Thursday, May 12, 2011

Windy City Changes

Next week will be the end of an era for a political powerhouse and the start of a new beginning.  Richard M. Daley will end his tenure as Mayor of Chicago on May 16th.  He has been at the helm of this ship for a little over 22 years.  His father, the late Richard J. Daley, was Mayor of Chicago for 21 years.  As many of you have heard, President Obama's former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, will be Chicago's new mayor on May 16th.  Why did it take this long for change?  This week's Thursday Thoughts will be about term limits.
In my humble opinion, I believe 22 years for any political office is way too long: state, local or federal.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a native Chicagoan.  I'm not going to talk about voting records and policy.  I look at politics in terms of what's going on in a particular area or in the nation in general.  I believe lots of citizens fear change and vote for what they feel comfortable with.  This trend leads to incumbents being re-elected for several terms.  The status quo doesn't always gets us to where we need to be. 
From what local Chicagoans tell me, they're happy with what Mayor Daley did to the Navy Pier area and Millennium Park area.  It does look beautiful, but I sense that was more for tourism.  As much as I've heard my few years in Chicago of people complaining about high taxes, cuts in programs, high crime rate, companies relocating to neighboring Wisconsin and Indiana and poor test results coming out of our local schools, Daley still got re-elected. 
For the next election, I wish there would be a referendum on the ballot about an 8 year limit for all local and state offices.  No one can serve more than 2 terms (4 years equals 1 term).  If the president can be in office no longer than 8 consecutive years, I don't think a mayor or governor should be either.  I definitely think 6 years for a senator is too long, 2 years for a congress person is too short and a life time appointment for the Supreme Court is ridiculous. 
If we have term limits, I think we'd get more younger people involved in politics and we'd have more new ideas brought to the table.  We need to evolve more as a nation. For those rare politicians who happen to be really good at what they do, step aside after your two terms and mentor the next generation.  In all honesty, I'm sure politicians would find a loophole and be back in the same spot four years later. 

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