Arlington City Council term limits approved, meaning 3 seats will be open in May

A group of citizens led a peition drive that led to a successful Arlington City Council term limits election in November..
A group of citizens led a peition drive that led to a successful Arlington City Council term limits election in November.. billhanna@star-telegram.com

A proposition to impose term limits on the Arlington City Council was approved by voters in unofficial returns.

Almost 63 percent of voters were in favor of term limits while 37 percent voted against.

“We did a good thing for Arlington,” said Zack Maxwell who helped lead the effort to pass term limits.

“We’re putting citizens back in control of our government here in Arlington. We have arguably set the toughest term limits in Texas. We have set a standard they said couldn’t be met.”

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams conceded Tuesday night that the measure had passed but Williams vowed to push forward with the term limits citizens committee.

“This is just round one,” Williams said. “We’ll pull up our bootstraps and figure out a way to move our city ahead.”

With term limits passing, three incumbents — Kathryn Wilemon, Lana Wolff and Michael Glaspie — won’t be able to seek re-election in May.

Proposition E limits council members and the mayor to three two-year terms retroactively. Overall, it would prevent five council members from seeking re-election in the next two municipal elections.

Maxwell accused Williams of being “a sore loser” for creating a term limits committee and suggested they could come back with a more lenient term-limits proposition in two years.

“He’s the mayor of Arlington and he needs to represent the will of the voters — 61 percent of the voters said they wanted this,” Maxwell said.

A group of Arlington residents circulated a petition and obtained more than 11,000 signatures with nearly 9,000 certified, forcing the City Council to place the issue on the ballot.

Maxwell, who publishes the online Arlington Voice website and has been a spokesman for the petition drive, has said term limits are needed because most residents can’t get elected under the current system.

Williams has argued that term limits could hurt economic development because businesses want stability on the City Council.

“It’s something you don’t want to go through,” Williams said.

A doctor offers tips on how to become an informed voter without letting election season stress get to you.

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna