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.

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