Bloomberg term limits turmoil continues
NEW YORK (AP) Brooklyn council members Bill de Blasio and Letitia James went to
court Wednesday to block Mayor Michael Bloombergs proposal to change the citys term-limits law so that he can run for a third four-year term.
The pair filed a petition asking the court to stop a scheduled council vote to
increase the number of terms the mayor and current council members may serve.The two lawmakers want the court to declare that the vote to
allow a third term in office for its own members, as well as
Bloomberg, would violate the citys conflict of interest law.
The vote is scheduled for Thursday. A hearing on the issue was
scheduled for later Wednesday before state Supreme Court Justice
Randy Mastro, lawyer for the two petitioners, said his clients
oppose the proposed term-limits vote as a matter of deeply held
The petition names the citys Conflicts of Interest Board and
the council as defendants.
The board wrote an opinion last week concluding that it was not
a conflict for council members to vote on term limits changes for
themselves and the mayor.
Jamie McShane, a spokesman for council Speaker Christine Quinn,
who supports Bloombergs proposal, noted Wednesday that the panel
issued a strong and decisive opinion.
We are confident the court will agree that this lawsuit is
entirely without merit, McShane said.
Two-thirds of the council members will be forced out of office
next year under the existing law, which restricts the mayor,
council members and other city officeholders to two consecutive
four-year terms. The mayors proposal would add the option for a
Bloomberg announced his intentions late last month after several
weeks of turmoil on Wall Street, arguing that he is uniquely
qualified to lead the city through the financial crisis because of
his business background. The founder of the multibillion-dollar
financial data firm Bloomberg LP, the mayor is reported to be worth
an estimated $20 billion.
The petitioners court papers note that Bloomberg had previously
expressed his support for term limits.
Then, when the recent crisis in New York and worldwide
financial markets unfolded, Mayor Bloomberg seized on the
opportunity to make public his private desire to amend the term
limits laws so he and some council members could stay in office,
court papers say.
Bloombergs first-ever veto when he took office in 2002 was to
reject a council bill that sought to extend terms for some
lawmakers. At the time, he said the proposed law was wrong because
it amounted to changing the rules for personal political gain.