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Old Posted Oct 17, 2008, 7:26 AM
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Smile NEW YORK | Bloomberg's reach for a 3rd term

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/17/ny...l?ref=nyregion

Passions High on Term Limits in City Council



IFAVOR Former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, an ardent foe of term limits, said Mr. Bloomberg was “spectacularly well-suited to the task” of leading the city through financial tumult.



OOPPOSED Rachel Trachtenberg, 14, said the mayor would spend millions “to buy” the next election, and added, “I hope you will choose honesty over bribery and keep term limits as they are.”



WAITING By late in the evening, dozens of speakers were still waiting their turn, but the seating area had been filled to capacity earlier. The hearing started at 1 p.m. and ended at 11:32 p.m.



By DAVID W. CHEN and MICHAEL BARBARO
October 16, 2008

A 14-year-old girl touched off wild applause when she accused Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of buying elections and pleaded with the City Council to “choose honesty over bribery.” A political consultant startled listeners when he threatened to smear the reputations of council members who vote to change term limits. Councilman Charles Barron of Brooklyn scolded former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo for his testimony praising Mr. Bloomberg, telling him, to cheers from the balcony, “You’ve got a lot of nerve!”

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Bloomberg will persuade the Council to rewrite the term limits law so he can seek a third term next fall, but this much is clear from an extended public hearing at City Hall on Thursday: It is not going to happen quietly.

“Do I have to remove somebody already?” Councilman Simcha Felder, who chaired the proceeding, yelled at the rowdy crowd.

Hundreds of people packed the Council chambers for the hearing on the bill, which would allow officials elected citywide and Council members to serve for 12 years rather than 8. The plan has set off intense reaction, mainly because voters approved the two-term limits twice through referendums, and the mayor wants to revise the law through Council legislation, rather than another public vote.

For more than 10 hours, the hearing returned repeatedly to a single point of dispute: Those backing the mayor say the Wall Street crisis creates an extraordinary situation that warrants revising term limits so Mr. Bloomberg can remain in office and manage the city’s finances. Those opposed say the economic distress is a convenient excuse for a power grab by a billionaire with contempt for the democratic process.

The city’s corporation counsel and several prominent supporters of the mayor testified that the Council was well within its rights to change the law without holding another referendum.

“When you come in here saying it’s unethical conduct, you’re wrong,” Councilman Domenic M. Recchia Jr., a Brooklyn Democrat and close ally of Mr. Bloomberg, told the former public advocate, Mark Green. “This is within our power, and we have the authority to do this within the best interests for our city.”

As the testimony rolled on in the chamber, major developments were unfolding offstage, too. An hour after the hearing began, Tom Golisano, the billionaire owner of the Buffalo Sabres, announced that he would join critics in opposing a third term and was considering a campaign of TV and radio ads to defeat the mayor’s plan.

Mr. Bloomberg, who usually delegates the details of the legislative process to aides, personally tried to corral the 26 votes needed in the 51-member Council to pass the measure. He has started calling wavering members to press his case, arguing that the economic trouble requires “continuity of government.” A person who was briefed on one of the conversations said the mayor told members fearful of a backlash that if they voted to allow themselves a third term, “people do forget about things like this.”

Councilman Peter F. Vallone, who said he had spoken with Mr. Bloomberg within the last 48 hours, said the mayor told him it would be too “distracting and time consuming” to hold a referendum on his plan.

The mayor’s political operation did not take much for granted, shepherding about 50 people into the chamber about two hours before it began, taking up prime seats and holding signs supporting the plan. Several opponents complained that they were not allowed in because it was crowded with the supporters, who declined to speak to reporters.

For the first three hours, the witness list was heavy on political heavyweights, in what amounted to a reunion of winners and losers from elections past. Mr. Cuomo, an ardent foe of term limits, said that even though he did not vote for Mr. Bloomberg, he considered him “spectacularly well-suited to the task” of leading the city through financial tumult.

Later came former Mayor Edward I. Koch, the last mayor to serve three terms, who backs the mayor’s plan, and Mr. Green, the former public advocate who lost to Mr. Bloomberg in 2001 and opposes the measure.

The Bloomberg administration presented its legal arguments through Anthony W. Crowell, counsel to Mr. Bloomberg, and Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo, the city’s top lawyer.

Mr. Crowell praised the partnership between the mayor and the City Council. In comments that sounded as much like a campaign stump speech as testimony before a committee, he ticked off the administration’s accomplishments over the last seven years: lower crime, budget deficits that turned into surpluses, rising employment, the transformation of Lower Manhattan and more.

“Crisis has a way of clearing the mind and forcing us to put pragmatism first,” he said.

