Monday, March 7, 2011

The rumors are true: Marcus seeks to defy voter-approved term limits

The hubris!

26-year incumbent Karen Marcus told the Palm Beach Post she is considering a run for re-election to her seat in defiance of the voters' clearly expressed will to limit Palm Beach County commissioners' terms.

Karen was already a long-term incumbent when the voters approved eight-year term limits by 70% back in 2002. Now that the eight-year limit is upon her, she is seeking to get around the law and stay in office.

It is nearly impossible to beat an incumbent in Palm Beach County. With the cost of the races so high and the advantages of incumbency so great, nearly all the rotation in office that has occurred over the last decade or so has been via indictment, not elections. In fact, the key reason given by the Palm Beach County Term Limits Committee for enacting term limits was to revive regular, competitive elections.

The incumbency hurdle is so great that Marcus generally runs unopposed or faces only nominal opposition in a primary. Her name hasn't appeared on a general election ballot in nearly 20 years. But this year, because term limits are mandating an open, competitive election, serious candidates are lined up and ready to run.

So, just as workable local democracy is about to return to Palm Beach County, Commissioner -- or Queen? -- Marcus is plotting to undermine it.

Even the chairman of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County, Sid Dinerstein, believes his fellow Republican should step aside: "When 70 percent of the voters want term limits and you've been in office [26] years, maybe it's time to just say 'thank you' and move on."

Would you vote for someone who would so brazenly combat the people's will for her own personal benefit? Please answer that poll question at the top right corner of this page and forward this link to all your friends, family and coworkers in Palm Beach County.
The citizens of out county fought hard for change; don't let a self-interested politician toss all their hard work out the window!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"We don't need term limits, that's what elections are for!"

This is a cliche we often hear from term limits opponents who may mean well but clearly aren't paying close attention.

The fact is that the high cost of campaigns and the advantages of incumbency are so great that it is very rare that a sitting incumbent faces serious opposition -- if they face any at all! And keep in mind that if an incumbent runs unopposed, the election is simply cancelled.

Where there are no term limits to mandate open competitive elections at least once every eight years, it is quite likely no competitive elections are being held. The voters do not even get an opportunity to weigh in on their representatives.

Case in point: 26-year veteran commissioner Karen Marcus last faced a general election challenger in 1992, nearly 20 years ago. Yes, 20 years!

For the regular competitive elections and rotation in office that healthy democracy requires, elections need to be complemented by term limits.