City Term Limits

Term-limited City Council members had their last council session today. As Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports -- outgoing councilmember Carol Alvarado used part of her last council speech to advocate for an extension to the city's term limits.

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A little over a decade ago, Houston enacted a term limit ordinance. Councilmembers and the mayor can serve up to threeξ two-year terms. Carol Alvarado is leaving city council after serving six years. She says she believes the term limit experiment has run its course.

"I truly believe that neighborhoods advocate through their elected officials. Their elected officials are accountable and they want them to be knowledgeable about city government and I saw that on election day in District I. And I hope that we can be smarter about how we plan our city. Term limits has been a bad public policy and I truly think it needs to be eliminated."

Alvarado says six years isn't enough time to learn the intricacies of Houston's city government and that term limits short change the citizens. When asked about the subject, Houston Mayor Bill White said he has no plans to make a change to term limits a priority during his remaining time as mayor, but he agrees that six years doesn't seem long enough to be effective.

"My opinion is that the taxpayers would be better off and the beauracracy and lobbyists would have less influence if you had people that could build a little bit more experience sitting around this table."

The mayor was quick to add that he has no desire to change the law as it relates to his own term limits and will be happy to relinquish his role at the end of his term. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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