Mr. Bloomberg also was supported by several labor leaders. Edward J. Malloy, president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., said “unexpected challenges” meant that the public should be “allowed to re-elect the mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough presidents and members of the Council.”

Many others who testified said it was not the mayor’s performance that is most relevant, but his attempt to make an end-run around the voters.


Richard Emery, the civil rights lawyer involved in the litigation that abolished the Board of Estimate, praised Mr. Bloomberg, saying that “the mayor has done an excellent job of elevating the notion of nonpartisan, principled government,” but that his plan to change term limits without a public vote smacked of self-interest and moral corrosiveness.

“Sitting in the lap of the mayor” as the process goes ahead will ruin the Council’s reputation, he said. “Either you opt for the principled position — which is to go back to the people, even though you don’t have to — or you take the self-interested road and put the Council in the position of ignominy it was in the past.”

Still, the day ultimately belonged to the parade of less prominent citizens who made their way to the overcrowded and humid room to get their two minutes, give or take, before the Government Operations Committee.

Rachel Trachtenberg, the 14-year-old singer in a family band, said her family was forced to move to Brooklyn recently after they were “priced out” of the East Village, and complained about Mr. Bloomberg’s wealth.

“He had to spend $100 million to keep and buy his first two elections, and he will spend another $80 million to buy the next one,” she said. “I hope you will choose honesty over bribery and keep term limits as they are.”

Andre Ramon Soleil, a lawyer in Brooklyn and a past Republican candidate for the State Senate, cited Abraham Lincoln, saying, “You are not just servants but stewards of our sovereign will — that we in our democracy have a modicum of self-control and that you must respect the will as we have expressed it.”

The committee is expected to pass the bill in the coming days, and a full Council vote could be held as early as Thursday.

Fourteen members are now on record supporting the mayor’s plan, 19 are opposed and 18 are undecided. The Council rarely fails to go along with mayoral legislation, and rejection of this measure would be a dramatic political blow for Mr. Bloomberg.

The hearing, at which 150 people spoke, began at 1 p.m. and ended at 11:32 p.m. As the night wore on, people crowded the Council coffee machine to keep alert. At one point, Councilman James S. Oddo, Republican of Staten Island, jokingly suggested that the Council’s sergeants-at-arms be directed to order 75 pizzas for the audience — and send the bill to the billionaire Ronald S. Lauder, who supports the mayor’s plan.
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Old Posted Oct 17, 2008, 7:30 AM
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I think Bloomberg has been good for the city, but I don't buy into the notion that he, and he alone can be the savior. For one thing, if you believe that, then where would the city stand if something unfortunate were to happen to him?
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Old Posted Oct 17, 2008, 7:40 AM
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/17/ny...l?ref=nyregion

What’s the Matter at City Hall: Democracy, the Voice of the People and All That


By CLYDE HABERMAN
October 16, 2008

Let’s begin with a civics quiz.

Of the following political figures, whose actions have shown a true belief in the concept that the people, not the politicians, should decide an issue as fundamental as term limits for government leaders? Is it (a) Michael R. Bloomberg, New York’s mayor, (b) Christine C. Quinn, New York’s City Council speaker, or (c) Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s president?

Stumped? Here are some hints, starting with the mayor and the Council speaker.

They struck a deal to undermine the results of two referendums in the 1990s in which New York City voters said by large margins that important officeholders — including the mayor and all 51 Council members — should be limited to two consecutive terms. Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Quinn used to speak about those two plebiscites as virtually amounting to sacraments. Not anymore.

This week, Ms. Quinn made it clear that she would be Mr. Bloomberg’s chief enabler in the Council to push through a voter-dodging bill that would stretch the limit to three terms. The bill goes by the nondescript title of Proposed Intro No. 845-A. You may reasonably think of it as the Incumbency Protection Act of 2008.

On Thursday, a hearing was held in the main Council chamber. As a sign of how critical this issue is, more than half of the Council’s members showed up — an unusually high turnout.

The room was packed with spectators. Dozens of seats were filled with people carrying green signs bearing slogans like “Democrats for Choices: Extend Term Limits.” They were on the mayor’s side. (Essentially, he and his minions assert that by taking away the people’s right to decide the future of term limits, they are actually increasing the voters’ ballot options in next year’s municipal elections. In other words, less choice means more choice. Orwell, anyone?)

The sign holders resisted efforts to find out who they were and why they had gone to City Hall. Everything about them screamed rent-a-crowd.

The hearing stretched into the night. It is scheduled to resume on Friday morning. And that will be that for the public’s say in the matter.

