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Miami-Dade commissioners put term limits to voters as grassroots campaign gears up

Miami-Dade commissioners voted 8-5 Thursday to put the question of eight-year term limits on the November ballot even as a citizens’ group is seeking to make such term limits retroactive.

The board also agreed to create a new charter review task force empowered to put proposed amendments directly before voters if two thirds of the task force supports the measures.

Charter reform has been a hot issue in Miami-Dade political circles since the recall last March of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Natacha Seijas. But the commission chambers were virtually empty Thursday, and 16 people showed up for six public hearings on the topic in recent weeks.

The term-limit proposal put forth by Commissioners Lynda Bell, Rebeca Sosa and Jean Monestime was also backed by Esteban Bovo, Bruno Barreiro, Jose “Pepe’’ Diaz, Xavier Suarez and Javier Souto. Opposed were Chairman Joe Martinez and Commissioners Barbara Jordan, Dennis Moss, Audrey Edmonson and Sally Heyman.

Martinez warned that term limits force out the most experienced elected officials, leaving a government susceptible to undue influence from special interests. “The government would be run by lobbyists,’’ he said. More from Martha Brannigan here.