The people's vote on term limits is respected in...Venezuela?
Chávez Again Seeks to End Term Limits
To say that I am appalled at yesterday's Council vote is to grossly understate my reaction. Last night, I was indignant. This morning, I woke up quivering with rage.
After sitting through the Brooklyn Democratic County Committee meeting last month, I felt certain that farce would be the most ridiculous political theater of the year. But, leave it to the New York City Council to come storming back a mere month later with a production so well-orchestrated and rehearsed that it deserved Broadway's most ostentatious marquee.
At least, the Brooklyn Democratic County Committee meeting had no pretension. All of our electeds, except Charles Barron, dutifully read through the script in a homogenous monotone that laid plain the emptiness of our faux democracy. To his credit, the evening's chair Marty Connor practically admitted that our attendance was all just for show.
Give it up, New York voters: the term limits fight will never be about what you think.
The formidable Sewell Chan and Jon Hicks, working — in shifts, I hope — for the Cityroom blog all morning, afternoon, and even as I write this, beer in hand, late Thursday night, have made it quite clear. If anyone in the room with a fancy lapel pin gave a tinker's damn what any of us thought, would they really have made those of us that went wait hours upon hours before letting us so much as clear our throats?
Like most public hearings on important issues in the five boroughs, the ones that still continue are an opportunity for politicians to show their gracious and democratic nature to the public that they serve. The decision has already been made; barring another backroom deal, that term limits legislation will pass the City Council is a fait accompli. Public voices will be audible but not listened to.
By Morgan Pehme (a.k.a. The Brooklyn Optimist)
Before I lay out exactly why you should be against the City Council's move to extend term limits without your say, let me start by putting two common misconceptions to rest.
The movement against extending term limits is not about whether Mayor Bloomberg has done a good job in office. For the record, I think that he has. And if the City Council puts extending term limits on the ballot, as I believe they must, then you will have still have the opportunity to re-elect our Mayor if the measure passes.
So many New Yorkers are confused that this is an anti-Bloomberg initiative because that is how the Mayor has shrewdly framed the issue. Since the majority of New Yorkers feel pretty positively about him, miscasting the debate as “Bloomberg vs. No Bloomberg” twists the odds in favor of his agenda.
Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to remain in office for a third term seems like nothing but a cynical attempt to capitalize on the Wall Street crisis and tap into the same sentiment of fear that motivated suggestions to keep Mayor Giuliani’s benevolent guiding hand in place beyond his mayoral term.
Mayor Giuliani was asked to extend his term for three months to help keep our City on course after we were attacked on 9/11 by Al Qaeda. He contemplated changing the city's term-limits law, but respected and trusted our democratic process and declined the possible three month extension.
Monday's New York Post reports that Ronald Lauder has officially wimped out. Lauder has agreed to third terms for everybody who qualifies.
In return, Lauder will have a seat on a Charter Revision Commission in 2010 to study the issue and possibly place it on the 2010 ballot--after the fact of a "temporary" extension. Oh joy.
Plain fairness requires that everyone acknowledge that the public HAS ALREADY VOTED ON THIS TWICE. Any change should not take place without a public vote. The city council should not vote on a direct benefit to themselves.
This is simple, plain fairness. You'd think that every newspaper in town would demand it.
Which is more dangerous: Sarah Palin's claim to expand the role of the Vice Presidency like Dick Chenney OR Mayor Mike Bloomberg's attempt to do an end run around the voters by having the City Council over turn term limits?
Let us know what you think. Go to www.bxnews.net and post your thoughts.
They say politics make strange bed follows, such is the case of cosmetics mogul and billionaire Ron Lauder. A stark proponent for term limits in 1993 and founder of New Yorkers for Term Limits. He led his support to keep term limits in place but now he wants an exception for his fellow billionaire boys club member, Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Say what you want about our mayor and his modus operandi but he has gotten a few things right over his tenure. I am not a big fan of his but I don’t dislike him either. He was absolutely correct with his ban on cigarettes in certain public establishments; taking the flack in order to get that policy into law. He was correct in putting public education on the front burner; even though I feel that his successes in this area were somewhat exaggerated: but you can’t deny that he has genuinely tried to deal with the issue. I think that in principle he was correct to suggest some type of congestion pricing formula for Manhattan’s traffic congestion problem; hopefully the details would be worked out before pigs grow wings. His positions on the issues surrounding illegal firearms (guns, gun shows, gun sales, etc.) are sensible and timely; and there are other things I could commend him on. Of course there are also many others that I could critique him on; like his police department that's totally out of control, and the fact that big developers have surely enjoyed his tenure in profitable ways; but that’s not the issue here. You can always view my column in the archives (where I called him a leprechaun), to get a better sense of how I felt about him just a year ago.