Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Mastroful Performance on Term Limits

In last week's NY Sun, former Deputy Mayor Randy Mastro laid out an impressive rationale for why the mayor is playing with fire on the alteration of term limits: "As mayor, Mr. Bloomberg could have stayed true to his word and appointed a mayoral charter commission to put a term limits proposition on the November ballot for voter approval. Instead, according to published reports, he did what a typical politician would do: He had a poll conducted that determined that, as popular a mayor as he is, New Yorkers overwhelmingly still favor term limits. Going the referendum route the mayor would hit a dead end."

So, continuing in this vein, Bloomberg starts to rope-a-dope the issue; with the story in last Friday's Times that his aides are not in sync with any third term antics. How many folks believe that this story is genuine? The key line in the piece was when Sheekey, et al, said that they'd, of course, follow the mayor's wishes-whatever they turned out to be. So in our view, this is all a phony exercise in insulating Bloomberg from ant direct accountability-as he plays with the idea and inveigles the gullible minions over at the other side of city hall.

As far as that's concerned, we haven't seen so much self serving going on since Horn & Hardart was in its heyday in NYC; and that definitely includes the mayor. Mastro hits it here: "Ultimately, that's the problem for Mr. Bloomberg. He won over New Yorkers as the anti-politician — the incorruptible private businessman who was above politics and would always put the public's interests first. Yet his latest machinations seem like politics as usual motivated by personal self-interest. He risks irreparably tainting his brand by so blatantly reversing himself and ignoring the will of the people on term limits."

So what's a mayor to do? Well, stir the pot and get others to do his bidding; and let the issue percolate without his direct finger prints on it. Isn't it time, then, to bell the cat? This is all a sophisticated effort by Bloomberg to end run his definitive statements on term limits-and he's already waffling like an old pol.

Once again, Mastro's right on point with his observation that New York can do very well-thank you-with a new cast of characters. There's no need to cry havoc: "Today, there is no such crisis in our city — only a popular mayor at a crossroad. That Mr. Bloomberg should even be at this crossroad is proof that term limits have served their purpose, giving new faces a chance to serve and reinvigorating our city government with fresh perspectives, for he almost certainly never would have run for that office had term limits not created the opportunity."