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ElectionsMilpitas voters to decide on term limit for Councilmembers on November ballot

Milpitas voters to decide on term limit for Councilmembers on November ballot

This week, the Milpitas City Council voted to put a new measure in front of voters that would amend the term limit for Councilmembers.  

Right now, a term for a Milpitas City Councilmember is 4 years, while a full term for Mayor is 2 years.

At present, Milpitas Councilmembers can serve up to 3 consecutive 4 year-terms, and also extend their service by serving as Mayor afterward, making for a potential total of 14 back-to-back years. 

A Mayor is allowed to serve 3 consecutive 2-year terms, and also then run for a Councilmember spot, which would total 10 years of service. 

This new measure, if passed, would slightly change things, and even out the allowable time to serve among all elected seat-holders…

This new measure would allow Councilmembers to only serve 2 consecutive 4-year terms as opposed to 3. They’d also still have the option to run for Mayor right after, which would take their total time served down from 14 years to 10. 

After a member of the Milpitas City Council reaches the allowable amount of time to serve consecutive terms, they must then have a two-year “cooling off” period before running again. 

Vice Mayor Carmen Montano was the one who proposed making changes to the term limit for Councilmembers, as she feels that 12 years is a long time to serve. In her time on the Council, she has seen others experience a kind of burnout, after serving for so long.   

“It also gives other people an opportunity to serve. It opens it up. New ideas, new people. I think it’s going to be more dynamic,” Vice Mayor Montano told The Beat. 

The Vice Mayor served on the Milpitas City Council from 2012-2016. She then won a Council seat again in 2018. Montano is currently campaigning to run for Mayor of Milpitas in the November election. 

Rich Tran, who has served 3 consecutive terms as Mayor, is running for a Councilmember seat this November. If he is successful, he will be able to sit on the Council for a 4-year term, and would not be able to run for 2 years after that. 

“I’m super proud to be part of a city council that is decreasing time in office. It’s not often you see city councils vote to limit terms,” said Mayor Tran in an interview with The Beat. 

If the new term limit is approved by voters on November 8, it will go into effect in December, 10 days after certification of the election. 



Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro is the winner of a 2022 Golden Quill Award for her Education journalism. She works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works mostly with nonprofit organizations and educational entities to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also the author of “Fierce Woman: Wake up your Badass Self” and “Magic Within: Womb-Centered Wisdom to Realize the Power of Your Sacred Feminine Self.” Her YouTube channel features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief.


  1. What urgent problem is the Council trying to solve by slightly changing the term-limit rules? At the state level, term limits have shifted power away from long-time legislators who knew how to work the system to get results. Power, like energy, is neither created nor destroyed; it simply moves. So, that shifted power went to lobbyists who are not term-limited.
    Global Warming is progressing much faster than scientists predicted. Inequity in people’s incomes is driving many of the social ills we see around us (homelessness, more crime, more mental illness, etc.). Universal health care would be good for people and the City’s budget. Any of these issues would be a better use of Council time. So, one must ask, why focus time, attention, and roughly $200K (the cost of putting something on the ballot) on a minor change to the term-limit rules?

    • Interesting perspective. Global warming, income inequities and access to health care are huge problems certainly, how might Milpitas City Council use the $200k to make a difference in any of those?

      • Jennifer, there is a long list of subsidies for clean technologies that the City could apply that $200K toward. Better still would be putting a carbon fee and dividend program on the ballot. If supported by voters, it could place a 5% sales tax on gasoline, and re-distribute the tax revenue to Milpitas residents. Republicans in Congress are blocking such a program at the national level, so let’s start locally with this market-based solution to carbon pollution.


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