Apr 212017

by Walter Lagraves…….

Dear Editor,

Our Florida Mosquito Control Authority is considering term limiting themselves. I salute them.

However a board member seems to be set on setting the term limits so high that the entire purpose of term limiting would be nullified.

A member is suggesting that terms be limited to a total of 16 years…16 years. That is just too darned long.

The President of the United States is limited to 8 years in office. That’s enough. In Florida our Governor is limited to 8 years in office. That’s enough.

Our State House members area limited to four consecutive terms 2 year terms (8 years) but can run again after sitting out one election.

Our State Senators are generally limited to 2 4 year terms.

Those who argue against term limits or extended term limits claim that the learning curve in public office requires extended service so as permit officials to become knowledgeable.

Friends…it strikes me that the candidate who wins has shown that he/she has a pretty solid base of information on the issues and plans as to how to best serve and be a problem solver.

By the end 6 months a newbie elected official certainly knows where the restrooms are. He or she knows where the parking spaces are, knows what the issues are, and has developed ideas as to how to address the issues. He/she has forged relationships with other officials and is off and running working on solving the problems that he/she promised to solve.

Think about it. It takes only about a year and half or so to earn a masters degree. We would expect that a newly elected official would have demonstrated ability and knowledge commensurate with a baccalaureate degree in order to get elected.

It only takes 4 years to graduate from our military academy’s as an officer. Many civilians earn a baccalaureate degree in 3 years or less.

Those who argue against term limits, or for extended term limits, also argue that limits will result in the loss of “institutional knowledge.” That argument is specious.

All too often “institutional knowledge” is nothing more than cozy relationships with persons who serve special interests. With term limits those special interests will be more often confronted with fresh new faces…skeptical faces, faces that are not interested in making public service a career. All too often “institutional knowledge” results in a jaded outlook, going along to get along.

We need term limits. 8 years is enough.

Please take just a second and let the Bug Board know how you feel: The Chair is Phil Goodman email him at:pgoodman@keysmosquito.org. You can make a difference.

Walter Lagraves
Big Pine Key

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 April 21, 2017  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #215, Letter to the Editor  Add comments

  One Response to “Term Limits”

  1. In his letter to the Editor, Walter Lagraves urges term limits for the Mosquito Control Board and argues that the “President of the United States is limited to 8 years in office. That’s enough.” Not true.

    The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, in, pertinent part, as follows:” No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.” That is why President Gerald Ford could not have run for a second 4-year term had he won the election against Jimmy Carter.

    Often, so-called term limit laws limit the number of years in office and not terms. In Key West, Mayor Craig Cates was able to serve five terms or nine years and a city commissioner could serve four terms or 15 years, rather than be limited to 8 years for mayor and 12 years for commissioner, as delineated in the charter. The possibility of more years in office came about when city odd-year elections were changed to the State’s even-year elections.

    The Mosquito Control Commission could limit terms of service to no more than three 4-year terms, or two terms where a person serves for more than one year because of the death or resignation of a sitting commissioner. (Present commissioners want four terms; I agree that that is much too long. Some members of the public seek two terms at most. I agree with that.

    As a compromise, however, let’s limit it to three terms–not 12 years–three terms and we will borrow the language from the U.S. Constitution.

    And, such a limitation could be considered as to all present sitting commissioners because these new, clear eligibility requirements for another term are simply those with which a person seeking election to that office in the future must comply. A statute is not considered retroactive merely because it draws upon antecedent facts for its operation.

    Suggested language:

    “No person shall be elected to be a member of the Mosquito Control Commission of Monroe County who has been previously elected to that office three times, and no person who has held the office of Mosquito Control Commissioner or has acted in that capacity for more than one year of a term to which some other person was elected, shall be elected to the office of Monroe County Commissioner more than two times.”

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