Another critic, Commissioner Moss, said some major efforts take more than eight years to accomplish. He mentioned the recently completed $51 million South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center as an example.
“That process began in 1993 after Hurricane Andrew,” Moss said. Had his term ended in 2001, he added, “I think it would have been dead in the water.”
Opponents often point to the Florida Legislature, where term limits have empowered lobbyists — who have more institutional knowledge than new lawmakers — and ratcheted up partisan, backroom races for powerful leadership positions.
But there was an upside: The term-limit clock forced elected leaders to immediately focus on the needs of their constituents, and the turnover brought fresh perspectives.
Former state Rep. Julio Robaina, who ran unsuccessfully last year for the county commission, noted the negative consequences of term limits but also called them “healthy.”
“It brings in new blood, new ideas, and no complacency,” he said. “But you do have a short term to learn the ropes, and you do have to depend a lot on bureaucrats.”
Proponents also argue that term limits can cut back on potential corruption, because elected officials are less entrenched and don’t have a sense of invincibility.
Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi, who successfully pushed for term limits in his village, said without them elected leaders would spend more time worrying about being reelected than about their constituents.
“If you’re only there for eight years, and it’s not a career thing, you’re more inclined to care for the people,” he said. “Your motivation is really to maximize the public good because you only have eight years to do it.”