Three Questions For Voters

Fourth and final installment of a series of articles on term limits by Anthony Mc Ivor.

LA MESA -- Sorting and appraising the various impacts that term limits have on a community is no simple matter. La Mesa voters can get to the heart of it with three key questions. One, do term limits expand voters’ fundamental freedoms? No, they restrict them. Two, is La Mesa’s civic life so damaged or “rotten” that the cost of such radical regulatory intrusion is justified? Again, the answer is a firm no. Three, do term limits even work? The record says no. Three for three and the answer is the same: No. 

Term limits hurt voters. By banning a class of candidates, they violate every citizen’s right to freely choose our representatives. Not just once, but from then on. President Reagan called term limits “a mistake.” The President said “I think (limits are) an infringement on the democratic rights of the people.”
Limits proponents ask us to vote now to place restrictions on our voting in 2026 and beyond. That’s not a joke. That’s the reality of a particularly ill-thought-out proposal. Why would we not allow the citizens most directly affected, those voting 15 to 20 years from now, to chart their own course? Why should we tie the hands of future La Mesans? By what right?
Term limits are wildly out of place in La Mesa. They are a phony solution to an imaginary problem: career politicians. La Mesa does not suffer the yoke of a “ruling class” of career politicians. La Mesa is not a city where, as the activists have it, “virtually everyone in office goes bad.” Comparing our part-time, just one-vote-out-of-five, mayor to the president or governor is absurd.
The current Council has not brought the city to ruin. In fact, with the new OpenGov platform for financial data, the workings of our local government are more transparent than ever. Nothing in our civic life warrants modifying the Municipal Code to impose limits on our electoral freedom.
Term limits are a failure. This political experiment has already inflicted needless waste at voters’ expense. Not just in Sacramento, but in jurisdictions across the country. Arkansas’ House Speaker offers a recap of the aftermath: “They don’t work. If (their) impact doesn’t give you cause for concern, it should.”
What is the definition of “work”? Activists promise that term limits will result in greater transparency, new ideas, less corruption, better governance and the end of career politicians. After 25 years of experimentation, limits proponents cannot identify a single American jurisdiction that realized those promises. Not one.
If you have any doubt about the wisdom of surrendering even a small slice of the freedom to choose your future, the Founding Fathers offer a valuable lesson. After vigorous and lengthy debate, the Founders set term limits aside. Instead, they decided in favor of the people and left representation in the hands of the voting public. With that, the Founders guaranteed for us one of America’s most distinctive and precious freedoms. It was an astute decision then and it still is today.

Series Part I: CLICK HERE.

Series Part II CLICK HERE.


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Tags: Anthony Mc Ivor, Government, La Mesa Today, La Mesa newspaper, La Mesa politics, term limits


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Comment by Gene Carpenter on October 18, 2014 at 7:59am
Mr Stanley,
Again, is your quoted observation, your view of the current members of the Council?
Comment by David Stanley on October 17, 2014 at 3:35pm

With a trumpet blast the opposition surges forth as predicted. Unable to debate, they immediately parse and selectively "adjust" context in their effort to mock, ridicule, demean and dismiss. And our mate Gene, expected to be first, stands tall and performs exactly as predicted. Aint it great? One speaks of the virtues of term limits, of citizens rather than "professional" and "experienced" and at the same time collecting greater and great wealth and for some reason here comes the "Genes" to support that tried and true, proven establishment system that perpetuates itself by supporting and protecting itself from those the citizens. We all bitch about "Beaurocrats" and how they continue to snarl and screw up "the system" whilst supporting those very "Beaurocats" with mindless votes to continue the same and mock the Term Limits crowd. Thanks for helping me debate my side Gene.

Comment by Gene Carpenter on October 17, 2014 at 10:40am
Mr. Stanley,

"...we watch, day after day, as these same elected officials render ridiculous and idiotic decisions, most often in direct conflict with the wants and needs of their "Supporters".

is this, your quoted observation, your view of the current members of the Council?
Comment by David Stanley on October 17, 2014 at 9:35am

Mr. McIvor. Of course I am aware of the venue concerned, however, that a local ordinance should not represent a microcosm of the broad issue does not remove it from discussion. The adage, "All politics is local" applies to practically ALL politics, period. La Mesa experiences many, if not most, of the same issues and problems we do state wide and nationally but on a far smaller stage.  We can discuss a Mayor who has held office for a zillion years and Congress members who have likewise clutched desperately at their own offices, most of the time for personal gain and the power that office affords, all in one breath and simply interchange photographs. The end result is the same, large or small. An individual who, because of length of time in office, often begins to believe his or her word sacrosanct and unimpeachable. Examples: Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Obama and Biden, Art Madrid and on and on. Questioning voices find themselves mocked and ignored in the very least, more often they find themselves dismissed and  in the recent case of Harry Reid, actually assaulted for daring to ask any question of their demeanor and activities. Are not elected officials suppose to be voices of their constituents? Why then to we watch, day after day, as these same elected officials render ridiculous and idiotic decisions, most often in direct conflict with the wants and needs of their "supporters". Why then do supposedly well meaning candidates take office from the ranks of fellow citizens and in very short time become fabulously wealthy even whilst NOT holding any job? Thus the need for term limits.Each citizen, if so inspired, can participate beyound the farce of voting and actually enter into the arena of political give and take and actually contribute to the over all welfare of the community. Being limited to two terms, these citizens must work hard, study and closely interact with their communities seeking indepth input and performing as they are suppose to. Instead, professional politicians thrive of fawning admirers as well as the vast pool of money, OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY, they now have direct access to and most certainly are constantly "wetting their beaks". Too good to give up so they stay, stay, stay, kept in their highly lucrative positions by idiot voters who never consider but only live from moment to moment and are firmly attached to their mobile phones.