Typically on so highly sensitive an issue, with nothing less than the democratic process on the line, many hearings are held, often with at least one in every borough. But this is a rush job. The full Council may vote on the matter next week. The bill is moving like an express train. It might as well be called the Bloomberg Unlimited.

Both the mayor and the speaker bristle at suggestions that theirs is “a backroom deal.” They may be right. Who knows what room the deal was made in? But they definitely have, shall we say, an understanding.

In lavishly praising Ms. Quinn, Mr. Bloomberg used some intriguing language on Monday. Were she not in government, he said, she “would have enormous opportunities in the private sector as well as the public sector.” Until the billionaire businessman-turned-politician uttered those words, no one had talked about Ms. Quinn in any kind of role beyond government service.

Then Wednesday, having rejected holding a third voter referendum on New York’s electoral process, Mr. Bloomberg flew to Los Angeles to support a referendum that would change how Californians elect their public officials. He was not amused when someone pointed out the contrast. Chalk it off to a sudden bout of irony deficiency anemia.

Ms. Quinn had her own interesting take on the end-run around New York voters. At a news conference this week, she described Proposed Intro No. 845-A as “the essence of democracy.” When asked how New Yorkers could be assured that they won’t witness a similar attempt to cling to power four years from now, Ms. Quinn replied, “I don’t believe this is something that we’ll see happening on a regular basis.”

Let’s see. After the 2001 terrorist attacks, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani used that crisis to try to keep himself in office beyond the expiration date set by term limits. The ploy didn’t work. Now Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Quinn are using this economic crisis to extend their stay in office.

How many times must New Yorkers see this movie before it qualifies as “happening on a regular basis”?

Oh, yes, we haven’t forgotten the civics quiz. Here’s another hint: Ten months ago, Mr. Chávez of Venezuela held a referendum on his attempt to increase his considerable power by, among other things, ending term limits. He lost.

In the last few days, a few critics of Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Quinn have cited Venezuela’s experience. Generally speaking, any day when New York’s leaders are compared unfavorably with Hugo Chávez is probably not a good day.
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Old Posted Oct 17, 2008, 7:54 AM
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/16/ny...bloomberg.html

Mayor’s California Bid May Undercut Incumbents



Mayor Michael Bloomberg appears with California Gov. Schwarzenegger during a press conference Wednesday.



By MICHAEL BARBARO and REBECCA CATHCART
October 15, 2008

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg visited California on Wednesday to stump for a measure that would prevent legislators there from redrawing their district maps, a practice that he contends is a self-serving way for lawmakers to keep themselves in office.

Back in New York City, where Mr. Bloomberg is stumping for a measure that would allow him to keep his job as mayor for a third term, some saw a touch of irony.

Or worse.

“This is pure hypocrisy, plain and simple,” said Councilwoman Letitia James of Brooklyn, who opposes Mr. Bloomberg’s plan to revise New York City’s term limits law so it would allow 12 years in office instead of 8.

Mr. Bloomberg was in Los Angeles to promote Proposition 11, a hotly debated ballot question that would require a panel of independent citizens, rather than elected officials, to periodically alter the borders of voting districts for state offices.

The mayor contends that under the current system, elected leaders in California and across the country create districts with voters who are expected to support them, all but guaranteeing their re-election and encouraging partisan leadership that appeals to narrow groups of constituents.

Some of the mayor’s critics said that his support of Proposition 11 — which he has backed with $250,000 of his own money — is starkly at odds with his plan to revise the term limits law in New York, which now bars him from seeking re-election to a third consecutive term.


The California redistricting measure, these opponents say, is aimed at making it harder for incumbents to coast to re-election; Mr. Bloomberg’s term limits measure would make it possible to do just that.

The California measure allows voters to decide if the current districting laws are appropriate; Mr. Bloomberg’s measure leaves the term-limits decision up to the 51 members of the City Council.

“We have extraordinary news today that Michael Bloomberg does in fact support a referendum, but in California, not New York,” said Councilman Bill de Blasio of Brooklyn. “We’ve now gotten a new definition of irony and hypocrisy,” he added.

Mr. Bloomberg, asked about what some saw as dueling positions on different sides of the continent, said that “putting everything before the public in a fair way is democracy, it is democratic governance.”

Asked if his support of the California law undercuts his campaign to change term limits in New York, he said: “It is good governance to change term limits from two terms to three terms.”

At times, his remarks in favor of Proposition 11 seemed to echo those of his opponents in New York, who say that his effort to revise term limits would deprive voters of a chance to elect a different mayor, especially given Mr. Bloomberg’s willingness to spend $80 million to win re-election.

“It’s no surprise many legislators are against Proposition 11 — they’re afraid of facing a real opponent,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “They’re afraid of the voters.”

