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Report from the Hearing Room
October 16th, 2008

Today’s standing room-only hearings on term limits extensions got underway at 1 PM, though the scramble for seats had started several hours earlier. A room-full of New Yorkers is watching on closed circuit TV next door to council chambers, while those who couldn’t fit into the overflow room were sent home to watch NY1.

If you don’t have cable, City Room is live-blogging the hearings and
Liz Benjamin has been
posting regular updates, including an observation that many of the seats filled early with “Democrats for Choices,” a collection of Bloomberg supporters who “have steadfastly refused to tell reporters their names and also won’t say if they were paid to show up at City Hall.” The Observer has more from their source inside council chambers.

Citizens Union Foundation’s resident Coro Fellow, Daren Mills, not (yet) acclimated to the perambulations of elected officials, complained that the preambling, post-ambling, non-questions, multi-part questions and generally avoiding getting to the point make for a whole lot of dragging out. Just two hours in and already, he’s drained.

The overall debate has centered around predictable issues: the Council does have the legal authority to amend the charter, though that doesn’t mean they should; the Council does have the legal authority to amend the charter, which does mean they should; a referendum would draw too few voters; incumbents have too much power; a referendum would be expensive.

Nonetheless, the multi-part questions are a long way from over, though things are starting to heat up a little. Hearings are expected to extend well into the evening and start all over again at 10:00 tomorrow.

By on October 16, 2008, 5:11 pm
In category: Civil Rights,Governing | No Comments »

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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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