By Mona Rios
The city of National City, where I serve on the City Council, is the second oldest city in the County, surpassed by the City of San Diego by a mere six months. However, in the last 50 years we have only had four mayors, while San Diego has had 14.
Because of this lack of turnover in the Mayor’s office, in 2004 the voters of National City approved Proposition T by an overwhelming vote of 70%, which enacted mayoral term limits by capping at three the number of consecutive mayoral terms one can serve. Today there is a stealth campaign underway to repeal those term limits so that the current mayor, Ron Morrison, can perpetuate himself in office.
Back in 2004, when the City Council voted to put term limits on the ballot, Morrison (who was then a Councilmember) was quoted in the Union Tribune saying that he supported term limits because he thought the Mayor should have a finite amount of time to serve, or otherwise the person would be “perpetuating the job.” Two years later, Morrison was elected Mayor, and has held that office ever since. Now that he is drawing closer and closer to the end of his third consecutive term, Morrison has flip-flopped and is pushing to place a measure on the November 2016 ballot to repeal the term limits he once supported.
On May 17, without any advance notice, Morrison supported putting on the agenda of our June 7 City Council meeting an item to consider asking the voters to repeal mayoral term limits. This, despite the fact that our mayoral term limits have never kicked in. Further, our mayoral term limits are the least restrictive of any of our surrounding communities – capping the number of consecutive terms at three (instead of two, like San Diego and Chula Vista) and allowing former mayors who were termed out to run for the position again after being out of the office for at least four years.
If Morrison truly feels he has more service to give National City after 26 consecutive years in office (14 as a Councilmember and 12 as Mayor), he can run for City Council in 2018 and then run for Mayor again in 2022. There is no need to waste taxpayers’ money putting a measure on the November 2016 ballot to overturn the will of the voters.
I agree with what Councilmember Morrison said in 2004: National City does not need career politicians perpetuating themselves in office any longer. As elected officials, we are entrusted with the power and responsibility to serve the public and address the needs of the community, not to serve our own needs and ambitions.
National City Councilmember