Bloomberg Reverts on Term Limits


bloombergNYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who orchestrated the overturn of the two-term limit in 2008 while pursuing a third term for himself, declared Monday he will support a ballot measure to restore the law banning elected officials from serving more than two consecutive four-year terms.”I’m voting to restore it,” Mr. Bloomberg said when asked about his position on the Nov. 2 ballot question on term limits.

Mr. Bloomberg defended the decision to overturn the term-limits law two years ago, saying it “was changed legally.”

The mayor on Monday said he considers next week’s referendum to be the fulfillment of his promise to give the public “another chance” to decide whether the cap on elected officials’ service should be two or three four-year terms.

Stu Loeser, Mr. Bloomberg’s spokesman, said the mayor supported overturning term limits in 2008 because of the “implosion of the world economy.”

“This was an extraordinary, one-time thing,” Mr. Loeser said.

Gene Russianoff, a senior attorney at the New York Public Interest Group, a civic group, said the mayor’s support of next week’s measure is consistent with his argument two years ago.

“I don’t think it’s hypocritical of him” to support the restoration now, he said.

Still, Mr. Russianoff said the mayor “walked all over democracy” in 2008 when he and the City Council overturned the law. The electorate approved term limits in two referendums in the 1990s.

Although the mayor said he would support the measure, he said he disagreed with the proposal put forward by the Charter Revision Commission, the panel the mayor appointed to recommend changes to the city constitution.

“It’s not the bill that I wanted. It’s not the bill that I think the commission should have passed,” he said, referring to the ballot question. “It’s not the bill, I think, that most of the members of the commission wanted to pass. But it’s better than what we have now.”

In August, Mr. Bloomberg said he disagreed with the commission’s decision to carve out a special exception for incumbents, allowing them to serve three consecutive four-year terms even if the electorate votes next week to restore a two-term cap.

The mayor’s position on the issue puts him squarely at odds with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a potential 2013 mayoral candidate who went out on a limb two years ago to persuade her council colleagues to grant the mayor’s request to overturn the term-limits law.

In December 2007, Ms. Quinn said she would “not support the repeal or change of term limits through any mechanism, and I will oppose aggressively any attempt by anyone to make any changes in the term-limits law. The voters have made their will very, very clear.”

Less than a year later, she acquiesced to Mr. Bloomberg’s request to run for a third term.

A spokeswoman for Ms. Quinn said the speaker declined to comment on the mayor’s position on next week’s ballot. Ms. Quinn will be voting to keep the cap at three terms, her spokeswoman said.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who last week launched a campaign to convince voters to support the new term-limits measure, said he’s happy to have the mayor’s support.

“I’ve made no secret of my disagreements with the mayor on term limits, but I’m glad to know he supports returning this decision to the people on Election Day,” Mr. de Blasio said

On Monday, business executive Ronald Lauder, who spent more than $4 million of his personal fortune in the 1990s to persuade New Yorkers to impose term limits on elected officials, announced a new campaign to encourage the public to support the measure next week.

Mr. Lauder said in an interview that he decided to bankroll a six-day advertising blitz, beginning Wednesday, because “nobody was paying attention” to this issue.

Mr. Lauder said he’s concerned that voters will miss the opportunity to consider the measure because the question is on the back of the ballot.

By voting for the proposal, Mr. Lauder said, the public will also be “severely limiting the power” of the council to reverse the law in the future.

The measure prohibits the City Council, moving forward, from altering term limits for incumbents, a provision designed to respond to voters’ anger over how the mayor and council overrode the law.

{Wall Street Journal/}


  1. Stu Loeser, Mr. Bloomberg’s spokesman, said the mayor supported overturning term limits in 2008 because of the “implosion of the world economy.”

    As if we just fell off the turnip truck. What a snake.


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