Comment by Anthony D. Mc Ivor on October 16, 2014 at 5:08pm

Mr. Buckley – May I suggest that you cannot “set the record straight” if you will not face it. 

In this series, I posed straight-forward questions you will not answer.

I made point after point you refuse to address.

I offered cogent arguments and observations you cannot refute.

I raised concerns about consequences you will not consider.

Instead, you have the audacity to accuse me of fabricating history?  That charge, Mr. Buckley, does not even flirt with the truth.  

Given the gravity of the subject, perhaps you might be persuaded to mull one last question: Why do you consider La Mesa voters so feckless that we must rely on Municipal Code regulations to toss out the corrupt and the untrustworthy?  You have written with some passion of the quality and capability of La Mesa’s citizens, why are you so adamantly unwilling to trust them?

And a last word on vocabulary. I do not share your childish and insulting belief that career politicians are blight on society.  Or, that “career politician” is some sort of epithet. People who serve the public honorably in careers of elected service ought to be respected for their contributions, not have their profession reviled as sour milk or soiled diapers – and still less so for purely partisan purposes.

In reality, term limits do not make democracy stronger.  What they do is distort it. 

Comment by Jimmy Sanders on October 16, 2014 at 4:24pm

What!!! This is the last installment of As the Stomach Turns? Will Harry get back with Sally? Will Luke and Laura be okay? Who really shot JR?

Comment by Anthony D. Mc Ivor on October 16, 2014 at 4:08pm

Mr. Stanley, Are you aware that we are discussing a term limits ordinance for La Mesa?  And just La Mesa?   

Comment by David Stanley on October 16, 2014 at 2:54pm

This piece was very apparently written by one of the anti-Term Limits supporters. And, I suspect one of those who continually scream and shout about: the nasty and evil Tea Party, the evil and plotting Republicans, the virtues of maintaining the constant corruption of today's politics nationwide. And when a voice speaks up in support of Term Limits what do you suppose will be the response? Wait for the comments regarding THIS comment. Supporters are quickly demeaned, ridiculed, scoffed at, mocked and verbally cast into the pit containing the community of boobs, fools and idiots. Only those "In the know" are wise enough to speak on this subject. Consequently we are forced to suffer theft of millions or billions of dollars, blatant favouritism and nepotism in government, continued disgrace full actions and activities by those "professional" politicians greedily holding on their offices for not years but DECADES. Drunken behaviour, homosexual escapades, sexting, blatant use of prostitutes, suddenly finding thousands of dollars in the home freezer, spending years in prison then fully expecting to be re-elected to high office, public ridicule of opponents, lying then smilingly standing behind their slanderous and libelous statements, behind locked doors deals stealing money and property for citizens and tax payers, wink, wink, nudge with equally corrupt courts, judges and attorneys. How dare anyone speak of term limits!! Are you  insane?

I would ask here in this forum, what are the benefits of maintaining the current and beyound words corrupt state of professional politicians? They, all most always, find themselves above the law and conduct themselves however they want and NO ONE dare say no. Should someone call them on their actions, no worry, there is always a life-time appointed judge to smash the opposition and graciously bow, telling said professional politician, "Why you just go right ahead. I've got your back, mate".

Why, what would happen if we place citizens (Not like those freaks like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi) but real citizens in those positions? People who have struggled with ever mounting costs, ever rising utility bills, soaring milk and egg prices, rather than the millionaires who merely drop in a few more million and buy their positions? What would happen if, knowing the have two terms to make a difference the they would return to those mounting prices and costs along with all the rest of us? Think they would play wink, wink, nudge, nudge and push for higher taxes, costlier gasoline? Because when THEY leave office (WITHOUT A GUARANTEED LIFE TIME RICH GUYS PENSION PAID BY US) they're up against it again just like you and me!!!

So, lets see if the anti Term Limits gang can respond to this without the expected mockery, etc. Bet they cant.

Comment by Russell Buckley on October 16, 2014 at 12:51pm

This fifth long and misleading screed says nothing the first four did not - but I will nevertheless again set the record straight.


First: The term limits proposed in La Mesa are modeled after those in effect for the State. They require that after serving on the City Council for 12 years, an incumbent step aside for one term before (should they so choose) running again for 12 more years. To characterize that small step to lessen the well-established advantage of incumbency as "radical regulatory intrusion" can only be described as verbal hysteria.


Second. The only "class of candidates" impacted by term limits is the governing class. Most Americans don't want a governing class and all of the abuses it brings. We believe in participatory democracy.


Third. La Mesa is as vulnerable to those who choose to camp in office as is any other jurisdiction.


Fourth. Contrary to the version of history you make up, the founders were quite concerned about the danger that long stays in office would lead to the establishment of a de-facto governing class. The many career politicians of our day and the frequent abuses of voters trust, bear out the wisdom of their concerns. The Founders would turn over in their graves to see how the participatory democracy they established has morphed, all too often, into the governing class.


Fourth. Term limits are not a failure. They continue to be adopted by voters throughout the nation at every level save the Federal Government. In 2010 a whopping 68% of San Diego County voters approved term limits!!! As an aside, many of the people who contributed the 238 signatures I personally collected to help qualify the Term Limits ballot measure told me that they would like nothing better than to also impose Term Limits on our Federal government representatives.


While certainly not a panacea for all of the ills of the political process, Term Limits lessen the potential for abuses of office. They are a step toward more inclusive, participatory government. Contrary to a contention Mr. Mc Ivor made in an earlier installment, La Mesa has a wealth of well-qualified and civic-minded citizens willing to participate in our government. The fresh ideas and new look at existing policies they would bring would have a welcome and positive impact.


Term limits make our democracy stronger. 

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