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Green and De Blasio Spar Over Term Limits
August 28th, 2009

The two leading candidates for public advocate appeared to steal the show this afternoon at the first televised debate hosted by the Campaign Finance Board and ABC.

Councilmember Bill de Blasio took former advocate Mark Green to task for not fiercely opposing Rudy Giuliani’s term extension proposal following the September 11th attacks.

But after contending that he was a staunch critic of the Giuliani administration, Green fired back, accusing de Blasio of flip-flopping on his term limits position from when he ran for City Council speaker in 2005 to now. De Blasio was a vocal critic of the mayor and the City Council for extending term limits, and he has been campaigning on his position ever since.

But in 2005, Green recalled, that was not the case.

In fact, according to a Gotham Gazette transcript of a City Council speaker debate in 2005, de Blasio did say he would want to extend term limits by legislation, overriding two public referendums, after an extensive public debate. Following today’s debate, which will be aired on ABC this Sunday, de Blasio said the most recent extension of term limits was so “fundamentally undemocratic” because the mayor was “trying to ram it through the City Council in three weeks time.”

This was just one clash between the two candidates, which dominated much of the hour long debate. At one point, Green said that de Blasio “doesn’t have much of a record or a vision.”

Following the debate, Green said it was no surprise that he was being challenged, and that he regretted his position on the Giuliani term extension in 2001.

Here is part of the debate transcript, which was moderated by Baruch College’s Doug Muzzio, from 2005:

Doug Muzzio: Since Bill began answering the second question on term limits, we’ll work back this way. The question to all of you is: As speaker, would you support or advance changes in the current term limits law will allow longer service for council members? Second part, if so, how much longer? And finally, how much should these changes be accomplished, by council or by voter referendum?

Bill de Blasio: I think next year after extensive public discussion, after extensive hearings, I think we should move forward with an additional four-year term through the legislative process. I think that’s so important because council members must work across mayoral terms. The charter, I think, has not provided the proper balance between the mayor and the council. I think that something we also have to work on, but certainly as we’ve experienced term limits we’ve learned that in practice it further saps some of the councils ability to play the role of a strong legislature and a strong check and balance, and that’s why I think adding an additional four year term would really create greater balance and allow members to gain additional expertise and strengthen their role.

Doug Muzzio: How should it be accomplished?

Bill de Blasio: Through legislation, after a full, public debate.

By on August 28, 2009, 3:55 pm
In category: City Hall,Governing | 1 Comment »

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