Term Limits Unlimited

Monday, October 06, 2008

As the city council takes up the question of extending term limits, Joyce Purnick, long-time New York Times political writer, looks at their options.


Joyce Purnick

Comments [42]

Joe from clifton, nj

Please, Richard Fuld and the rest should be forfeitting all their stolen compensation!
They make the rules that free them from the responsibility of their actions, and pay themselves whatever they wish, regardless of their performance.

Any small business person knows that unlike the "Titans of Industry", they / we have to suffer the consequences of our business decisions, and cant pay ourselves until there is money made...real money.

And collaborators like millionaire anti-regulatory crusader senator Phil Gramm should be tared and feathered and marched thorough the town centers.

Oct. 07 2008 11:20 AM
Rich from Staten Island

I presume the Mayor will be donating some more of his funds to the campaigns of NYC Council members who make the "tough" decisions. Will term limits be one of those decisions? Enough of this Mayor funding elections.

Oct. 06 2008 12:36 PM
Alex from brooklyn

"With the exception of people who disagree on particular issues," people think that Bloomberg is doing a good job said you guest, Ms. Purnick. She also said that his popularity is around 70%.

What does this mean?

Well, first, it means that those do not look closely on particular issues like Bloomberg. Second, it means that some people who do look closely at particular issues do not think he's done a good job there and that their disagreement there is enough to make them want Bloomberg out. If you think that at least half the population does not look closely at particular issues -- as I do -- then it means Bloomberg is rather UNpopular among those who do.

More importantly, however, it means that Ms. Purnici thinks that Bloomberg is the issue, whereas the issue is term limits.

* I would ask anyone who is in favor of extending or removing term limits, "If you didn't like Bloomberg, would you still feel this way? If Hillary was mayor, or Guiliani?"

* I would ask anyone who was in favor of extending term limits, "Why is three right, whereas two is not enough? In that case, why have them at all?"

* And I would ask anyone who spoke in favor of keeping them, "If you loved Bloomberg -- if he handled your issues just right -- would you still feel the same?"

Oct. 06 2008 10:51 AM
Marge from Manhattan

I know there are some things to dislike about Bloomberg, but he was the first mayor open to some new ideas, and I think he is more aware of the economics of our city than any new guy would have. He has tried to do things for the schools, he would be more able to help solve them. It's taken 40 years to do any change in the schools. The next four years in New York needs someone who knows what's going on, that would take a different mayor that long to get up to speed.

As for ending term limits, I was in favor of that, and I would hate to see the entrenched incumbents run the City Counsel as they have before. So what to do?

Oct. 06 2008 10:44 AM
AWM from UWS


It isn't only about continuity. It's about who is best prepared to deal with the city's financial hardship during the worst financial crisis in decades.

I'm not worried about fascism or the trampling of democracy or any of that self indulgent, soap-box exaggeration. I'll leave that to the crowd that likes to sit in their bathtub with a tin foil hat on.

This is about the economic crisis, pure and simple.

Oct. 06 2008 10:43 AM
Jay F. from manhattan

A three year term limit does not necessarily mean he will be voted in. If the majority vote him in then he would get a third term. If they vote him out, someone else will be Mayor. Simple.

Oct. 06 2008 10:43 AM
hjs from 11211

i find it odd so many people think there is only one man for the job

Oct. 06 2008 10:43 AM

This term limits issue begs the question "After Bloomberg what?. 2 terms, 3 terms, 4 . . . Rather than seeking another term, he should be developing the political organization and individuals who'll keep to his political discipline. He can perhaps get the term limit laws repealed but even Bloomberg can't repeal the laws of nature.

Oct. 06 2008 10:41 AM
Vincent from Manhattan

Don't run the city by polls, do we?
Hypocritical that BL was so against Giulinni's attempt.

Lot of people died in that emergency....

Oct. 06 2008 10:39 AM
Robin from Harlem

If Bloomberg undoes term limits and the public doesn't like it, let's vote him out of office. I think he would be a steady helmsman in difficult times, so let him stay, or try to stay. Besides, this approach demonstrates the malleability of laws. Don't like 'em? Change 'em!