Mr. Bloomberg has argued that there is not enough time to change term limits through a public vote in New York, and that the crisis on Wall Street requires leadership that he is best prepared to offer in a third term.

He has also said that changing term limits would provide voters more choice, rather than less, by allowing incumbents to stand for re-election. The voters, he said, can decide if he should have a third term.

Backers of Proposition 11 say that 99 percent of state elected officials in California “are re-elected to office,” according to a brochure published by Yes on 11, a coalition of business leaders and good-government groups.

“As a result,” the brochure says, incumbents “have very little incentive to be responsive to constituent concerns of make tough policy decisions.”

Kevin Sheekey, New York City’s deputy mayor for government affairs, who was with Mr. Bloomberg in California, said, “It is a gross mischaracterization to suggest that an effort to prevent politicians from redistricting their districts to make them safe for themselves has anything to do with the debate back in New York, which has to do with empowering voters to make decisions.”

He said that a mayor like Mr. Bloomberg, unlike a state legislator running for re-election in a district, “faces all of the voters” in New York City.
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Old Posted Oct 17, 2008, 8:00 AM
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Mr. Bloomberg has argued that there is not enough time to change term limits through a public vote in New York, and that the crisis on Wall Street requires leadership that he is best prepared to offer in a third term......

Kevin Sheekey, New York City’s deputy mayor for government affairs, who was with Mr. Bloomberg in California, said, “It is a gross mischaracterization to suggest that an effort to prevent politicians from redistricting their districts to make them safe for themselves has anything to do with the debate back in New York, which has to do with empowering voters to make decisions.”
They want to empower voters by overturning something the voters have already decided on twice.
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Old Posted Oct 17, 2008, 2:34 PM
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http://www.nypost.com/seven/10172008...how_134041.htm

THEY OUGHT TO SELL TICKETS TO THIS SHOW



October 17, 2008


THE elderly Chinese-Americans got through, thanks to their political juice.

The Hasids arrived late and, with no connections, were left waiting at the gate.

Yesterday's term-limits hearing at City Hall was filled with drama, a degree of intrigue, and the kind of public confrontations that haven't been seen since the gay-rights bill was debated in the 1980s.

If it wasn't the greatest show on earth, it certainly qualified as the best political theater in town.

And it drew a crammed audience of 350, including 30 Chinese-Americans shipped in by the mayor's office and a dozen members of ACORN, the grass-roots group whose voter-registration tactics have become an issue in the presidential race.

One mystery contingent of about 70 grabbed five rows of seats before most arrived, holding printed signs in support of Mayor Bloomberg's plan. They refused to talk to the press. Some fell asleep.

At 2 p.m., a Post reporter followed a group of the untalkative supporters to a Blimpie's near City Hall, where two organizers dispensed lunch money from paper envelopes.

"When you finish, you have to go back," instructed the organizer.


There was Karen Koslowitz, the deputy Queens borough president, whose political career is one of many on the line in the term-limits debate.

"I'm just here to listen," was all she would say.

There were Patrick Brennan and Bradley Tusk, political operatives for the administration, working largely unrecognized in the City Council chambers to shore up support for the mayor.

There was Frederick A. O. Schwarz, a City Charter expert and former chairman of the Campaign Finance Board, who was stuck waiting on line outside City Hall for 20 minutes until someone realized he had been invited to testify.

Four Hasidic men in traditional black garb had no such luck. They were still waiting at 3 p.m. The hearing began at 1 p.m.

"I've been around since 1984," said Mike Nieves, a veteran council staffer, marveling at the size of the packed house. "I've never seen anything like this."

The highlight, for those drawn to spectacle, was the showdown between Mario Cuomo and Councilman Charles Barron, who lectured the former governor after he announced his support for eliminating all term limits.

"How dare you come to this body and say term limits didn't work?" demanded the fiery Barron. "That's an insult to every one of us who came in through term limits."

But Cuomo didn't take the bait. He responded calmly and even praised Barron's "intelligence" and "strong point of view."

"I watched Barack Obama," Cuomo explained afterward.
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Old Posted Oct 17, 2008, 2:51 PM
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http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/..._09_would.html

Term limits referendum in early '09 would end mess once and for all


Friday, October 17th 2008


Jimmy McMillan of Brooklyn, leader of group 'Rent Too Damn High,' opposes Mayor Bloomberg's attempt to sack term limits.


Rachel Trachtenburg, 14, also testifies against a third term for the mayor.


Ex-Parks chief and term-limits backer Henry Stern hangs head at hearing.




