The third term is a charm in New York, now that the City Council has voted 29-22 to extend term limits for themselves, the Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate and the Borough Presidents.
After a passion-filled debate with Councilmembers on both sides of the issue making their cases for and against the bill Mayor Bloomberg has lobbied hard for since he introduced it recently, the Mayor seemed triumphant.
“Today, the majority of the City Council decided to give the people of New York a fuller choice in the November, 2009 election,” Bloomberg said. “I believe that
was the right choice, and I want to thank Speaker Quinn for her leadership.”
Quinn, who has been a major ally of Mayor Bloomberg, was crucial in helping the mayor make sure there were enough votes to pass.
The vote, on Thursday, October 23, came about an hour after the Council voted down an amendment that would have called for a public vote in a special election to endorse their move. The amendment was voted down by the same 29-22 count.
“The issue of extending term limits has gone to the people twice, and any revisiting of the issue should have gone back to the people,” City Councilmember James Gennaro said. “I voted today for an amendment to bring this issue to a vote in a public referendum, and voted no on Mayor Bloomberg’s effort to extend term limits without a public referendum, because the people of New York City deserve no less than to have their opinion count.”
Councilmembers who claimed to be undecided all voted in favor of the measure, “Intro 845,” which changed the City Charter to allow “three full consecutive terms.” The law also allows for repeal by a popular referendum.
Of the Queens City Council, only James Sanders and Thomas White, who had been undecided in a Courier poll, changed their votes – to yes.
Three Queens Councilmembers who are running for state office this year, Joseph Addabbo, Gennaro and Hiram Monserrate all voted no. Both Monserrate, who is running unopposed, and Gennaro, who is in a tough campaign to unseat Senator Frank Padavan, previously pledged not to run for a third term even if the law passed.
Addabbo, a Senate candidate for the seat held by Serphin Maltese, refused to say whether he would run. “I’m all about this year’s election,” he told The Courier recently. “I fully expect to win.”
Although many Councilmembers and public interest groups reacted negatively to the decision, Bloomberg said that it’s now time for everyone in city government to continue working for the people.
“Those of us who work on both sides of City Hall must now move forward with the important decisions that face us, particularly finding ways to soften the fallout from the economic downturn and balancing our budget as revenues decline,” Bloomberg said.
Read next week’s Queens Courier to see how this vote will impact a number of 2009 candidates for citywide offices.