McAllen residents petition for term limits

The city of McAllen is in the process of verifying more than 4,000 signatures from residents after a petition to amend the city charter was filed August 16.

In hopes of finding more support from city leaders, the McAllen Police Association asked for signatures to petition to ask voter if they want to impose term limits for the mayor and the city commissioners.

The current McAllen mayor, Richard Cortez will finish his second four-year term in May, but one of his recent predecessors, Othal Brand Senior served twenty years from 1977-1997.

The movement to set term limits has become much more than the police union.

Republican candidate for State District 41 Miriam Martinez is now voicing her support.

"You don't want to lead to corruption because once you have so many years in the same position a lot of opportunities come up that aren't on the white side, they are more on the gray side, so let's just keep it straight, Martinez said.

But, three-term McAllen city commissioner Marcus Barrera disagrees.

"By having someone that you know and has a history in office that you know will react and do things a certain way is beneficial to a city in general I believe, Barrera said. Martinez tells Action 4 if she's elected to serve District 41, she doesn't plan to stay in that seat for long.

"If the purpose is to serve the community, after two terms if you think you are doing well, you need to seek office and let someone else have the opportunity to run as well, Martinez said. But, commissioner Barrera stresses longevity is important because it may offer the area the candidate covers a stronger, more important voice.

"If I want to keep someone in office beyond eight years I can't do that if term limits pass. If that person was doing a good job, was a very moral and ethical person I want to keep in there, I can't because of union motivated term limits."

The city manager's office says they hope to verify enough signatures have been collected by the next commissioners meeting on September 24.

If there are, it could be on May 2013 ballot.

Barrera said while he opposes term limits he will not be seeking a fourth term when his term is up in May.