Giuliani, however, suggested that he should do the same thing, albeit with a heavier hand, and it felt almost dictatorial (not surprising, given the spirit of his administration). Bloomberg's softer tone makes it a little easier to accept, but the intention is the same.

The larger question: is it healthy for NYC? Hard to answer without being able to predict the future.

Oct. 06 2008 10:39 AM
Eric Russell from Basking Ridge, NJ

I am a member of United University Professions [UUP]. About 10 years ago, the power caucus of the union, asked the Delegate Assembly of our union to extend the potential term limit from two to three terms--then from three to four terms--and finally to remove term limits entirely.

The current proposal has the possibility of going exactly the same way with exactly the same rationale. There is always a crisis and the current mayor is usually a good leader.

I have yet to see an important leader groom a successor. They all seem to believe that they are immortal in office.

Oct. 06 2008 10:39 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

Is this like some kind of mini-lesson in how facism starts?

The idea that Bloomberg is the only person who can be mayor at this time is absurd.

Oct. 06 2008 10:38 AM
christine from brooklyn

The issue shouldn't be term limits but a cap on campaign spending, so incumbents wouldn't be so insulated.

Oct. 06 2008 10:37 AM
eastvillage from nyc

Don't you who support the elimination of term limits understand that scrapping the democratic process because of the economy, because you believe only Bloomberg can "save us", are the kind of steps that undermine democracy? It is dangerous to sacrifice the democratic process at the alter of economic anxiety and the myth of the heroic man.

Oct. 06 2008 10:37 AM
Alex from bk

and he looks like the grinch

Oct. 06 2008 10:37 AM
harshad from new york

This conversation is absurd. The congress has a 90%+ rate of incumbency, aren't they a stellar bunch? There is a reason for term limits and that is the reason we shouldn't change a constitution because one Mayor is a nice guy.

Oct. 06 2008 10:37 AM
Alex from bk

Yes! more bureaucracy and for another 4 years. Keep building those condos and destroying education until there's no more thing as a real native new yorker.

Oct. 06 2008 10:37 AM
Lorenzo from NY/NJ

Are we kidding? This is the stuff always going on in dodgy countries..what arguments will the next group have when a total jerk will be seeking a lifetime appointment?

Oct. 06 2008 10:36 AM
hjs from 11211

no term limits; look at albany; works up there...

Oct. 06 2008 10:36 AM
Paula Heisen from Manhattan

You don't change the rules in the middle of the game. It's really dangerous to think that only ONE person is the one able to lead a city or country.

Oct. 06 2008 10:35 AM
Roberta Honig from Brooklyn

Let Bloomberg stay. Who will take his place if Bloomberg must go?

Oct. 06 2008 10:35 AM
Mark from Brooklyn

Lazy voters need term limits. If you don't support a candidate, vote him or her out of office. It's not that hard.

Oct. 06 2008 10:34 AM
Sean Pisano from Brooklyn

Why don't we just make him king and be done with it. Since he has the money to be King.

Oct. 06 2008 10:34 AM
KC from NYC

Good point, AWM. I'm worried about the future, so anyone who's in power should be able to stay in power indefinitely.

I don't much care for democracy either, especially when I've been effectively frightened.

Oct. 06 2008 10:33 AM
Caron Atlas from Brooklyn

What's to keep this from being a precedent for other actions by the mayor and city council - in the name of the fiscal crisis - that slowly chip away from our participatory democracy?

Oct. 06 2008 10:33 AM
hjs from 11211

prince Michael mayor for life, why waste money on elections.

Oct. 06 2008 10:33 AM
hjs from 11211

guest assumes voters did not support term limits??

Oct. 06 2008 10:31 AM
L.McLean( from Brooklyn

This is absolutely ridiculous!! How can the fox watch the henhouse? To refer this to the City Council is crazy since they are voting on their own term limits. What do you expect them to do? Also, I agree, how arrogant is Bloomberg. What makes him think we cannot do without him? No one is indispensible.
This is a very dangerous, slippery slope. I am strongly against extending term limits and I hope that if it passes that the ACLU and others take it to court!