Gary Canns, impeccably dressed in a suit and tie, stood in a long line outside City Hall Thursday, waiting to testify against Mayor Bloomberg's velvet coup.

Canns, retired after 28 years in the U.S. military, was just one of the hundreds of people who turned out for a City Council hearing on Bloomberg's proposal to change the charter so he can run for a third term.

"The mayor has a messiah complex," Canns said, shaking his head. "He dares to disregard my fellow voters who have spoken twice on this matter."

Inside the chamber, a sharply divided Council spent the first few hours of the hearing listening to big-name backers of the mayor's proposal. Among them were two men who not only served three terms in office, but tried to run for a fourth - Mario Cuomo and Ed Koch.

"Term limits don't make any sense," Cuomo said.

City Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo and Bloomberg's lawyer, Anthony Crowell, repeatedly told Council members they can change the charter even though voters overwhelmingly backed term limits in two referendums.

"It's crystal clear," Cardozo said of the Council's legal right.

Nonsense. Bill de Blasio, the councilman from Brooklyn, is the one who made crystal clear how this entire proposal is crafted to perpetuate the power of just one man - Michael Bloomberg.

Only a few days ago, de Blasio noted, City Hall amended its proposal. The new version extends all city elected offices to three terms, as long as there is a later referendum to "amend the charter to set term limits at two, rather than three."

Plain English: Three terms are okay if the mayor is Bloomberg. After that, voters can go back to two terms.

Bloomberg has announced he will appoint a new charter commission in 2010 that could call for a new referendum to change limits back to two terms.


He's already named fellow billionaire Ron Lauder, the chief financial backer for term limits in 1993 and 1996, as one person he'll name to that commission.

To publicly name only Lauder to that commission is tantamount to saying it will bring back the two-term limits.

"This is a three-card monte trick on the public," Councilman John Liu (D-Queens) said of the mayor's proposal.

Nothing of the sort, insisted Bloomberg's lawyers. This is all for the good of the city.

"When the economic crisis reached a critical mass, the mayor reached a decision" the city needed him, Crowell said.

So why not have a special referendum early next year to see if the voters want to change term limits?

Crowell's response was even more astounding.

"A special election to decide this question is far more problematic, and far less representative," he said, "than a vote by the 51-member Council."


He said referendum questions typically draw smaller percentages of the total vote in an election. In the 1996 election, for instance, only 1.2 million people cast a vote on the term limits question.

Crowell neglected to mention that when Bloomberg was elected mayor in 2001 and 2005 the turnout wasn't that much higher.

Bloomberg would have us believe the votes of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are less "representative" than that of 51 councilmembers, who also happen to be voting to extend their terms.

De Blasio, Liu and some of their colleagues still have a sense of shame. They are offering a crystal clear alternative to this velvet coup: Hold a referendum early next year on term limits and let the voters decide - again.
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Old Posted Oct 17, 2008, 2:56 PM
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He's been nothing but good for the city, so I can't say I would be annoyed if he was able to pull off a 3rd term. I do think this stunt though will put a damper on his popularity, but the way I see it, as long as the city continues to run smoothly, then that's all that matters.
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Old Posted Oct 17, 2008, 3:06 PM
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He's been nothing but good for the city, so I can't say I would be annoyed if he was able to pull off a 3rd term.
I'll give you two examples. Both Bill Clinton and Rudy Guiliani enjoyed popular support and were limited to two years in office. President Bush, very unpopular, has us in the middle of two wars, yet because of the two term limit, he gets to leave office and wash his hands of that mess. It would be just as wrong if either of those three men tried to legislate their way into a third term because of "special" circumstances. But it's even more wrong for Bloomberg because the people have spoken on the matter -twice. It's not an issue that should be decided on whether or not you like the person.

I agree with the last article, if they want to change the rules, which were decided by the people, then leave it up to the people to decide a third time. The arrogance of these politicians is just astounding.
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Old Posted Oct 17, 2008, 3:26 PM
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The arrogance of these politicians is just astounding.
Well keep in mind that for Bloomberg, this job is considered 'fun'. His arrognace stems from the fact that he's worth between 15-20 billion dollars, and given that I'm sure he feels that can have some influence.

I agree though that this push for a third term violates tradition and respect to a system that has been honored since the existance of this city. All I'm saying is that if someone was to gain approval for a third term, I wouldn't mind it being him.
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Old Posted Oct 17, 2008, 4:18 PM
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I'll give you two examples. Both Bill Clinton and Rudy Guiliani enjoyed popular support and were limited to two years in office. President Bush, very unpopular, has us in the middle of two wars, yet because of the two term limit, he gets to leave office and wash his hands of that mess. It would be just as wrong if either of those three men tried to legislate their way into a third term because of "special" circumstances.
Why? Bloomberg isn't asking to be made dictator of New York, he's asking for a chance to run a third time. If the people of New York are so offended by this, they will still have an opportunity to vote the guy out.

