Term-limits motion dies in Westminster council Halstad surprised by lack of a second


Westminster City Council members balked last night for the second time at a proposal to limit elected officials' terms.

Ordinances were introduced that would create a city environmental advisory board and require candidates for city offices to report campaign contributions over $50.

Introduction is the first step toward adoption of the ordinances, which will be up for a vote at the Nov. 8 council meeting.

Councilman Damian L. Halstad went into the Monday night council meeting believing he had support for a charter resolution that would limit the mayor and council members to two consecutive terms.

But his motion died without a second.

Mr. Halstad said he proposed the charter change in an effort to open city offices to greater participation.

He said his study of Westminster elections over the past 20 years showed that more candidates entered races where incumbents chose not to run and that incumbents were rarely defeated.

In July 1992, then-Council President William F. Haifley also tried to get term limits.

Mr. Haifley's proposal would have required elected officials to resign their city offices if they chose to run for another office, such as county commissioner.

Mr. Halstad eliminated the "resign to run" requirement from his proposal.

Mr. Halstad, clearly surprised by the lack of a second for his motion, asked Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein to explain why she would not support the measure.

She did not explain during the meeting, but said afterward that she withdrew support after talking with citizens.

"There were telling me that their vote is how they limit terms and that that democratic process doesn't need any tampering in the City of Westminster," she said.

Councilman Stephen R. Chapin Sr. said he had told Mr. Halstad earlier he couldn't endorse term limits. He said he favors the idea for national offices, but doesn't see a need at the local level, where Westminster voters turned out two incumbents in the 1991 election.

Councilman Edward S. Calwell opposed bringing up term limits again.

"I don't think it makes the council look like a competent group if we're going to just revisit these issues," he said.

Mr. Calwell said he opposes term limits on principle, not because he might choose to seek a third term on the council.

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