Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown could quite possibly still be in office if it weren't for term limits -- be it in City Hall's Room 200 or in the state Assembly, where he served more than 30 years.
But term limits scuttled any such ambitions, and have led Brown into the semiretirement he enjoys today. Term limits are "to the state's detriment," Brown told a banquet crowd in Rohnert Park, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
Brown was speaking at a celebratory banquet for Gene Traverso, who worked on various boards for Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for 27 years. Such lenghty service, so important to the state's future, is now impossible in Sacramento, and Californians are worse off for it, Brown said.
Term limits have robbed the state of its elder statesmen, meaning a revolving cast of inexperienced newcomers are too timid to tackle the tough issues of the day, he said.
As an example, Brown pointed to the 1999 pension deal passed by state legislators, a few years after term limits kicked in and kicked himself and other long-serving state representatives out of office. That deal haunts the state today, and would never have been passed by folks like Willie Brown, he said.
“It took 16 years before I became Speaker of the California State Assembly,” he said. “Now it takes six weeks.”