. Italy’s populist Five Star Movement, the leading party in the new ruling coalition,

Memphis, ballot, instant runoff, term limits

Intentionally Confounding Incumbents

The three issues on the ballot in Memphis this November are “not complicated,” writes Commercial Appeal columnist David Waters, “unless you read the actual ballot questions.” Which is all most voters will see. All three directly affect the self-interest of members of the Memphis City Council, which placed them on

George Washington, resignation, king, father, term limits

Wise American Tradition

On Sunday, former Pres. Barack Obama acknowledged — in the breach — the “wise American tradition of ex-presidents gracefully exiting the political stage and making room for new voices and new ideas.”  The former president’s talk at the University of Illinois made big news in large part because it was

The Self-Neutered Congress

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee again demonstrated why Congress’s approval ratings bob about in our toilet bowls. Amid the spectacle of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, one senator spoke not about judicial philosophy, but political reality. “What’s the hysteria coming from?” asked Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), noting the circus-like

Arlington, Texas, term limits, democracy, initiative,City Council,

Strange It Is

Strange for the Arlington, Texas, City Council to hold a meeting on a Sunday evening, much less one to “consider suspending the city charter.” That is how the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported “the latest twist in the term limit controversy that has engulfed the city with a lawsuit and competing

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