City Council hands Mayor Michael Bloomberg a term limits victory
Mike reigns again.
In a 29-22 vote, the City Council on Thursday handed Mayor Michael Bloomberg a victory when it passed a bill to extend term limits, clearing the way for the billionaire to seek another four years in office.
Council members were interrupted several times by jeers and boos from the second-floor public gallery as they cast their votes to allow all citywide office holders to have three terms in office instead of the current two. The vote overturns two public referendums held in the 1990s.
The majority of the city council decided to give the people of New York a fuller choice in the November 2009 election. I believe that was the right choice, Bloomberg said in a statement.About a half-an-hour after the vote ended, there was a brief commotion outside City Hall as Bloomberg walked out to a waiting car and a throng of people ran after him, shouting, sell out and Bloomberg hates New York.
Get in your limousine and get the hell out of town! shouted David Galarza, president of the Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors in Brooklyn.
Passions ran high on both sides throughout the afternoon, though opponents of the mayors bill were the more vocal.
You will all be voted out of office for this, thundered Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), a mayoral candidate, before casting his vote no.
Councilman Bill de Blasio (D-Brooklyn), a vociferous critic of the bill who led an unsuccessful court challenge seeking to have the vote killed, said the council was stealing like a thief in the night their (constituents) right to democracy.
The measure will now go to Bloomberg, who is not currently affiliated with any political party, for his signature.
Bloomberg and dozens of other elected officials who would have been forced out of office next year due to term limits will now be eligible to run again, changing the political landscape for a number of candidates.
Before voting on the legislation, the council rejected an amendment that would have forced a public referendum to decide the matter. That vote was 28 against and 22 in favor, with one abstention.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn told members she believes extending term limits will increase voter choice and offered that if voters are unhappy with the new law they can vote their elected officials out of office next year.
Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside), who voted against the bill, injected some humor into the discussions, invoking his barber, Jimmy, whom he likened to Joe the Plumber, the Ohio man made famous by Sen. John McCain in the last presidential debate.
Jimmy the barber asked me, what are you guys doing down there? Gioia said.
Not to be outdone, Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx) said his mother called him last week and begged him to allow her to vote for Bloomberg again.