If, on the other hand, the people of New York still like the platform and the policy decisions of Bloomberg, after seeing two terms of his mayorship, then they should have the opportunity to re-elect him.

Even if there were no term limits at the presidential level, it's extremely unlikely that Bush would get re-elected. In fact, he probably wouldn't even get the nomination from his own party, because he would be a sure bet to lose. Politicians who make bad decisions that the people don't agree with will get voted out, regardless of whether they are term-limited or not.
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Old Posted Oct 17, 2008, 5:26 PM
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If people have a problem with Bloomberg serving a third term, they're free to vote against him if he's allowed to run again. But I don't see the point of term limits in local government.

Why not let the people decide whether they want him for another term? If the term limit is overturned, they'll have that choice. If it's not, they won't. Now which is more democratic?
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Old Posted Oct 18, 2008, 1:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Dac150 View Post
Well keep in mind that for Bloomberg, this job is considered 'fun'. His arrognace stems from the fact that he's worth between 15-20 billion dollars, and given that I'm sure he feels that can have some influence.
There are other billionaires in New York. Maybe they should just change the law so that only billionaires are allowed to run the city.
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  #14  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2008, 1:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Why? Bloomberg isn't asking to be made dictator of New York, he's asking for a chance to run a third time. If the people of New York are so offended by this, they will still have an opportunity to vote the guy out.
You completely miss the point. I'm sure, given the oppurtunity, the people could have voted to keep Guiliani, or toss him out (more than likely keeping him). But this is an issue that was put before the voters, twice, and on both occasions term limits won. Now, if you want to repeal that, you have to put it back before the people. You don't get to say, well I'm just gonna overstep the public will only this once, and you people can put it back in a couple of years if you like or just don't vote for me. What are they gonna do, change the law everytime New York faces a crises? If that's the case, it never should have been put before the people in the first place.

What's more disturbing than Bloomberg's power grab is that you people don't see the danger here - a group of politicians sitting in a room overturning something the people have voted on. Where will it end? This is a road you do not want to go down, Americans in particular, because that will be the end of what's supposed to be great about this country.
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Old Posted Oct 18, 2008, 1:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
If people have a problem with Bloomberg serving a third term, they're free to vote against him if he's allowed to run again. But I don't see the point of term limits in local government.

Why not let the people decide whether they want him for another term? If the term limit is overturned, they'll have that choice. If it's not, they won't. Now which is more democratic?
A nice play on words, but again, another one that misses the point. It isn't an issue of whether or not the people want to vote for Bloomberg, or choice B or C. The issue is term limits. People always had the choice to vote the politicians out of office, but favored term limits for a reason. (And for the record, I haven't said whether I support term limits or not). Now, if you want to debate the merits of term limits, that's another issue. But the people have already spoken on it, bottom line. And there's no way of getting around that other than to put it back before the people. Otherwise, why not just throw out the results of any and all other elections. What do the ignorant people know, they're just voters.
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Old Posted Oct 18, 2008, 2:02 PM
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This is very sad...
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/18/ny...l?ref=nyregion

Bloomberg Enlists His Charities in Bid to Stay



Mayor Michael Bloomberg leaves City Hall as the debate for term limits continues.

By MICHAEL BARBARO and DAVID W. CHEN
October 17, 2008


Michael R. Bloomberg, who says he strictly separates his philanthropy from his job as mayor of New York, is pressing many of the community, arts and neighborhood groups that rely on his private donations to make the case for his third term, according to interviews with those involved in the effort.

As opposition mounts to his plan to ease term limits, those people said, the mayor and his top aides have asked leaders of organizations that receive his largess to express their support for his third-term bid by testifying during public hearings and by personally appealing to undecided members of the City Council. Legislation that would allow him to run for another term is expected to come up for a Council vote as early as next week.

The requests have put the groups in an unusual and uncomfortable position, several employees of the groups said.
City Hall has not made any explicit threats, they said, but city officials have extraordinary leverage over the groups’ finances. Many have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Mr. Bloomberg’s philanthropic giving and millions of dollars from city contracts overseen by his staff.

An official at a social service group that receives tens of thousands of dollars from Mr. Bloomberg and has a contract with the city was startled to receive a call in the past few days from Linda I. Gibbs, the deputy mayor for health and human services. Ms. Gibbs asked whether the organization’s leaders would be willing to call wavering council members to argue for Mr. Bloomberg’s term limits legislation.

