Bloomberg's Madness

Oct 10, 2008

At times I can see the merits of extending term limits. Limits can upset consistency and make completing long term projects difficult. However, whenever Bloomberg opens his mouth all I hear is a sickening sense of entitlement; an arrogance that yells “but 8 years isn’t enough time for you to savor my greatness.”

The complaint that NYC is too vulnerable for poppa Bloomberg to leave is laughable. Aside from the fact that such a power grab is eerily reminiscent of shock-doctrine political tactics, Bloomberg isn’t as awesome as he thinks he is. Yes, I’m glad we don’t have transfats in our foods and 311 is indeed a time saver, but the falling cranes, ultra-hands-on police enforcement, incessant development that is squeezing out the middle class, and—given your access to financial information—relative silence on mortgage crisis and subprime lending practices lead me to question your leadership.

However, if he thinks he is really such a great leader, why not move on to something bigger, as other politicians have done? Certainly a man of his wealth talent can find another suitable position at the local, state, or federal level. Indeed, this is a criticism of term limits as they rarely get rid of politicians, rather they allow politicians to shuffle themselves around, still having influence. So why not set your sights on Governor or possibly President (as he once joked he would do)?

His behavior reveals the answer to that question. Any person who believes that our city is so weak that we can’t bear to part with his mediocrity would never take the risk of moving on. To do so would require him to be more creative in addressing pressing social, economic, and political issues and more appealing to a diverse group of people. Instead, he prefers to go back on his own word and hang on to as much power as he can.

Regardless of my take on this, one critical issue remains: his approach to extending the term limit is blatantly undemocratic. We already voted on this and we voted in favor of limits in 1993 and 1996. He is not bringing this to the voters—as it is too late for a referendum—rather he is bringing this to the council, two-thirds of whom will be out next year because of term limits. So this has nothing to do with the political benefits (or lack thereof) of term limits. It has to do with him and his feeling that he is above the law.

UPDATE: On that note, here is an event about term limits and public interest happening on Tuesday that I plan to attend:

Citizens Union, Common Cause/NY,
and the New York Public Interest Research Group present

A Panel Discussion and Public Forum

Term Limits: Their Impact and Who Decides

Panel in Formation

Richard Briffault
Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation, Columbia Law School; Vice Chair, Citizens Union

The Honorable Lew Fidler
Assistant Majority Leader and Member, New York City Council

Randy M. Mastro
Attorney, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Deputy Mayor, New York City, 1996 - 1998

Esmeralda Simmons
Executive Director, Center for Law and Social Justice, Medgar Evers College; former member of the NYC Redistricting Commission

6:00 - 9:00 PM

Baruch College
The William and Anita Newman Vertical Campus
55 Lexington Avenue at 24th Street
14th Floor

Please RSVP at 212.227.0342 ext.39

Space is limited


Nicole said...

this is basically how I feel on the matter and I'm glad I'm not alone in this. When I first heard about it on the news, my first thought was, what has he done that is so great over these past 2 terms to make him think that he is entitled to an extended term? I certainly can't think of a suitable reason why. He's done some good but nothing remarkable that would warrant an extension imo.

Escape Brooklyn said...

Great post. I'm so disgusted with how this whole thing played out. Bloomberg basically bullied his way into a third term via a council vote -- oh, no conflict of interest there! Most of the council members voted themselves into another four years of six figure pay, too! (Wouldn't it be great if all our jobs worked like that? I can just vote to extend my employment contract when it's about to expire, just like I can vote to give myself a pay raise!)

Mayor Mike's basically all about over-development, IMO, and the city has suffered for it. Sad thing is, by the time the election rolls around next year everyone will have forgotten all about this. He and his cronies timed it perfectly.

People supposedly yelled out at City Hall after the vote, "The city's for sale!" Yup.