A movement being led by former Gov. Pat Quinn may have been thwarted by the City Council, which on Wednesday approved a measure that puts three referendum questions on the ballots for the Nov. 6 elections that will be used in Chicago.
FOR WHAT IT’S worth, state law limits the number of referendum questions that can appear on a ballot to three. Meaning even if Quinn manages to get the petition signatures of support sufficient enough to get his mayoral term limits question on the ballot, it won’t appear because this year’s ballot is now crowded off.
I suppose Quinn could still try to push his measure. But it wouldn’t apply to Chicago, so what would be the point.
I’ll admit that anybody who tries to claim the City Council is taking on issues of great significance is oh so full of bull caca. The only reason for doing this is to prevent the term limits issue from even being contemplated by voters.
It’s a dirty trick, which means the tricksters of City Hall (who have a long, glorious history of such maneuvers in the name of electoral politics) win yet again!
BUT IF YOU think about it, the whole term limits referendum reeks of a dirty trick maneuver. Are we really supposed to feel sorry for someone who was playing “dirty pool” because they got beat at their own game?
For the record, Quinn wanted Chicago voters to be able to decide on a binding referendum that would say no one can serve more than two full four-year terms as mayor of Chicago.
It would have taken effect immediately upon being voted on. Which would mean that for the 2019 municipal election cycle, Emanuel wouldn’t be eligible to run for mayor.
We’d have to pick from any of the other dozen-or-so mediocrities who have dreams of working out of City Hall and being thought of as the “Man on Five” (or Woman, to be technically accurate) all because they think a sufficient number of people despise the idea of Rahm Emanuel in office that they’ll vote for anybody else besides him come Feb. 26 (and again on April 5 in a run-off election).
BUT NOW, PEOPLE won’t be able to decide if they want mayoral term limits before next year’s elections. Which makes the issue a moot point for now.
Quinn, I’m sure, will continue to fight. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Quinn tried shaming aldermen to do the “right thing” in terms of letting his referendum question advance.
Let’s be honest. The idea of any political person doing the “right thing” or having a solid moral compass probably means that someone has been watching “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” a little bit too often. It ain’t a gonna happen!
As for Quinn’s suggestion that the courts could rule in a way that forces his referendum on the ballot, I’d only remind people that the courts in the past have not been sympathetic toward referendum access – at times kicking questions off the ballot even if sufficient signatures of support have been obtained (which Quinn hasn’t done yet).
SO WHAT ARE the questions we’ll get to offer our (solely advisory) opinions on come November?
Should money from (future) medical marijuana taxes be used to fund public education or mental health services? Should Chicago offer a homeowner’s property tax exemption for people who have lived in their houses for 10 or more years? And should Chicago outlaw plastic straws within the city limits?
All may be legitimate questions to put forth to the voters.
But in my mind, they reek of the same political stink that a term limits measure would have had if that was the only way Rahm’s critics could find to actually beat him on Election Day.