Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
It's hard for me to believe that anybody who watches government closely in California could favor term limits, which have had a particularly debilitating effect on that state's legislature. But columnist Chip Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle was made a believer by last week's incumbent sweep in Oakland city council races.
The virtual lock on local politics created by the city's long-standing district election process has created a self-serving system heavily weighted with resources to help the incumbents hold the council seats until they're ready to leave.
Never mind that Oakland's charter calls for a citizen council, Oakland government is made up of professional politicians whose full-time job is serving in office. They are given staffs and discretionary budgets of $250,000 that they regularly use to fund pet projects and consolidate their relationship with neighborhood leaders.
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