Arlington group wants term limits for city council members

A fight over term limits in the city of Arlington is intensifying.

A group got enough signatures in July to put a six-year term limit on the November ballot. But on Tuesday night, the council voted to put a different plan on the ballot as well.

The fight went right to a judge who made a ruling on Wednesday.

Zack Maxwell announced that in his fight against the Arlington city council a judge just handed him a small victory.

It all started last month when Maxwell got 11,000 signatures. It was enough to put a six-year term limit vote on the November ballot. That would be three two-year terms with previous time served counting.

That meant five city council members would lose their seats by 2020.

The city's plan would still be three terms but all three years each. Previous time served wouldn't count, and they could all run again after taking off three years.

 A Tarrant County judge granted a temporary restraining order against the city's proposal.

"It's a clear message to the city council of Arlington that voters are not to be messed with in the way that they tried,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell says the city rushed the process and pushed it through to beat the state deadline for getting an item on the ballot, which is Saturday.

"That was purely meant to exploit the process water down the ballot and confuse voters," he said.

But the city says it is just trying to preserve continuity on the council, which city leaders say is responsible for things like the new ballpark and the Texas Live development.

Mayor and President of the Chamber of Commerce Michael Jacobson criticized Maxwell's term limits proposal at Tuesday night's council meeting.

"But we believe that does not work,” Jacobson said. “That takes our stable government that's creating unbelievable success and puts that at risk."

"We would be drawing a halt to that because of the instability it would cause by five council members going off and then knowing that in a year and a half the mayor would be gone," said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams.

Whether voters will see one or both term limits proposition on the ballot will now be up to a judge.

The city issued a statement saying it is aware of the restraining order and is "reviewing the temporary order and preparing our case for the injunction hearing set for August 24.”