Urges Mayor to Sign Petition for Mayoral Term Limits and Elected Consumer Advocate
CHICAGO – Carrying a clipboard and an ironing board, Pat Quinn brought the Take Charge Chicago petition drive to the front door of city government today, seeking signatures from everyday voters – and Mayor Rahm Emanuel – for two binding referendums to “open up City Hall.”
Using an ironing board as a portable petition-signing station at the Daley Civic Center Plaza across from Chicago City Hall, Quinn called on the Mayor to sign the Take Charge Chicago petition.
The two binding referendums call for a term limit on the Chicago Mayor and direct election by voters of a Consumer Advocate to represent Chicago’s beleaguered taxpayers and consumers.
The goal of Take Charge Chicago is to gather 100,000 petition signatures to safely qualify the two referendums for the ballot.
“These would be Chicago’s first binding referendums in memory,” Quinn said. “A binding referendum has prompt legal effect. An advisory referendum – while a good measure of the electorate’s mood – has no legal effect at all.”
In a letter to Emanuel, Quinn noted that Chicago is the only city among the nation’s 10 largest without a term limit on its mayor. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo are all subject to term limits, along with President Obama.
Quinn’s letter further reads:
“As you know, Illinois voters in 1970 approved Article VII, Section II of the state constitution giving voters in every municipality the right to petition for a term limits referendum on their local officials and the right to create a local elective office to better represent taxpayers and consumers. Voters in 20 Illinois communities have already used this petition and binding referendum power to impose term limits on their mayors.
“Most of our nation’s Founding Fathers were term limits advocates in the American drive to win independence from King George III who reigned on the English throne for 59 years as monarch.
“In 1976 – 40 years ago – Jim Thompson signed a petition for the Political Honesty Initiative, the largest petition drive in state history which ended the 100-year practice of advance pay for legislators. He angered lawmakers, but sent a strong signal of solidarity with Illinois voters.
“Your signature and active support of the Take Charge Chicago referendums would be a similar sign of commitment to change and openness in City Hall. And by limiting yourself and future mayors to two consecutive elected four-year terms you would be in fine company: George Washington voluntarily limited himself to two elected four-year terms as the first President of the United States of America.”
The Take Charge Chicago question on mayoral term limits would read as follows: “Shall Chicago adopt the following term limit for the office of Mayor effective for the mayoral election in 2019 and thereafter: No person may hold the office of Mayor for more than two consecutive elected 4-year terms (with all prior consecutive terms of the current officeholder counted in determining the term limit for that officeholder)?”
The Take Charge Chicago question on an elected Consumer Advocate would read as follows: “Shall Chicago establish an elected Consumer Advocate for taxpayers and consumers to replace the appointed Commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection?” Currently the Commissioner is appointed by the Mayor.
The ironing board technique has been employed by Quinn during petition drives to stop advance pay for lawmakers, cut the size of the Illinois House, and create the Citizens Utility Board (CUB).
Anyone interested in circulating or signing the referendums to term limit the Mayor and elect a Consumer Advocate should contact Take Charge Chicago, PO Box 8048, Chicago, IL 60680, or call 773-999-2016. Visit TakeChargeChicago.org to download a petition, find Take Charge Chicago on Facebook and follow @TakeChargeChi on Twitter.
See PDF: Letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel