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.

A sample:

“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 on August 22, 2008, 12:53 pm
In category: Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Law | 3 Comments »

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3 Responses to “Who's Saying What on Term Limits”

  1. Carey Campbell Says:
    August 23rd, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Thank You for story.

    Mayor Bloomberg IS on the ballot for President after our petition drive that collected 70,000 plus signatures to put 5 candidates on ballot for U.S. House, Gail “for Rail” Parker for U.S. Senate,
    and Michael Bloomberg for President.

    The Independent Greens have called for other state affilates of the Independence Party of America, and the Green Party to put Michael Bloomberg on their ballot lines in almost 40 states.

    We have also called for an alliance of Constitution, Libertarian, Independence, and Green Parties to put Michael Bloomberg on the ballot, and help elect him President.

    Possible press conference in Washington D.C. this tuesday.

    Thank You.

  2. Larry Littlefield Says:
    August 23rd, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    If Bloomberg wants to stay in office, he should consult Vlad Putin in Russia, which is more of a democracy than the State of New York and more than the City of New York would be if this scheme is real and goes forward.

  3. Michael Meyers Says:
    August 25th, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    The monumental egos of pols like Mike Bloomberg and (the latest crop of) City Council members who keep testing the resolve of New Yorkers who have made it clear, twice, and recently, that we want term limits. There is a line in a Robin Williams movie which fits here, and it is to be paraphrased like this: “Incumbent politicians and diapers ought to be changed frequently, and for the same reason.”

    The sheer hubris of these insufferable legislators and this mayor, and of the other public servants who oppose term limits only because they see themselves as indispensable to the running of government (what a myth!)and because they are never ready to give up the power and the perks of office. The City Council who passed congestion pricing, for instance, nevertheless have special parking privileges for themselves so that they can park in Manhattan without being ticketed. These despicable pols readily spend taxpayers’ monies for slush funds (to benefit their relection and to keep civic and not-for-profit groups happy with them)–slush funds that the City Council’s Speaker Quinn claims she told her staff to stop but they somehow they forgot to do so or else, with impunity, they ignored the cease and desist order from their boss. Quinn even spent taxpayers’ funds to test the waters to check public opinion as to whether she and her colleagues should overturn the voters’ referendum imposing two terms on the City Council, and then refused to release the study, which did not come back favorable to her anti-term limits stance. And billionaire Bloomberg, tried the same poll, to benefit from his inexplicable popularity, spending his own money, to see if New Yorkers would end term limits to allow him to run for a third term as Mayor. The results startled the egotistical Mayor of New York. Now, Bloomberg, having switched parties, again, has no place to go…He wasn’t drafted to run for President, and he is reticent or too chicken to run against the first black Governor of New York; so, suddenly, he has changed his political posturing on term limits and says he is open to the City Council overturning the term limits law that he once supported. What shameless, despicable and insufferable hypocrites! Two terms (eight years) are enough for these self-indulgent pols. Their hubris in thinking they can on their own change the voters’ term limits law in order to perpetuate themselves in public office–in the guise of democracy–is so blatantly absurd and self-delusional. This will be a charade and usurpation of power on their parts if they attempt to repeal the very referendum that put them in office, a referendum that overturned the prior incumbents’ advantage by the only means available to the citywide electorate–through the imposition of two-term limits for the city’s pols–the Mayor, the City Councilmembers, borough presidents and Public Advocate. The people have spoken, two terms are enough.

    Michael Meyers, New York, New York

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