Sunday, August 21, 2011

New statewide term limits blog launched

With the victory of county term limits law at the appellate court level, Palm Beach County term limits are safe, for now. The advent of term limits is leading to competitive elections with multiple challengers and the people will have a meaningful vote. Mission accomplished. Hence, this site will be updated only infrequently.

To follow the anti-term limits case to the Supreme Court, if indeed the politicians chose to appeal, please see the new statewide term limits blog here.

While you are there, you can follow the bill, just introduced by state Rep. Matt Caldwell, calling for Congressional term limits.

As polls, ballots and even the courts confirm, this issue is alive and well in our state and across the country. To stay up on it, become a 'follower' by email of the new site. You can make that election using a dialogue box in the right column of the site.


Friday, August 19, 2011

PALM BEACH POST: Court made the right decision

On Aug. 18, the Palm Beach Post editorialized on the appeals court decision that affirmed the constitutionality of county commission term limits:

"Term limits for county commissioners have survived a state appeals court's scrutiny ... By upholding voter-imposed county commission term limits, Florida's 4th District Court of Appeal was affirming counties' rights to set their own rules for who leads them and how. In this way, it was a victory for strong local governments and local control. From both a legal and a policy standpoint, it was the right decision."

For the full editorial, go here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

SUN-SENTINEL: Court right to side with voters on term limits

On Aug. 15, the Sun-Sentinel weighed in on last week's appellate court decision to uphold the constitutionality of county term limits in Florida:

"...Voters have clearly decided they want term limits. The appellate court was correct to honor that decision..."

The editorial reminds us that the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board has supported term limits at the state level, including the "Eight is Enough" measure for state legislators that was approved in 1992. They don't mention it, but the paper also wrote in support of the Palm Beach County term limits referendum in 2002.

For the full story, go here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

John R. Smith: Term Limits Work

"The best political news I heard all week is that an appeals court ruled that voters can choose to amend a county’s charter to mandate term limits for county commissioners," wrote John R. Smith in the BIZPAC Review today. "Term limits work, because over the last few years we have seen what happens when we dont have them. Tenure corrupts."

"Whatever deficit problems the Washington political class tackles, or however much the local county commission raises taxes every year, their number one priority is to get re-elected. They do that by handing out public money. And the more that politicians can expand government, the more money they can dole out. Because re-election becomes their holy grail, term limits reduce corruption and government expansion because limits eliminate re-election."

For the full story, go here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Politicians to take case against voters to Florida Supreme Court?

Yesterday, the appellate court vindicated the constitutionality of Florida's county term limits, removing any immediate threat to Palm Beach County's law and re-establishing Broward County term limits that had been overturned by a lower court judge.

Now, this morning, the Palm Beach Post is reporting that the gaggle of politicians and politically connected lawyers and judges that challenged the Broward law -- which passed by 80% in 2000 -- is mulling over appealing the case to the Florida Supreme Court.

We'll continue to watch and report on the progress of the case, but are not overly concerned. The case for county term limits at the Supreme Court level is far stronger than the narrower appellate level case. In any case, due to timing, it is highly unlikely that continuation of the case will affect the legal status of Palm Beach County Commissioners Karen Marcus and Burt Aaronson.

There currently is no legal basis for Palm Beach County commissioners to challenge the law. Citizens collected 65,000 signatures to put the referendum on ther ballot, 70% of the voters approved it and now the 4th District Court of Appeals has legally signed off on it. It took a decade, but the people won.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Today the Florida 4th District Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision that overturned voter-approved term limits in Broward County.

In other words, the courts have ruled that county commissioner term limits ARE constitutional in Florida.

As a result, Palm Beach County's voter-initiated and -approved county commissioner term limits law is safe from attack by local politicians via the courts!

We expected county term limits to win at the Florida Supreme Court level, but were worried about the appellate court case because it appeared to be looking at a narrower question than home rule. Our fear was that local politicians would try to use an appellate decision to void Palm Beach County's law before it got to the Supreme Court. Two Palm Beach County commissioners announced they planned to do just that. But no more.

Today marks a great victory for the voters and a loss for professional politicians.

Next stop: Washington. Please sign the online petition for Congressional term limits here.

Thank you!

Palm Beach County GOP officially embraces term limit law

In support of the Palm Beach County 8-year term limits law, the Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee -- the ruling body of the local GOP -- approved the following resolution 170-0 at their Wednesday night meeting:

WHEREAS, citizens of Palm Beach County collected over 65,000 signatures to put a referendum on the countywide ballot to limit the terms of county commissioners to eight years of office;

WHEREAS, the voters of Palm Beach County approved this charter amendment by 70% of the vote in 2002;

WHEREAS, the 8-year commissioner term limit went into effect for the first time in 2010;

WHEREAS, nearly all rotation in office on the county commission in the eight years prior 2010 has been due to indictments rather than competitive elections;

WHEREAS, term limits address the issue of corruption by reducing hubris and opportunity and improving transparency by widening the circle of those with intimate knowledge and experience in local governance;

WHEREAS, term limits improve citizen access to office, broaden the range of experience on the commission and mandate competitive elections at regular intervals;

WHEREAS, politicians in other Florida counties have appealed to the courts to revoke their citizen-approved term limits;

WHEREAS, recent national, statewide and Southeast Florida polling indicates approximately 75 percent of voters of all parties continue to support term limits;

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF PALM BEACH COUNTY HEREBY RESOLVES that Palm Beach County commissioners respect the clearly expressed will of the people and retain, defend and abide by the voter-initiated and approved eight-year term limit.