Jaime Castillo - Jaime Castillo
Now that City Councilwoman Diane Cibrian has grudgingly acknowledged staying for free in an influential landowner's Mexican resort condo, it would be nice to conclude all is well that ends well.
“Cibrian's dilemma is just another example of why term limits is a great way of ‘limiting the damage' an elected official can do,” wrote a reader named “Joe.”
“Another reason to shove term limits up the mayor's nose!” responded “Larry.”
First there was District 4 City Councilman Philip Cortez, who lied to the community — and current and past elected officials — about a rezoning plan that threatened an intended buffer zone around the South Side Toyota Tundra plant.
District 4 would still be represented by Richard Perez. District 8 would still have Art Hall. And Christopher “Chip” Haass would still be at the helm in District 10.
Not only that, similarly solid members, like Kevin Wolff in District 9 and Roland Gutierrez in District 3, wouldn't have resigned early to seek other political opportunities last year.
Does that mean Hall, Perez, et al were perfect councilmen? Of course not.
But they were important pieces of a council that earned monumentally more respect in the community than the current version.
Voters might be lazy, as turnout suggests. But they aren't stupid.
Since 2001, six council members have been voted out after one term, proving that communities successfully exercise their disapproval all the time.
Even still, I'm the first to admit relaxing term limits will not be a panacea.
But there's no doubt he has been a good mayor. And, in my book, it's no coincidence that his best days came under the previous, more veteran council.
But critics should remember that voters are already good at rooting out bad council members. The real problem is nothing can be done to keep the good ones in.