Arlington Voters Could Decide on Term Limits for Mayor, City Council

Organizer of petition drive says he has enough signatures to put issue on November ballot

An online newspaper publisher pushing for term limits for the Arlington mayor and city council said Wednesday he has enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.

Zack Maxwell, the 28-year-old publisher of the Arlington Voice, said he and a group of volunteers have collected 11,000 signatures – over a thousand more than are needed.

"They get very comfortable when they're in there," Maxwell said of the mayor and eight council members. "They get very comfortable with your money. The reality is, I think it's time for fresh blood, fresh ideas."

He is proposing a six-year term limit. City officials would be limited to serving three two-year terms -- and then couldn't run again.

Maxwell said he's fed up with the "good old boy system."

"I kind of feel Arlington is behind on this issue," he said. “You have city council members who have been in their positions for 15 or 20 years."

Five council members have served six years or longer.

Maxwell said he has about 11,000 signatures already -- well over a thousand more than he needs to put term limits on the November ballot.

"That's not what Arlington needs to do," said Kathryn Wilemon, who has served on the council since 2003. Under a term limit, she would have been forced out of office years ago.

She argues voters already have the right to choose who they want.

"And when they don't want us anymore, believe you me, they'll let us know," she said. "We don't need a charter amendment to tell them."

Wilemon also said term limits would hurt economic development.

"Companies want to know who's on this council. What's their history?" she said. "Do you want all new people, there's no history? No. You want a mix of it. And that's what we have."

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