Nobody's Good Enough for Mayor Bloomberg to Serve Three Terms, Except for Mayor Bloomberg

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Remember that time Michael Bloomberg decided he would override the conventional standards in place to avoid politicians usurping too much power by breaking the two term limit on mayors, and run for a third? As it turns out, Mayor Bloomberg thinks the only person good enough to run for three terms is...himself.

WNYC's typically reliable The Empire blogger Azi Paybarah:

Bloomberg and Paybarah have a great history in the matter. Quick rundown, for those who don't know:

  • Bloomberg says the city is in a recession, and thus, he needs to run for a third term to help the city. Because he's Michael Bloomberg, and runs a billion dollar empire, and knows money.
  • The City Council retains the right to overturn term limits. The city council that Bloomberg had installed basically did so without question, on his command, after notoriously once noting the idea of extending term limits as "disgusting."
  • Bloomberg then spent $70M and won a third term as the Mayor of New York City.
  • But Paybarah -- who was at the New York Observer last summer -- pressed Bloomberg on the question of his reasoning for doing something he once called "disgusting" -- changing the term limits -- and got a reaction. Paybarah asked Bloomberg if an economic turnaround (which, for the record, has started to happen) would undermine Bloomberg's reasoning for running for third term if it happened. The mayor's response? To call Paybarah a "disgrace."
"The rationale for extending term limits is, the City Council passed it and the public's going to have a chance on Nov. 3 to say what they want. And I don't think we have to keep coming back to that. When you have a serious question about the economy I will be happy to answer it. Anything else?" After that, the mayor concluded his press conference, looked directly at Mr. Paybarah and said, "You are a disgrace."

So, sum total: a mayor who once violently deflected questions about why he would run for a third term -- a practice even he once called "disgusting" -- is going to vote against extra terms, after running and winning one himself. The question on the ballot is whether or not the city council should retain the right to extend limits. Naturally, as they're in power, they feel as if they should be able to retain it. So they're pissed and bitter and would rather this stay out of the hands of the voters:

Last month, Ms. Quinn vehemently defended the council's right to overrule the will of the voters on term limits. "Any attempt to punish the council for using its legislative powers and approving an unpopular measure introduced by the mayor would set a very dangerous and chilling precedent," the City Council Speaker said. "Such an action would damage our system of representative democracy."

Anyway, as if you needed any more proof that the business of politics -- especially in New York -- is retaining power to one's self and marginalizing it from everyone else as much as possible, well, now you have more.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]

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