Down to the wire on term limits bill
It may be anyones victory tomorrow when the City Council votes on whether to extend term limits for elected officials.
After a judge today refused a last minute request by two Brooklyn council members to stop the vote, the stage is set for what some say may be one of the closest votes taken inside City Hall.
These are shifting sands, said Councilman James Oddo (R-Staten Island), an opponent of the bill. You could have 32 votes before lunch, 26 after lunch and 22 by the end of the day.While there was much speculation that Council Speaker Christine Quinns decision to schedule a vote tomorrow is evidence that she and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have been able to line up enough supporters, some political insiders said they werent so sure.
Part of this is a poker game, said one city official who asked not to be identified. Theyre putting on a tough face . . . You put it on as if you have the votes and then you hope that you have them because of that.
Quinns office released a statement today saying the speaker is very optimistic that the mayors bill will pass.
Meanwhile, the mayor, who three weeks ago declared he wanted to change the city charter so he could run for a third four-year term, has said that he would not seek to change the law through a voter referendum if the bill is voted down.
Passage would require 26 votes.
The vote could also take another turn, as three council members who say they are undecided on Bloombergs bill announced today that they will introduce an amendment seeking to have the term-limits issue decided by voter referendum.
Voters twice approved term limits in the 1990s.
Councilman Lewis Fiddler (D-Brooklyn), who supports extending term limits, said that while he was cautiously optimistic that term limits will be extended, he interpreted Quinns action more as an attempt to put the matter to rest.
As passionately as people feel about this issue, theres a lot of business were not doing that we should be doing, Fiddler said. Lets rip the Band-aid off and do it. One way or the other, lets get this vote done.