Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bloomberg Wrong to Seek Change in Term Limits Law Without Voters

The New York Times reported today here that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will announce on Thursday his intention to seek a change in term limits laws through the New York City Council in order to run for a 3rd term as Mayor next year.

Even though he is yet to formally announce this, rumors have been circulating for weeks about it and many were quick to comment. Elizabeth Benjamin of the NY Daily News's political blog has a great summary of reactions from Tony Avella, Bill Thompson, Betsy Gotbaum, John Liu and more here.

I am running for one of 36 seats in the NY City Council that are expected to be open seats, unless of course term limits law is overturned by the Council. So, obviously I have an inherent bias in that it will be much more difficult to win against an incumbent than without an incumbent in the contest. And if campaign finance in New York is further reformed, leveling the playing field in a way similar to that proposed by Council candidate Steve Behar here, then I would probably find myself actually in favor of changes to term limits laws.

However, the NYC voters have spoken twice on this issue, and the Mayor and/or City Council changing the law on term limits without a public referendum is just plain wrong.

It would be a willful and disrepectful act towards the entire voting public of New York to change the law that the public has voted down twice. Mayor Bloomberg has done a terrific job ove the past seven years, but no man or woman is above the law- and in this case it's not right to ignore the public's clear consensus on this issue.

I am proud of my current Councilmember David Weprin's position on this issue. Although Weprin supports a change in term limits law, he believes it should be changed by public referendum only, and introduced a bill to that end a couple of weeks ago. But it doesn't look like that's going to happen, as apparently "there isn't enough time" to allow this to go to public referendum. So the City's legislators will vote to extend term limits to 3 terms, allowing Bloomberg and most of themselves to run for a 3rd term next year.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Proud to be a New Yorker

Today is a tough day for all of us. I tried to avoid it the past few days- and I remember thinking as I looked at my calendar, "What should I do - not schedule meetings? I've got to move on."

This morning, I decided not to move on, at least for a couple of hours. At my wife's recommendation, I listened to WPLJ, normally a morning show I don't like- and they had incredible coverage of September 11th, 7 years later.

It was just people calling in, talking, sharing, and reflecting, but most of all, remembering.

On a day in which some media suggested it was time to move on with their coverage (or lack of coverage) , I chose to be sad, and remember, at least for a few hours.

Hearing of thousands of others doing the same, I was proud to be a New Yorker.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yassky- a Like-Minded Democrat

I attended a Queens Chamber of Commerce breakfast this morning at Douglaston Manor at which David Yassky was the keynote speaker. Yassky, the City Councilman from Brooklyn, is now running for Comptroller. He spoke about how, although he is a Democrat, government can sometimes help businesess most by "staying out the way." He spoke about de-regulation, about our ridiculous health-care issues and what the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce doing, and about saving mom-and-pop stores.

I'm a proud Democrat too, but as a small business owner, I happen to agree with Mr. Yassky on just about everything he had to say. Keep up the good work protecting and fighting for small business!

Friday, September 5, 2008

US Govt to Bailout Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac...Think our Economy's in a bit of Trouble?

The New York Times reported tonight here that the United States Government has told top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that they will be seizing them and placing the 2 companies in a conservatorship in what basically amounts to a government bailout.

This follows months of a down economy and the recent bailout of investment bank giant Bear Stearns earlier this year.

In cities far and wide, including right here in Queens, New York, people are losing their homes, foreclosures are on the rise, and financial companies are struggling.

It is a gross understatement to call this latest news disturbing. It is terrifying. I can only hope that our leaders, current and future, after the election(s) just weeks away, will work together to help steer our country's economy in the right direction.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Happy Labor Day and a couple of thoughts

This week, we celebrate Labor Day. While many barbecue, go to the beach and enjoy a day off, it's important to remember what this day is all about.

I have a unique position, as both a Union activist, with the United Federation of Teachers, as well as business owner, of theKbuzz. Because of this position, I often find myself at odds with people, and even at odds with myself. :)

There are many complicated issues- which I have explored and will continue to explore over the next months and years.

The bottom line, however, is that both labor and business can simultaneously thrive in this city and country. Both sides need to be willing to compromise and need to always put the people they serve first, whether those people are students, taxpayers, shareholders, or customers.