Term Limit Revolt Begins In The Council
I'd like to
stop writing about term limits.
I really thought that the basic immorality of voting to change
the law which was twice voted on by the people in order to keep
oneself in office would clearly overwhelm the personal avarice
and desires of term-limited City Councilmembers.
I know they are capable of all sorts of attempts at justification:
it's good for the government; the people didn't know what they
were doing; one person funded the effort; the sky will fall; yada
yada yada. But, in the past when moral people had to face such
a self-serving effort, ignoring the stated will of the people,
such efforts of greed and farce simply ended.
Not so here.
Sadly, Mike Bloomberg, almost a hero to those of us to who believe
good government is a real, achievable end of politics, has equivocated
and not swiftly ended the effort which is so damaging to the people's
perception of their elected officials.
We believe that the Mayor will ultimately put a stop to the self-serving
term limit extension effort that has started in the City Council.
His inaction is allowing those who advocate that the Council legislatively
change the law to benefit its members without going back to the
people to seriously damage themselves. The damage will be deep
and long lasting. It will haunt self-serving councilmembers if
they ever seek higher office.
The press - including this paper - good government groups, and
people of good will everywhere will always cite a member's vote
to stay in office, defying and denying the will of the people.
In the past, we called it a crime against the people -- it is
To this writer, if this effort every came to a vote, it would
be the number-one vote on a candidate's record to warrant our
refusal to support their election. It is indeed more outrageous
a concept than the 1999 New York State legislative repeal of the
commuter tax that cost our City about a half -billion dollars
Yes, there are issues that should not be forgotten.
An officeholder's ignoring the people's law, passed twice by referendum,
and voting to change it for their own personal gain, should be
in almost all cases reason to reject that candidate.
The people need to start expressing that sentiment. The people
need to be heard not on term limits - because that is not the
issue - but on Councilmembers voting to override the people's
law and extend their terms in office without going back to the
The Bronx's Oliver Koppell has now stated that he will introduce
such a piece of legislation into the Council. Remember his name
- not as anything but a self-serving thief announcing plans to
steal that which is not his. There will be others who lend support
to his vile effort. We will record their names. The foolery will
go on until the Mayor, or the Speaker, or other elected officials
of good will and common sense put an end to it. And it will cause
damage to those who let their personal greed overrule their sense
of fair play as they disregard the will of the people.
Tony Avella, Joe Addabbo Jr., Jim Gennaro, John Liu, David Weprin,
Eric Gioia and newcomer Anthony Como are the first to state clearly
to this paper that they oppose any effort to change term limits
without a vote of the people. We applaud them, for they will likely
be scorned by those in the Council who place their individual
needs above those of the people.
But it wasn't hard for these seven, and it won't be hard for the
others who oppose Koppell and his overturn effort. It won't be
hard because it is the right thing to do.
We ask the rest of the Queens delegation to contact us immediately
and let us know where they stand. Would they support an effort
to change term limits without a vote of the people?
The line has been dawn by Koppell.
Which side are you on?
I'm looking for some honorable people.
I'd like to stop writing about term limits.
Senate Races: Dems Eye Majority
Day has several meanings. Every four years in New York it signals
the real beginning of the Presidential Election - the Republicans
against Democrats. As Labor Day ends and New Yorkers choose
their local party candidates, the conventions are held and the
bigger picture gets bigger.
As the national debate takes center stage, at home, we have
another drama of our own. For the first time since 1965, the
Democrats may take control of the State Senate.
The Democratic Party in addition to capturing control of the
State Senate, would then have all three men in the room from
their party, for the first time -- get this - since 1911.
The man at the switch for the Dems as they charge towards November
looking to capture two seats, is southeast Queens Senate Minority
Leader Malcolm Smith.
Smith has identified Joe Addabbo's Democratic attack on longtime
Republican Senator Serf Maltese's tenure in a largely Democratic
Western Queens district, as the first on his list of likely
wins. Those plans may have had a major setback when Mayor Mike
Bloomberg threw his support behind the incumbent, Serf Maltese,
There is also a southwestern Suffolk County contest and several
upstate seats in play.
The G.O.P. is likely to outspend their Democratic rivals significantly.
