As Liz has reported, the mayor continues to hustle New Yorkers about what his power grab actually means. Here's the tortured double speak: "This financial crisis is here, and there’s no ways to have a special election that would not be tied up in court for a long time, and there’s no way to have something on this November’s ballot."
And who exactly would challenge a special election that critics of the mayor are proposing? This just gets sleazier all the time, as Mayor Mike reaches for agonizingly transparent rationales for what is simply an over ride of the people's wishes. Bloomberg goes on to say that he wants to put the entire issue before the voters in...2010! Solicitously, he wants to avoid confusing the voters: "He said his "anticipation" is that the term limits question would be put before the public again two years from now, but now in 2009 because "people can't focus" on both the mayoral and term limits at the same time." What a guy!
And, as the NY Times reported yesterday, this "there's simply no time" to hold a special is sheer BS-since the mayor and the rest of the courtiers have been figuring out this coup for months; it's a lot easier to simply ask your faithful retainer to fetch your slippers, than have to exert energy yourself to convince the twice-voted about your infallibility. As the paper dryly commented: "That does not mean that it is ill-intentioned or ill-considered. Mr. Bloomberg has done an amazing job, and he may well have the skills to maneuver the city through these hard times. It is just not very democratic, big or small D, and not very pretty to watch. (If The Daily News were to update its headline from the 1975 fiscal crisis, it might read: “City Leaders to Voters: Drop Dead!”)."
The Gotham Gazette does a nice job at outlining many of the gory details of the mayor's shenanigans. As one political scientist comments for the GG: "Given that the voters have so clearly spoken, I find it problematic at the very least that Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council would seek to operate this way," said Bruce Berg, a political science professor at Fordham University." Never say that the council shirks from the problematic.
All in all, it's an amazing display of sheer political muscle-few leveraged buy-outs have been executed with such skill. It reminds us of the little anecdote that Tom Lehrer used to introduce one of his satiric ditties (we paraphrase): "You know my dog got run over the other day. But the driver did it with such skill, that the bystanders awarded him both ears and a tail."