August 23, 2002
Speaking of term limits

The Houston Press has another good argument against term limits in this impressive hatchet job on freshman City Council member Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (formerly Sekula-Rodriguez).

The law restricts elected city officials to a maximum of three two-year terms, so every two years at least a third of the experienced officeholders are flushed out of their jobs. This system encourages instability through political musical chairs, with councilmembers jumping for the higher positions of mayor or controller whenever the incumbent is forced out.

City races are officially nonpartisan. However, the term-limits rule has encouraged incumbents to stake out positions as Democrats or Republicans with an eye ahead to county, state or federal races, where strong party identity is a must. What's good for the city sometimes takes a backseat to what's good for a political future.

Since term limits began forcing out Houston officeholders in 1995, with each succeeding cycle the pool of prospective city candidates has gotten thinner and thinner in terms of municipal government experience. It has reached the point where political unknowns with any claim to fame at all -- like a TV anchor's widow with a temporary Hispanic surname -- can find themselves in office, with a staff and an open microphone on the Municipal Channel.

The article is pretty harsh on Sekula-Gibbs, who apparently combines cluelessness and single-mindedness into an especially unattractive package. Check it out.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 23, 2002 to Local politics

Ok, I will admit the election of Shelley Sekula-Gibbs is probably one of the best arguments against term-limits... I still support them, but she's one heck of a side effect.

Posted by: Owen Courrèges on August 23, 2002 10:40 AM