In the six weeks between now and Election Day, Smith's ability
as a leader, fundraiser and campaign tactician will be tested.
His performance could have great impact on our State and our
Maltese Loses Key Ally In Seminerio
Stadium Memorabilia Selling Fast
Fugitive Convicted In 2001 Murder
Rally Howls For Affordable Housing
Sikhs and Arab Still Suffer Since 9/11
Queens’ Latin Jazz Coalition Finds Rhythm
Going From Here to There — Got Ideas?
Protest To Keep School Bus Routes
Rival Term Limits Bills Approach Council Floor
Stolen Torahs Returned
Seminerio Arrested For Mail Fraud
Teen Pleads Guilty To 2006 Park Murder
Mayor Endorses Maltese In Senate Battle
Huge Turnout Gives Huntley Win In Jamaica
Memories of Shea
On 9/11, Some Wounds Still Unhealed
Women’s Hospital Breaks Ground
Citi Field To Be Year-Round Attraction
Stolen Torahs Recovered By Police
Meng Beats Young in Primary for Flushing Seat
Term-Limits Reversal Is Lukewarm
No, We Won’t Go Even Though The Law Says So
HENRY J. STERN
Term limits will simmer on the back burner until after Election Day, less than two months from now. Mayor Bloomberg has told us that he will not take a position on the issue until then. Of course, it is always possible that he will change his mind again.
Since our last column, events have inched forward, but the issue of whether and when to act is far from decided. Time, however, continues to move forward.
Last week, the News turning its attention to Council Speaker Christine Quinn reported: "Pressure is mounting on City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to take a firm stand on term limits as Mayor Bloomberg publicly toys with extending them.
"When asked if he'd reached a conclusion on the topic, Bloomberg said yesterday, 'Which letter in the word 'no' do you not understand?' Bloomberg suggested he wouldn't act on term limits until after the presidential election in November."
The next day they reported: 'It's Mayor Bloomberg who's calling the tune in the City Hall dance over changing term limits, Council Speaker Christine Quinn insisted yesterday.
The next day, the Times picked up the story : COUNCILMAN TO INTRODUCE BILL TO SOFTEN TERM LIMITS.
The Councilman involved is G. Oliver Koppell of the Bronx, who would have to leave office in 2009 unless he can get the law changed to allow him to stay. Koppell got his Council seat when popular Councilwoman June M. Eisland was forced by term limits to retire in 2001. If not for term limits, she would still have the seat. A long-time Assemblyman from Riverdale, Koppell served a little over a year as New York State Attorney General after the resignation of former Bronx Borough President Robert Abrams. He was defeated in the 1994 Democratic primary by Karen Burstein, who lost that November to Dennis Vacco, who served one term, and was defeated in turn by Eliot Spitzer in 1998.
Politics, as you can see, is a business where, sooner or later, almost everybody loses, eventually driven from office by death, defeat or dishonor. It is no surprise that some elected officials will do anything to extend their tenure, including ignoring a repeated public mandate.
One official to whom term limits would apply has a different view. Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, in her blog, wrote as follows:
"In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about extending term limits via a back room, closed door legislative deal. I think this is a terrible, undemocratic idea.
"I cannot support extending term limits by anything other than a public vote. Despite the popularity of our Mayor, I think it's up to the people of New York to decide how long they want their elected officials in office, and they've already told us twice."
Otherwise, the elected class is relatively silent. No one has been as unabashed as Mr. Koppell in trying to legislate an exemption. As far as we know, so far only Councilman Tony Avella of Queens, himself a mayoral candidate, has publicly opposed the scheme, saying, "Why not come out and say, 'No matter what the mayor does we are not going to entertain this."
Most of the other hopefuls are awaiting events. If there is a successful coup, they will take credit for it. If it is merely a beer-hall putsch, they want no part of it. President Kennedy said after the Bay of Pigs debacle in 1961 that "victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan." The orphan is particularly lonely and isolated when the cause is self-serving and unjustified.
In the 1989 movie, "The War of the Roses," Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner play a divorcing couple. In the end, they both swing on a chandelier, not wishing to give up any part of the house they shared. Somehow, the public officials facing departure from City Hall evoke the images of that film.
Not4Publication.com by Dom Nunziato