Members of the Midland TEA Party want to amend the city charter, making it so city council members can serve no more than three consecutive terms. The TEA Party held a meeting in Midland on Monday night to outline their plan.
The Midland TEA Party has a mission statement that begins with "constitutionally limited government," and that's exactly what they're trying to do...limit government. Members of the group believe that by empowering the voting public they can create positive change. We've been keeping up with the local TEA Parties ever since they were created, but rather than targeting the federal government, they're now targeting our city government. As a result, some of our city councilmen are not happy.
It started as a recall, but has now turned into much more.
"At one point in time, the idea was to have a recall petition for [Mayor Wes Perry, Councilmen John James, and myself] and I guess they have since dropped that idea, and they've now decided that they want to somehow term limit us," Scott Dufford, Midland City Councilmen At Large, said.
"Currently right now, you can run for three terms but then you can also switch districts or run for mayor or run for at large for another three terms. So we're looking at a potential on the small sides of 27 years of term-ship, and some people don't want that," Mike Lopez, Midland TEA Party Executive Director, said.
Specifically, members of the Midland TEA Party don't want that. But Dufford says the city already has term limits in place, and they work fine.
"I'm kind of miffed at why they would just target us or stop at us. I actually think they're being really a little bit short-sided. I think they ought to go after all the other taxing entities in town and say hey, why don't you guys have term limits like the city council does?" Dufford said.
But when asked why they're not going after people like the county commissioners who make their livelihood from being career politicians...Lopez said they have to start small because they are a small organization. So small, In fact, that less than a dozen people showed up to the Monday night meeting.
Lopez says limiting city council members to no more than three consecutive terms will bring in fresh faces and new ideas. He also believes there's corruption within the Midland City Council.
"It's not just the city. Government is running wild. I believe corruption is on all levels of government right now," Lopez said.
"I get upset when I hear stuff like that because I'm serving at $25/month and I'm doing it because I want to do things to give back to my community and make Midland a better place to live. And when somebody calls me corrupt...it's almost like fighting words," Dufford said.
The purpose of Monday nights meeting was to present the proposal to TEA Party members so they can start working on getting signatures needed to get the issue on the May ballot. For more about our local TEA Party, head to their website at www.MidlandTEAParty.org.