“It’s pretty hard to say no,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of upsetting the mayor. “They can take away a lot of resources.”

A spokesman for the mayor, Stu Loeser, said that many of the organizations that have publicly supported the extension “are groups that we have been working with over the last seven years to move New York forward, and the reason we are asking for the opportunity for another four years is to keep New York moving forward.”

Mr. Loeser said Mr. Bloomberg took pains to separate his charitable giving from his day-to-day management of the city.

Nevertheless, public hearings on Thursday and Friday and interviews with council members revealed the extent to which the mayor is relying on those who have received donations from him as he pushes for the legislation, which would permit officials elected citywide and council members to serve 12 years rather than 8. Several administration officials confirmed that top mayoral aides, including Deputy Mayors Edward Skyler and Kevin Sheekey, have encouraged groups to join the effort.

Officials from five groups that have received significant charitable contributions from the mayor testified on behalf of his bill — the Doe Fund, the Harlem Children’s Zone, the the Public Art Fund, the Alliance of Resident Theaters and the St. Nicholas Neighborhood Preservation Corporation. In addition, other recipients of his philanthropic funds, including Safe Space, a charity that works to keep children out of foster care, and Jazz at Lincoln Center, have been lobbying council members behind the scenes.

None of the officials disclosed their financial ties to the mayor’s charity when they testified.

Mr. Bloomberg routes the money to the groups through large and technically anonymous donations to the Carnegie Corporation, but it is an open secret that he is a source of the gifts, which generally range from $10,000 to $150,000.

Since he was elected, for example, Mr. Bloomberg has given the Harlem Children’s Zone more than $500,000, according to records and interviews with those familiar with the process. The group’s president, Geoffrey Canada, vigorously endorsed Mr. Bloomberg’s legislation in testimony on Thursday.

Mr. Canada said that “if I thought it mattered to the Council, I would have disclosed” the contributions from Mr. Bloomberg. He said he supported the mayor’s campaign to remain in office because of his record as a manager and his courage to raise property taxes to strengthen the city’s finances.

Officials from other groups also said they would have backed Mr. Bloomberg’s plan whether or not he had given them money or solicited their support.

Susan K. Freedman, who heads the Public Art Fund, which has received more than $500,000 from Mr. Bloomberg, testified for his bill and praised his record of promoting projects like Olafur Eliasson’s “Waterfalls,” the East River cascades that were dismantled this week. “The mayor believes in what I believe in,” she said.

The Doe Fund, a homeless-services organization, has received about $150,000 from Mr. Bloomberg since he took office. At the request of the mayor, the group’s founder and president, George McDonald, testified for the mayor’s proposal.

Ken Frydman, a spokesman for the Doe Fund, said that Mr. McDonald “would have shown up to testify in any case, as a longtime politically active resident of the city, who cares deeply about extending term limits.”

At least 11 Doe Fund employees, including several senior officials, testified in favor of the mayor’s plan, but most of them did not identify their employer, describing themselves only as residents of their neighborhoods.

Mr. Frydman said there was no coordination by the Doe Fund.

Kenneth Sherrill, a political science professor at Hunter College, said it was inappropriate for the mayor to be asking the groups that are so dependent on his good graces to take a position on his legislation.

“It’s distasteful. And what’s distasteful about it is leaning on weak people — people who are vulnerable,” Mr. Sherrill said. “The problem is in the implicit threat that if you don’t help, we’re going to remember.”


The mayor remains broadly popular, and many of those who testified before the Council over the past two days, including a former Time Warner chief executive, Richard D. Parsons, argued that Mr. Bloomberg’s experience was needed to help the city deal with an economic crisis that could be "frightening, perilous or even dangerous."

Still, the opposition Mr. Bloomberg has encountered over the bill has been more intense than anticipated. Despite the intense efforts of his staff to turn out a favorable crowd, a solid majority of the nearly 250 who testified during the two days said they opposed it, according to a tally by The New York Times.

Fred Siegel, a professor of history at Cooper Union who has studied New York City politics for decades, said Mr. Bloomberg had cynically “reversed the flow of money” in politics to build the illusion, if not the reality, of widespread support.

“The traditional politicians are bought by special interest groups, but Bloomberg buys special interest groups,” he said.

Mr. Bloomberg, in his radio program on Friday, said he remained “cautiously optimistic” that the Council would pass his bill, and he was pleased to see “democracy at work” during the two days of hearings.
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  #17  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2008, 8:22 PM
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http://www.nypost.com/seven/10192008...our_134241.htm

'3RD TERM' IS $LUSH HOUR
MIKE'S FUND GAVE BIG BOOSTS TO COUNCIL POLS MULLING LIMITS LAW


By ANGELA MONTEFINISE and JAMES FANELLI
October 19, 2008


Mayor Bloomberg showered cash on key City Council members with the power to kill a term-limits extension bill in the last year.

