With two term limit initiatives on the ballot, the subject and the history of Carefree term limits has risen to the forefront.
Four years ago, the Town of Carefree statutes included a voter approved ordinance requiring term limits for our Mayor and Council. As I stated in a July 20, 2018, Arizona Central article, the question is not if term limits are good or bad. It is a question of operating our electoral process in compliance with Arizona State law. State law did not allow non-charter towns, such as Carefree, to impose term limits. The Carefree term limit ordinance unlawfully took away my right, as a citizen, to seek reelection to the office of Carefree Town Council and it took away the right of our citizens to vote for or against me. When the Town refused to accept my signed candidate petitions, I petitioned the court to protect my right.
A Maricopa County Superior Judge ruled Town term limits could not be enforced and were in violation of State law. The Judge ordered the Town to process my candidate petitions. Although the court ordered the Town to pay my attorney fees, I paid 100% of my legal fees. I then filed a “Notice of Satisfaction of Judgement” stating that although the Town had made no payment to me, the Town had satisfied the judgement and that I considered this cause of action to be fully resolved. The judgement and the notice of satisfaction of judgement are public documents available from the Maricopa County Superior Court, case CV2018-006012. This means, despite claims to the contrary, I paid all my legal expenses and received no funds from the Town of Carefree.
Challenging the law and protecting my right to run for office was the right thing to do. I standby it and, in fact, I am proud of it. I would support anyone, even those who today are misrepresenting these facts, in their fight to protect their rights when those rights are trampled. Subsequently, as the result of the hard work of some Carefree residents who truly believed in term limits, the State modified their law permitting non-charter towns to have term limits. Because of this, today we have the opportunity to vote on lawful term limit initiatives.
There are two term limit initiatives on the August 2 ballot. Proposition 473 seeks to impose term limits of two, two-year terms for the Mayor and Council with a lifetime ban on serving more than two terms and retroactively counting previous terms served. This draconian measure will shift knowledge and authority to the Town Staff, empowering Staff instead of your elected officials.
Proposition 474 will institute term limits with 4-year staggered terms. Sensible term limits in return for the continuity garnered from staggered terms is a reasonable policy. Staggered 4-year terms will preserve institutional knowledge and experience within the Town Council making for more effective and stronger elected officials better positioned to engage with Town Staff. Term limits will legislate turn over, bringing in new candidates while not compromising effective government by the people.
This is why I encourage you to Vote NO on Carefree Proposition 473 and Vote YES on Carefree Proposition 474.
Mayoral Candidate, Town of Carefree