Time out 

Bob Dani, moderator of the High Noon Club in OKC, filed the petition with City Clerk Frances Kersey on Dec. 4.

Term limit supporters must obtain 6,000 signatures in the next three months to put the measure before OKC’s voters sometime next year.

“We need 6,000, but we’re going after 10,000. We want to show there is widespread support for this issue,” Dani said.

So far, no formal opposition has surfaced while the issue has been endorsed by individuals and groups, he said.

The proposal would limit the mayor and council members to two four-year terms. The elected officials would be eligible to seek that same elected office after sitting out at least one term.

“These limits put a stop to career politicians,” Dani said. “Citizens benefit from more choices, new faces, new ideas, new perspectives and new solutions to old problems.”

In the last two council elections, people new to OKC political circles have been elected. In April, James Greiner upset longtime Ward 1 Councilman Gary Marrs and John Pettis Jr. ousted Ward 7 incumbent Skip Kelly.

In addition, Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid is a first-time officeholder after being elected in April 2011, and Ward 5 Councilman David Greenwell also was elected in 2011.

If term limits were in place now, Mayor Mick Cornett and councilmen Larry McAtee and Pete White would not be eligible for re-election. Cornett was elected as mayor in 2004 to a two-year term. He was re-elected in 2006 and 2010 to four-year terms. Cornett will try to become OKC’s first four-term mayor when he faces off against mayoral rival Shadid in a March 4 election next year.

McAtee was elected to his first full term in 2001, and White was elected in 2005 and re-elected in 2009. He previously served on the council from 1982 to 1989.

Implementing mayoral and council term limits would push OKC to bigleague status, Dani said.

“San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Dallas, Houston all have term limits, and they’re big-time cities. It’s a good trend, and it needs to happen,” he said. “Oklahomans favor citizen legislators, not career politicians.”

In a 1990 statewide vote, Oklahoma became the first state in the nation to initiate legislative term limits, which are capped at 12 years. In addition, the state constitution limits the governor to two four-year terms.

Citizens benefit from more choices, new faces, new ideas, new perspectives and new solutions to old problems.

— Bob Dani

Term limits also reduce the amount of influence special interest groups have on elected officials, Dani said. He believes this would “free incumbents to push policies they actually believe in, rather than worry about just carrying water for their contributors.”

Learn more at okctlnow.com.

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Tim Farley

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