The paper's editorial of Aug. 31, regarding term limitation, was not in accord with what we have perceived to be fair public policy for a newspaper.
Your newspaper, which weakly attempts to be nonpolitical in its policy, was political in its attempt to label those who have led the petition drive to qualify the term limitation initiative for the ballot with "boorish behavior."It was political to then discount the merits of the measure and lead readers to believe they should dismiss it because of the editorial's view of the actions of a few well-intentioned but admittedly upset "petitioners."
But it is even more political for the paper to have editorialized against the term limitation initiative for several months before it qualified for the ballot, without once presenting the "pros" and "cons."
In June, we picked up an Idaho Statesman in Boise that had a full section of the Sunday paper devoted to term limitation, with "pros" and "cons" given by various people, and including the paper's own editorial.
This was in a neighboring state where signatures were being gathered and where the initiative is even more comprehensive than Utah's and which has also since qualified for the ballot.
We sent the section to the Deseret News editor, requesting that the paper consider doing something similar. The only response has been further negative editorials, with the other opinions only being offered through this forum.
Utahns and Americans in general want congressional reform. The single biggest congressional reform that can happen, we submit, is reform of the seniority system. Term limitation makes that reform possible.
When our Founding Fathers established this great nation, there was no "seniority." Everyone was equal. Imagine what kind of better product we would be looking at in health-care reform if the problem had been given to a Congress made up of representatives who were on a level playing field - where newcomers with fresh ideas and unencumbered agendas were treated much the same as others already there.
We need term limits to dampen the power of the PACs and the many special interest groups. The incumbent now has too much money at her or his disposal to stay in office as long as she or he desires. And while the incumbent is in office, huge retirement incomes are built up in a short time, which we all pay for.
There is so much talent and leadership in this country, that it would be nice to see a Citizen's Congress, with people more able to run and be elected because of not having to face the all-powerful incumbency factors.
The major concern some people have with the initiative is the perception that Utah will lose seniority if it passes term limits and the other states don't. A constitutional amendment is needed to apply to all states, but that will only come through the pressure of the states.
Currently, 17 states have term limits, including some large states like California. This November, eight more states will be voting on term limits, including Massachusetts.
Every time a term limits initiative is placed on a ballot, it wins. Term limit initiatives have never lost by popular vote. When these 25 states have term limitation law, the pressure will continue with more states, building toward a constitutional amendment within the next 4-8 years.
If the national term limit movement stalls or fails, and puts Utah in a potentially bad position, Merrill Cook has gone on record stating that he would be the first to call for rescinding term limits for federal offices from Utah.
We are grateful to Merrill and Camille Cook, along with the other 150 petition carriers for their leadership and resources generously given to give us the opportunity to vote for this measure in November. Let's encourage Utahns to join other states to make major congressional reform possible with term limitation.