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Letter: Term limits must be part of the ongoing conversation

Letter: Term limits must be part of the ongoing conversation

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We are long overdue for term limits in Buffalo city government. With Byron Brown set for an unbelievable four more years, it is imperative that the city charter be amended to limit all elected positions to two consecutive terms. This is the third time in our recent history that voter inertia has kept a mayor in office long past his expiration date. Buffalo city politics is a fairly dirty business, and it only gets dirtier the longer the same people stay in power. There’s a lot of truth to the old adage, “A new broom sweeps clean.”

People fear change, especially during difficult times like the present, and will opt for what’s familiar, even if it’s mediocre or worse. While it may feel less risky to go with a known quantity, in fact it can be quite dangerous. This is why our country undertook the huge task of amending the Constitution to limit the president to two consecutive terms. Political power must never be assigned by habit or by entrenched special interests; this could further weaken our already threatened democracy.

And Erie County also needs very urgently to impose term limits. While I’d like to be hopeful about our next sheriff, we cannot take a chance on repeating the disaster we had with Tim Howard. Just because an elected official does a bad job or even breaks the law, doesn’t mean that person won’t be reelected; we also saw this with Chris Collins. So, we must have a maximum of two consecutive terms for sheriff (and all other elected county positions). Justice is too precious and fragile to be decided by familiarity or well-funded insiders. And if you still really like your candidate after two consecutive terms, you will always have the option to reelect that person after they’ve had one term out of office.

Change isn’t easy, but it’s vital to a thriving democracy, and even more so to a struggling one like ours. We need to legislate change and protect democracy by instituting term limits for all elected officials.

Tim Denesha

Buffalo

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