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Miami-Dade voters back term limits for commissioners

The 14th time looked to be the charm for County Hall reformers who were on their way to forcing term limits on Miami-Dade commissioners — some of whom have clung onto their district seats for almost two decades.

Voters who flooded the polls Tuesday also were saying they wanted to make it tougher for developers to build outside the county’s far western edge, and to make it easier for citizens to carve out new Miami-Dade cities.

With early and absentee votes counted, and 79 percent of precincts reporting, all 10 of the county’s proposed charter changes were ahead at the polls — reflecting a continued rejection of the status quo that swept two elected leaders from office through a recall last year.

“I voted ‘yes’ on term limits,” said Maria Lleonart, a 51-year-old Miami housewife. “These people get too comfortable in there and we’ve got to get them out.”

For the first time in five decades, voters were offered the opportunity to set term limits for commissioners without any strings attached. Commissioners would now be allowed only two four-year terms, excluding terms of service prior to 2012.

Commissioner Lynda Bell, who co-sponsored the term-limit item with Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, called it “the most substantive change we’ve had in the recent history of charter amendments.’’

Bell, one of the newest commissioners on the dais, said voters made it clear when she campaigned two years ago that “they wanted term limits, and they wanted eight years.’’ 

More from Charles Rabin here.