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This page contains a single entry by Westley Annis published on May 12, 2007 2:54 PM.

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Are Term Limits an Insult?

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Mike Gorman, City Editor for the Daily Comet, says he considers term limits “Voters’ ultimate insult”.

His reasoning is that voters wield the power to vote anyone out of office. As he states, “We should be insulted whenever we are told we can’t be trusted to choose our own leaders, no matter how many years they have held office.

“We should be insulted when faced with the assumption that we will vote for whoever is in office no matter how undeserving that person is.”

He is right, we should be insulted. But, not everyone.

As Gorman stated in the beginning of his article, “We live in an age of unrivaled sloth.

“Any potential inconvenience is an occasion for a new gadget, device, pill, cream or law.”

When voters are too lazy to learn what their incumbent elected officials have done their term in office, it does become a problem. How many voters tend to vote just for the name they know simply because they haven't studied the ballot? Should we just be happy they showed up to vote?

Election after election we hear and read stories about how less than 50% of registered voters even bothered to vote. Look at the election of May 8. The highest voter turnout was 58.7% for the Mayor in the Town of Lecompte. The lowest was 0.9% for a Fire District proposal in S. Bossier. The City of Thibodaux only managed 24.2% for a City Councilman election. The average for all elections held that day was a dismal 6.7%.

I study the candidates and proposals that are up for a vote before I step into the voting booth. If it takes term limits to make up for the people who don't vote, or even worse, vote without studying than so be it.

But, let's not let all the blame fall on the voters. What about these politicians?

Danial Lorraine has been on the parish council for 24 years. Why? If he is so great as a councilman, why has he never bothered to run for parish president so that the entire parish could be under his wonderful leadership?

He can't be on the council for the money. I'm not sure what Lafourche councilmen get paid, but I know in other parishes it is as low as $7,000 a year.

If you assume that a council meeting last three hours, over roughly 24 meetings a year, yes, it is a nice chunk of change, working out to $97 per hour. Add just two hours per meeting for preparation, reading the agenda, proposals, and it drops to $58 per hour. Now, add one hour per week dealing with problems from constituents. On an hourly basis, the pay is down to $40.

So, on top of a full-time job, a councilman has to spend an average of three hours per week on official business. This does not take into account any committee meetings and being very conservative on the time spent dealing with constituents. And someone is going to tell me that all of this time and aggravation is worth $7,000 a year?

I don't believe it one bit.

Don't use this as an argument that councilmen should get paid more, actually, I think maybe they should get paid a little less. If we can't have term limits then, perhaps, a little less green might entice them to step aside and let others spend a bit of time in trying to guide the parish towards the future.

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1 Comments

John Scurich said:

Wesley,

Not only are Mike Gorman's comments absurd, but more importanly, they're futile.

Exactly what does Gorman mean when he says "term limits are voters' ultimate insult?" Oh I'm sure he's meaning it's an insult to each voter that we can't trust ourselves to elect the right candidate. However, to accept that logic means "we the people" voted to insult ourselves????

Mr. Gorman must suffer from loss of long term memory. Term limits didn't creep into Louisiana during the night and take us by surprise. It was over 12 years ago when "we the people" actually voted - overwhelmingly I might add - to ratify a proposed Constitutional Amendment to limit legislative terms. In fact, the voter turn out and participation for that particular proposition was very high. Huh, now how could that be if Mr. Gorman is right?

Now, think about that for a moment.....doesn't that contradict Mr. Gorman's supposition? This says that we as a huge majority of voters in this state consciously decided to limit terms for legislators - we knew exactly what we were doing.

So, did we vote to insult ourselves??? Mr. Gorman, you've got it all wrong - obviously.

And how is this entire issue futile? Mr. Gorman commented “We should be insulted whenever we are told we can’t be trusted to choose our own leaders, no matter how many years they have held office." No, Mr. Gorman, "we the people" did not pass Term Limits because "we didn't trust ourselves," we passed it because we did and do NOT trust our "elected officials" in this state - and with good reason based on a long history. We wanted it, we voted for it, it's the law of the land...this is a futile issue.

By the way, if Mr. Gorman hasn't been privy to recent statewide public opinion polls...over 75% of registered voters polled said they would NOT vote to overturn term limits. Gee, imagine that! We wish to continue to insult ourselves.

- John Scurich

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