The backlash against the legislative overt turning of term limits is beginning. As the City Room Blog reports, there are scores of potential candidates who are gearing up to run-and they're not happy about losing their opportunities: “I have a team of folks who have been working with me to plan our campaign,” said JoAnne Simon, a lawyer and Democratic district leader in Brooklyn who is running for the seat being vacated by Councilman David Yassky. She added: “I’ve been raising money and I’ve stepped up my activities in certain respects. It would be nice to have a better sense of what the rules of the road and that the rules aren’t going to change precipitously. It’s a little disappointing to think that all this work might be for naught.”
What this means is that there is a cohort of politically savvy folks who can easily convert into the leaders of a grass roots effort to thwart the legislative initiative. As the City Room points out: "Hector Ramirez, a Democratic district leader and candidate for the City Council seat being vacated by Maria Baez in the Bronx, offered a similar point of view. “I would be very unhappy,” he said, when asked who he might react if Councilwoman Baez were allowed to run for a third term. “I’ve started to raise money. I’ve started to work on my political future. I’m preparing to dedicate my life to this Council race. I don’t think changing the law is a good idea at all. Oh, no.”
In spite of all this, however, the mayor continues to coyly roil the waters. As the NY Daily News points out today, Bloomberg, who voted on both of the city wide referendums, now claims that he can't recall how he voted. Right: "I don't remember at all," he said when asked how he'd voted on the issue. "I just don't remember in either case." Without those two citywide referendums, Bloomberg may never have become mayor because he would likely have had to unseat incumbent Rudy Giuliani. City election records show Bloomberg - a Democrat at the time - did cast a ballot in both 1993 and 1996 but those records, as for all voters, don't reveal which lever he pulled."
And in the NY Sun he tells us that the lemgth of the limited terms should be a matter for debate: "I think you can debate how many years it should be," Mr. Bloomberg said at a press conference in Manhattan. He repeated the opinion a second time at the event, saying that while he believed term limits are democratic, "whether they should have been put in at two terms or three terms, that's something you could debate."
But we'll give the last word on this to Eric Gioia, the Public Advocate candidate. As Gioia told the Times: "When asked whether the Council should take up the issue of whether to expand the term limits of city officials, Mr. Gioia said, “I think we have to be very cautious allowing people to decide the terms of their employment unilaterally.” Indeed.