Members of the council's Government Operations Committee have received millions from Hizzoner's slush fund, a once-secret pot of taxpayer money the mayor doles out to favored lawmakers for their pet causes.

All the members are Democrats who will decide whether the change in term limits - which the mayor needs in order to run for a third term - goes before the council for a full vote.

Five members of the committee secured $3.1 million from the $5.3 million stash in Bloomberg's 2008 budget. Only three other council members received funds from the mayor in the last year. Two are Republicans, and the third, Councilman James Vacca, received a considerably smaller amount, $20,000, than the other beneficiaries.

Government Operations Committee chairman Simcha Felder (Brooklyn) received $1.9 million from the mayor's fund, far more than any of his council colleagues. He has received funds from Bloomberg's fund every year since 2003, in which time the allocations have doubled. It is widely believed Felder supports a term-limits change.

Fellow committee members Domenic Recchia, Helen Sears, Erik Dilan and Peter Vallone Jr. each received between $50,000 and $625,000 from the mayor's fund..

"I think it's obvious that Bloomberg was trying to curry favor here. What else are discretionary funds for?" said one councilman against extending term limits. "Term limits is the most important issue out there, period . . . I think this is one way he laid the groundwork."

Bloomberg's slush fund was discontinued in June, after The Post revealed the existence of a separate City Council slush fund. Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser said the funding handed out a year ago had no connection to today's term limits debate.

Meanwhile, the committee members were favored with some of the most generous handouts from Council Speaker Christine Quinn - Bloomberg's closest ally in the fight to extend term limits - in this year's budget.

Recchia saw his council funding soar 19 percent, Dilan's rose 14 percent, Larry Seabrook's 25 percent, and Inez Dickens' 20 percent. The average council member's funding rose only 9 percent this year.

All but Dickens - whose public stance on term limits is undecided - have said they'll vote yes on allowing incumbents to run for a third four-year term.

Vallone and Sears, who are undecided on term limits, didn't see their allocations spike. But they still collected a combined $1.5 million for their causes. Felder received $432,000, a 5 percent increase.

A Quinn spokesman said that when you take into account the entire $30.7 million funding pool, the allocations to committee members were "insignificant."

But some speculate it was part of a heavy-handed campaign to entice lawmakers to support a term-limits extension, the aggressiveness of which came to light last week as:

* Union brass have personally lobbied council members to support term limits. According to a source, some unions have met with the mayor's office in hopes of getting perks in exchange for their support.

* City-funded arts groups have also pressed city legislators. One member said she received "dozens" of calls from "groups I really respect."

* Committee chairmanships have been promised by Quinn to several council members - at least two of whom have been offered the finance chair in exchange for a yes vote.

* A councilwoman was "offered the world. . ..rec centers, parks, affordable housing and more discretionary money" in a meeting last week urging her to support term limits.


Political shuffling in the spring also raised eyebrows.

Sears, who has backed Bloomberg on hotbed isSues in the past, was appointed to the Government Operations committee in May, replacing term-extension foe Councilman Joe Addabo Jr.

In June, as Bloomberg mulled a third-term run, Felder abandoned his city comptroller aspirations - which, if limits are extended, may have put him in a tough race against incumbent Bill Thompson. The mayor then endorsed Felder for a state Senate run.

"[Felder] respects the mayor but he doesn't vote the way the mayor tells him to vote," Eric Kuo, the councilman's spokesman, said.

Mayor spokesman Loeser said "absolutely no quid pro quos have been offered," but said the mayor's office has met with "all kinds of people who we've worked with" to "make our case and get the votes we need to pass it."
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  #18  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2008, 8:25 PM
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  #19  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2008, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by NYguy View Post
A nice play on words, but again, another one that misses the point. It isn't an issue of whether or not the people want to vote for Bloomberg, or choice B or C. The issue is term limits. People always had the choice to vote the politicians out of office, but favored term limits for a reason. (And for the record, I haven't said whether I support term limits or not). Now, if you want to debate the merits of term limits, that's another issue. But the people have already spoken on it, bottom line. And there's no way of getting around that other than to put it back before the people. Otherwise, why not just throw out the results of any and all other elections. What do the ignorant people know, they're just voters.
My argument in that debate is that there is no reason for term limits.
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  #20  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2008, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
My argument in that debate is that there is no reason for term limits.
Well, your argument is a bit late, because term limits are already in place. The debate now is about the method of changing or attempting to change that.
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