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Terms Limit Not End to Democracy

June 08, 1986

I felt compelled to respond to (Cerritos) Councilman Dan Wong's flawed and arrogant dissertation on democracy and freedom.

I have no quarrel with his equation on democracy and the freedom to live, freedom of choice and freedom to run for office. But I take issue on his equating a limitation to no freedom at all.

Need I remind him that we do not have a pure form of democracy in this country, that what we do have is a republican form of government in which powers are limited by the Constitution.

Contrary to his belief that democracy will cease to exist if the council members' terms are limited to two consecutive terms, the democratic process is in fact promoted and fostered by the exercise of the people's inherent power to act through initiative.

The proponents for the charter change have no alternative but to exercise the power that is reserved to the people, because the people who are elected to act on their behalf refused to do so.

I would like to clarify some misconceptions about the proposed amendment to the Cerritos City Charter, unlike what some incumbents would like the electorate to believe. The initiative does not deny anyone from running again for the rest of his/her life; a council member can run for the same office again after two years, if he/she has already served two consecutive terms.

Regardless of the statistics on how many cities opted to limit the council members' terms and how controversial the proponents may be, the fact remains that the numbers represent a growing minority and constitute a statewide trend in favor of limitation. Suffice to say, the handwriting is on the wall.



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