Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Uncertainty

City Room blog's reporting that council members Lappin and McMahon have declared their opposition to the mayor's term limits bill-bring the number of opponents to 23: "Two City Council members added their intended votes on Wednesday afternoon against a move to extend term limits and allow Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to seek re-election next year. Councilman Michael E. McMahon, who is the Democratic nominee for a Congressional seat on Staten Island, and Councilwoman Jessica S. Lappin, a first-term member from Manhattan, said they would vote no on the proposal. Mr. McMahon’s vote, in particular, surprised some observers; his brother Thomas, a prominent lobbyist, is married to Deputy Mayor Linda I. Gibbs, and the councilman has been a close ally of the mayor."

McMahon's opposition is based in large part on his race for the Congress in a district where voters strongly supported the original term limits bill. Lappin is somewhat of a surprise since many felt that she would eventually side with the mayor. She is, however, a first termer who may find herself out in the cold if the Lauder-inspired Charter ends up reaffirming term limits for the council members who would remain.

City Room also examines the Yassky-Brewer-Gerson amendment, and raises the fig leaf question that we also raised in an earlier post: "Mr. Yassky, Mr. Gerson and Ms. Brewer are among those who are undecided. But the conventional wisdom is that they will ultimately vote for the bill — even though they said Wednesday that they had not yet made up their minds. Small wonder, then, that several reporters asked the three a variation on the same question: whether their amendment was simply a fig leaf to give them political cover and say that they tried to stop the mayor’s bill, before ultimately voting for it.“Absolutely not,” Mr. Yassky said, in a sentiment that was echoed by the others."

We'll see if that holds up in the face of the speaker's optimism: "Ms. Quinn has told council members and others that she is confident that she has the 26 votes needed for passage in the 51-member Council. “I am very optimistic that the mayor’s bill will pass in the Council tomorrow,” she said Wednesday at an event on Staten Island." Our advice to the intrepid trio comes from Dan Rather; "Courage!"


Erik Engquist at Crain's is also reporting that the mayor's bill may be in for some trouble: "Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to extend term limits appears to be in serious trouble.Three undecided members of the City Council announced that they will introduce an amendment that would place a major obstacle between the mayor and a third term. Brooklyn’s David Yassky and Manhattan’s Gale Brewer and Alan Gerson said their measure would make the extension subject to a public referendum next year."

Apparently, the council members are reacting to some rather strong constituent sentiment: "Ms. Brewer considers the current limit of two four-year terms to be too short, but is sympathetic to the strong public sentiment against the Council changing the law. She says her office has received about 650 calls, e-mails and letters on the issue, about 75% of them opposing the mayor’s bill.“I think [a limit of] 12 years makes sense,” Brewer said. “On the other hand, people feel very strongly that they want to make the decision.”