WHY PEOPLE OF GOOD CONSCIENCE AND OF COLOR SHOULD BE OPPOSED TO THIS EXTENSION OF TERM LIMITS
There are three basic reasons that people of good conscience and of color should be opposed to this extension of term limits:
1. THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN AND THIS IS A RIDICULOUSLY SELF SERVING
If term limits are to be extended it should be done so by referendum (as it was so affirmed by the voters twice). If this Council and Mayor change the charter to alter term limits, it must not benefit the current office holders but be done ONLY for those who come after them. Then it can truly be viewed as what is good for the people and not what’s good for a handful of elected officials who don’t want to run for or look for new jobs. As Bloomberg used to say, these efforts to change the term limits law are “disgusting.”
2. THE CITY IS BIGGER THAN ONE MAN
After the horrible tragedy of 9/11, many people—especially Giuliani—thought that NYC needed him to remain in office for a few more months to get us through that very difficult time. Now, many people—especially Bloomberg—seem to think we need him to get us thru this financial crisis. He and they are wrong. The City is bigger than him as it was bigger than Giuliani. It goes on through tragedy and changes in leadership.
In 2001 everyone thought with 95% of the Council leaving due to term limits and a new mayor and new elected officials at almost every level the city would spiral downward into chaos. It did not. In fact, many can say that the new faces and their new energy helped save the city. And we need that new energy in leadership now more than ever.
3. THIS HURTS PEOPLE OF COLOR
My good friend Jesse Jackson once said and wrote that “when the playing field is even and the rules are clear people of color always excel and achieve.” Conversely, when you change the playing field and the rules in the middle of the game, our people lose out.
In 2009, we in NYC were going to have the historic opportunity to elect our only second Mayor of color, potentially a Latino City Comptroller, and hopefully a City Council Speaker of color. All of that is now not only in jeopardy, but highly unlikely as it is assumed that if Bloomberg stays in place he will lobby hard to keep Quinn in place so he can continue to run over the City Council.
The ONLY way to stop this naked power grab is for folks of color to stand up and to tell our Council Members that under no circumstances will this stand. NYC is now more people of color than ever before and we have waited our turn, been trained in various positions throughout government and outside of government and this is wrong and hurts us all.
NOW FOR SOME CLOSING COMMENTARY TO PUT IT ALL IN PERSPECTIVE.
I am strongly opposed to any kinds of term limits. I believe we already had term limits and they were called elections. But this is the law of the City charter and we should all have to deal with it or change it, but not in this self-serving fashion.
Bloomberg has forever changed the way folks look at the Mayor of New York City and the way they run for the office, but this is nothing more than the Permanent Government (Real Estate Developers, Wall Street, Big Business, The Media and People with Money and Influence) deciding who our next mayor should and will be.
The folks who have the real ability to fight this –
or won’t because it benefits them: such as Democratic county leaders and clubs, the media, and Democratic leaders.
or seem too self-serving to truly get the public’s support: good government groups or those potential candidates who were going to run in 2009 .
I am saying all of this even though I think this is a done deal. For it has been the unfortunate situation that what Bloomberg wants he gets from this City Council and since at least 36 of them would be out of a job in 2010 my gut is Bloomberg will have the votes he needs.
But watch out Speaker Quinn! I am not sure your leadership is safe and can withstand the sour taste this will leave in the mouth of many folks of color throughout the City. And your colleagues passed those horrible Campaign Finance Reforms only because they never thought they would be subject to them and once they experience them, they will be looking for someone to blame and that someone just might be you.
More on that later (to steal a line from my good friend rock Hackshaw)…..
P.S. A group has already sprung up to fight this term limits move by the Mayor they are called The People have Spoken Coalition and they are having a rally at City Hall this Sunday at 2 PM. I suggest good folks of color and conscience join them and e-mail them to let them know you are in support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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