Oct. 06 2008 10:31 AM
Karen from Manhattan

Extend. None of the candidates who have announced thus far can handle an economic crisis. What is everyone worried about, anyway? If we New Yorkers become unhappy with a mayor, we are perfectly capable of voting him out of office. Except regarding the Presidency, where the huge power wielded tips the scale in favor of checks on the democratic process, term limits are unnecessary checks on voter discretion.

Anyway, we need Mike around to clean up the mess that the Bush administration and it's Wall Street friends have inflicted on NYC.

Oct. 06 2008 10:30 AM
AWM from UWS

The city is in the midst of tremendous economic adversity and it's going to get worse.

Please, everyone who is complaining about the "billionare mayor" stop complaining and offer up another option. Please let us know who will be better at handling what is ahead.

By the way, it is necessary to have a true grasp of what the next mayor will have to guide the city through in order to have a truly informed opinion on the matter.

Do you even have a clue about what's coming?

Oct. 06 2008 10:30 AM
ACQ from Mnhattan

Bloomberg's move is designed to place him in the best position to run for President in 2012. The forum provided as Mayor is a visible, powerful one. Gulliani is an example of how you lose your viability once you leave that office.

Oct. 06 2008 10:29 AM
Erica from Brooklyn

Yes on the extension. I'd rather the mayor be someone who loves the job enough not to want to leave it as opposed to someone using the title to further their political careers.

Oct. 06 2008 10:28 AM

Conflict of interest? Blatant self-serving corruption? Did anyone see how this will give city pensions to them and all their staffs, including life-long medical coverage? Who else in this city gets these perks? ABSOLUTELY NO EXTENSION OF TERM LIMITS!!!

Oct. 06 2008 10:28 AM
eastvillage from nyc

The city council will be operating undemocratic and setting a dangerous precedent if they amend the term limits. The public should vote on it. It's horrible what they are considering. It reeks of fascism.

Oct. 06 2008 10:27 AM
John Freund from NJ

Have we learned nothing about deregulation?

Oct. 06 2008 10:27 AM
KC from NYC

Love him or hate him, it's hard to imagine anyone the term limit laws were more intended to curb: a billionaire who could buy himself elections from now until the end of time.

Oct. 06 2008 10:26 AM
Fuva from Harlem, NY

The process here is particularly reprehensible. Change policy mandated by the people, by referendum, via a self-serving Council vote? Give me a break.

Oct. 06 2008 10:26 AM
Peter from Flatbush, Brooklyn

I Support Bloomberg, generally.
I do not support term limits, generally.
I will not support Bloomberg on this.
Wasn't term limits implemented directly by the voters? Why cut us out on the elemination?

Oct. 06 2008 10:26 AM
a woman from manhattan

Yes, extend. I couldn't stand another election. Continuity would be good during these times.

Oct. 06 2008 10:25 AM

Brian, its amazing how arrogant Mayor Bloomberg is, to think this city cannot survive without him, when then Mayor Gulliani wanted to extend his term during 911, Mayor Bloomberg stated he was the best candidate to help rebuild the world trade center site, yet we still have a hole in the ground. Now he states he is the best choice during this economic crisis and he is willing to hijack city hall without any voters choice in the matter. So when his term comes up for re-election he can then again by all the support of all the African American Reverends in harlem, he can bring out all of the Magic Johnsons, Woopi Goldbergs, Eman and Candice Bergens to fool all the idiot voters into thinking he is on there side because these ego maniac celebrities are on his side.

Oct. 06 2008 10:13 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Which mayor we are talking about should be irrelevant. If we were able to scrape by in 2001 after 9/11 without hanging onto Rudy, then we can scrape by now without hanging onto Mike. No one is indispensable.

Oct. 06 2008 10:13 AM
michaelw from INWOOD

No third term for a mayor who green lighted 2 sports stadiums in one year.

This brillian business man contributed to NYC financial crisis.

Oct. 06 2008 10:05 AM

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