Grapevine votes against term limits

Posted Monday, May. 13, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Editor's Note: This article has been corrected to reflect the percent margin that the term limits proposition failed.

Grapevine’s election favored the incumbents.

Voters on Saturday turned down term limits and re-elected the two incumbents to the city council.

The controversial proposition to bring term limits to the city failed by a 24 percent margin. While not alone in its absence of term limits — neighboring Colleyville does not have term limits either — some of Grapevine’s incumbents have been in power for 30 years.

Mayor William D. Tate has served as Grapevine’s mayor since 1973, with the exception of a three-year stint from 1985 to 1988. Councilwoman Sharron Spencer and Mayor Pro Tem C. Shane Wilbanks have both served since 1985. Two other council members Darlene Freed and Roy Stewart were elected in the mid-1990s.

Re-elected councilman Mike Lease said voters told him they don’t want to limit voting options.

“I can’t find any other reason for it than the citizens of Grapevine are very happy with their quality of life,” he said about the vote.

In April, Tate expressed his opposition to term limits

“Term limits tread on people’s constitutional rights. Why take away the power from the people,” he said. “It will cause turmoil with people changing all the time. They’ll never get the confidence and support in the community to make the tough decisions.”

Citizen group Better Grapevine pushed the proposition on the ballot. In October, the group presented a petition that called for a nine-year limit on mayor and council seats with more than 1,400 signatures.

Founding member Kathleen Thompson said the organization will continue to push its initiatives like term limits, video recording city council meetings and an accessible online checkbook that shows where citizen money is spent.

“We are really happy that we had this conversation in the last several months about more accountability at the city council level,” Thompson said.

Place 4 incumbent Lease kept his seat receiving 60 percent of the vote compared to challenger Leon Leal’s 40 percent.

“I ran my race based on my record on the council,” the incumbent, who has been in office since 2007 said. “I think that folks are very happy and that was evident by the vote on Saturday.”

Lease said this term he wants to continue pushing the expansion of the Community Activities Center and a new public safety building, in addition to seeing the completing of the DFW Connector project.

“We’re just starting to see that momentum build and some synergy come across that can be very meaningful to the portals and entries to Grapevine,” he said.

Freed, who has held her Place 4 seat since 1998, dominated another election with 71 percent of the votes to Marc Blum’s 29 percent.

While Thompson was happy to get the discussion started, she said she was disappointed with the overall voter turnout. Of the city’s 27,695 registered voters, only 3,300 ballots were counted.

This story contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770 Twitter: @dussssstin

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