Removing someone from a position of power is never easy and oftentimes in the case of politicians they get to be quite comfortable in those seats; too comfortable in fact. Despite the fact that Coloradans have overwhelmingly decided term limits were needed to jettison the flotsam, Thornton City Council appears on track to try to do away with them.
During the June 4, 2013 planning session, council discussed lengthening or eliminating the two-term limit placed on city councilmembers and the mayor. If approved, the issue would be placed on the November 2013 ballot for voters to decide.
The idea apparently has strong support from a majority of council. That of course isn’t surprising as those in the seat of power rarely willingly give it up.
When straightforward language on term limit changes is used, as it was last year with the district attorney, voters have overwhelmingly said ‘no’ to the yahoos trying to cling to power.
In 2005 a previous city council tried the same thing with relatively plain English language and more than three quarters of Thornton residents shot the measure down. We have spoken quite clearly on our wish to limit the length of time our representatives stay in their seats and we have said two terms is enough.
Not only is it troubling to see council take this action less than 10 years after being resoundingly told no, the way it is being framed this time is disingenuous.
Four years ago the Adams County Board of Commissioners placed a similar issue on the ballot. The language used was entirely deceptive and resulted in voters unwittingly approving the elimination of the two term limit.
Rightfully so there was a very public outcry but Brighton and the Adams Family had gotten their way. Now their friends are trying the same shenanigans in Thornton and one of the proposed options for the ballot uses the same, word twisting language.
In yesterday’s Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel, Mayor Heidi Williams indicated there are councilmembers wanting to model Thornton after Adams County. “[Some on council] want to be sure the city is aligned with the county and is able to make decisions for long-term planning,” she said.
Williams is said though to personally oppose the term limit increase.
Since when does Thornton want to do anything like Adams County? Sure many of the elected officials at city hall are of the same political ilk (the ones with Ds after their name that are always in the news). However as the state’s sixth largest city Thornton should forge its own path – not try to duplicate the corrupt governance of those who have embarrassed residents for decades.
Further, the idea that having politicians in office longer helps the city over the long term is laughable. Anyone familiar with the form of city government that Thornton has well knows that the real one running the show is the city manager.
In Thornton’s case we have been honored to have Jack Ethredge at the helm for quite a while and under his steerage, the city has flourished. It has done so in spite of the many yahoos that have sat on the council dais, virtually all of whom we were glad to see go when the time came.
I have no doubt that despite what the citizens have said before and say now, council will put this measure on the ballot. You can be sure a great deal will be said about it if they do, particularly if they choose to use deceptive language.
Either way it is clear that we have another case of our local politicians acting out of self-preservation rather than the interest of the city’s citizens.
Challenge to Thornton City Council: You of course will tell your constituents this measure is for the good of the city and that you aren’t doing it for yourselves. Prove it! If the idea behind the measure is wholly honorable, then change any ballot language you choose to including wording that exempts any currently sitting councilmember from enjoying a third term if it is approved. That way, as citizens, we can be assured that this is truly for the ‘good of the city’ and not for your own self-serving interests.