Who's Saying What on Term Limits
August 22nd, 2008
We’ve been reluctant to venture into the third term for Bloomberg issue because it seemed like just the latest round in the series of gambits designed to feed the mayor’s ego floated by aides who want to keep the billionaire’s money flowing. What next? Bloomberg for pope perhaps (a refreshingly ecumenical choice)?
That said, though, this is an issue of concern to many Wonkster readers and contributors, so here’s a guide to who is saying what about the possibility of a change in term limits that would bring back Mayor Mike (and his City Council minions) for at least four more years.
The Post offers the mayor’s latest statements — and evidence of his flip flop on the issue, particularly on whether City Council on its own — without a referendum — could change the law. (Bloomberg now says it could — and he might sign such a bill, reversing his stand of eight months ago.)
The Sun looks at whether Bloomberg and his ally, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, are plotting together to extend or remove term limits (and give the slush fund scandal four more years to fade away). The answer: maybe.
Then in an editorial, the paper throw Gov. David Paterson and the legislature into the mix, saying members of the Assembly and State Senate might want to end term limits to stave off challenges from unemployed City Council members looking for a new gig in Albany.
Meanwhile one of those council members running for the State Senate — Simcha Felder — thinks something must be afoot. “Since nobody is talking about this … it must be happening, because if it wasn’t happening, people would be talking about it,” Felder told the Daily Politics.
Running Scared sees the anti term limits effort as a “behind the scenes campaign … led by forces outside Bloomberg’s office who want to see a pro-business mayor in office.”
In perhaps the most comprehensive rundown, The Politicker tries to assess whether the effort to overturn term limits, even though voters overwhelmingly approved them in two referenda, is for real. There’s no definitive answer but the blog’s Azi Paybarah does cite evidence of the change in Bloomberg’s stance and of support from City Councilmember Dominic Recchia who, no doubts wants to stay in a public office while making tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars on the side.
Meanwhile, for what it’s worth, comment in the blogosphere seems overwhelmingly opposed to the City Council and Bloomberg acting without voter approval to buy themselves more time in office.
“Term limits were a bad idea when they were conceived — the best and proper way to limit someone’s term in government is to vote them out of office. … However, Bloomberg’s looking to carry out an end-run around the process. … If he believes so strongly that term limits should be abolished, take the case to the public and put it up for referendum.” ( A Blog for All)
“He has plenty of MONEY to spread around to get what he wants. If he goes through with it, I think all of these so-called good government groups should organize a mass petition drive to STOP it in its TRACKS. NOW!” (Comment to The Politicker)
“This guy is so ridiculously narcissistic. He’s really taken the whole non-partisan independent thing to a whole level and milked it for all it’s worth. I hope more people can see through … all his little power plays.” (Generation Y Conservative)
“If the council does pass such legislation and the mayor signs it into law, expect an outcry and legal challenges. (The Political Crier)
“The citizens of New York City voted for term limits. … This is not Venezuela where the leaders can arbitrarily decide how long they will stay in office. If he somehow pulls off changing the term limits law, I hope the city of New York votes him out on his ass.” (Proud Conservative)
There was some support, however. For example, one writer on The Politicker said, reflecting the views of others, “Considering the clowns running for mayor, I say go for it.” (Not sure whether that sentiment is likely to win Quinn over.)
If this falters, though, Bloomberg still has some hope for staying in the spotlight. The Independent Green Party of Virginia reportedly wants to put his name up as its presidential candidate. It would only apply to that state, but still…By Gail Robinson on August 22, 2008, 12:53 pm
In category: Electoral Politics, Gotham City, Governing, Law | 3 Comments »