Editorial: More term-limit fakery
Santa Ana's Measure D would gut term limits and offers promise of an ethics code
It's disturbing to watch a city government become out of touch with its constituents. The best recent example of this phenomenon is Santa Ana, which is involved in a variety of questionable policies that seem at odds with the well-being of city residents. Most significantly, the City Council and staff are trying to foist a massive redevelopment project on the city's urban core as a way to transform the city into something envisioned by planners, with the likely result that hundreds of current homes and businesses will be forced out and replaced with condos geared toward a different clientele.
Just because the city has problems that need fixing is no reason to turn on its current residential make-up.
The many legal, law abiding, citizens of this city do their damndest to improve their lot and bring a lot of good to this city.
So what if many are Hispanic, and low income.
Do things to improve the city, improve their educational, and language skills, and business opportunities not things aimed at running them out on a rail.
The Renaissance Plan is the epitome of an imperious city government at the policy level. But the council has been imperious at a political level, also. The City Council has been reluctant to televise many of its public meetings and has cracked down on city commissioners who criticized city decisions on a popular local blog (http://www.orangejuice.com).
An open and honest City Government would not be reluctant to televise as many of its public meetings, especially City Council Meetings, as it can.
I don't agree with all I read on Orange Juice, but to punish them for expressing their opinions, and keeping the public (Or, at least those of it with Computer Access.) apprised of the goings on in their Community, and the County as a whole, is an attack on the freedoms we all hold dear.
Now, Santa Ana voters are being asked to vote on a measure on the Feb. 5 ballot, Measure D, that is one of the most self-serving initiatives we've seen. If approved, the measure would extend council terms from two four-year terms to three four-year terms. It would continue to exempt the mayor from term limits. That's ironic, given that the impetus for the "reform" was to apply term limits to the mayor's office. When that failed in the City Council, other council members argued that it was necessary to extend their term limits so the council can compete with the mayor. But it's hard to view the term-limit extension as anything more than a brazen attempt by council members to extend their stay in power.
If the Council Members and Mayor had a track record of policies, programs, and developement that significantly improved the city and the lives of its citizens, and there was no hint of the shenanigans I've read about occurring in this city over the years, then maybe, maybe, a persuasive argument could be made to extend terms for Council Members to 12, but there definitely needs to be a matching limit on the term of the Mayor, whether 8 yrs., or 12.
Supporters of the measure are selling it deceptively. The ballot argument in favor of Measure D makes it sound as if its passage would tighten rather than loosen term limits. Supporters talk about Measure D's requirement for a code of ethical behavior for officials, but this "yet-to-be-developed" code is meaningless campaign blather designed to gin up support for a bad measure.
Santa Ana needs leadership more in touch with the community. If Measure D passes, the current crowd will be even more insulated from reality. Vote "no" on Measure D.
Ethics Code? Interesting idea, but that should only be a start in cleaning up the problems this city has.
The city is majority Hispanic, that reality ain't gonna change anytime soon so the powers that be need to think of ways to improve the city, the lives of its citizens and its image other than the ways they seem to want to go about it.
This is the County Seat isn't it? Then act like it! Use the brains God gave you to come up with smart ideas to help not hinder.
I aim to get out and about and learn more about this city I live in, more than I've had the chance to do in the past, and it seems to me some of our Officials need to get out there and look around as well.
Thomas Anthony Gordon, of Orange Juice, adds his 2 cents in response to the Editorial:
Does a Council that holds 50% of it's meetings off camera deserve to continue doing the business of the people?
No, and I'd say that even if they were all Republicans.
Should a Council that disregards the public be allowed to get four more years to do so?
Again, No. If the voters are properly educated about the goings on in their city, and decide any Official should not be re-elected then they will not vote for them, regardless of how many consecutive terms they can have, but when a Council, and Mayor, decides that it knows best about how many terms it should have and thinks it can push its decision down the throats of an ignorant electorate, then I am concerned about what sort of leaders we have.
Should Councilmembers who have attained office using the money of developers and special interest now be attempting to sell us Measure D by telling that those same developers and special interest are not to be trusted.
Proper Developement will benefit the city, and one Democrats Special Interest is another Republicans, well you know what I mean...but when those same Officials turn on those that supported them in order to further their own power one has to wonder if the ordinary Jose should trust them to have the best interests of the Community at heart.
Miguel Pulido,Sal Tinajero, Lisa Bist, Max Madrid and Joe Ramirez signed the arguement in favor of Measure D right below a line that says "Don't be fooled by Developers."
This Measure will do NOTHING to reduce the influence or power of either developers or special interest and the city wasting $150,000 is only going to make them have a bigger say in this city, while the will of the people gets disregarded.
The will of the people, whether that majority is Democrat, or Republican, is what our leaders are elected to enact.
Influence, connections and money can do a lot, much of it positive, but elected officials also need to take into consideration what the ordinary citizen, with just a vote, and no connections, or money to back it up has to say.
I, too, join the OC Register in encouraging people to VOTE NO ON MEASURE D!