Some argue long-time council members provide valuable expertise and stability

This editorial is the opinion of Morgan Hill Life

The Morgan Hill City Council recently discussed letting voters decide whether or not to impose term limits on council members through a ballot question this November. We believe putting such a common-sense measure before voters is wise. Term restrictions allow more residents to bring fresh perspectives to the table.

Unlike all other municipalities in the county, Morgan Hill and Gilroy have no limits. Implementing modest term limits via direct democracy empowers voters to decide what leadership tenure best balances experience with turnover in this growing community. Restrictions allow more citizens, especially those reflecting Morgan Hill’s increasing diversity, an opportunity to lend their talents to governance. New insights also counter group-think and stagnation.

Naturally, some argue long-time council members provide valuable expertise and stability. However, their depth of knowledge often comes at the cost of fresh approaches and community bonds over decades of societal shifts may become insulated from within the halls of power. Reasonable term limits preserve institutional values while restoring public faith.

Additionally, term limits reinforce the democratic ideal that no seat should be occupied permanently without accountability. Leadership should evolve with the community.

Those against limits argue they undercut governmental stability, depth of competency, and productive relationships without guarantees better alternatives will arise. Having to rebuild an experienced base of leaders regularly risks unstable transitions. This leads to mistakes, focus drifting, diminished long-range vision or follow through on initiatives spanning multiple terms.

The details require thoughtful debate, but we support voters having the final say on reasonable restrictions. Let democracy speak. The future calls for new voices alongside historic vision.

The council should encourage citizens to participate in further public discussions in upcoming months weighing the merits of term limits. Constraining time in public office embodies the notion power ultimately rests with the people regularly reauthorizing leadership. If approved for the ballot, Morgan Hill voters may determine in November whether or not to restrict how long their local elected leaders can serve.