Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Teach-In on Term Limits

According to Liz B, the UFT may be about to enter the term limits debate-and that may impact some of the council members who remain undecided: "The executive board of the powerful teachers union, which had not joined the Working Families Party fight against the term limits extension bill, met tonight and unanimously passed a resolution calling for any changes to limits to be done through a public referendum."

As the post goes on to point out, this imminent union move spells a break between the powerful labor organization and Speaker Quinn: "It also comes in the wake of Council Speaker Christine Quinn's decision to support Bloomberg's bid to change term limits via legislation and signals a break between Quinn and the teachers union, which supported her for speaker." Other members on the fence are watching what the UFT does.

The UFT, of course, is getting ready to do battle with the mayor on school governance: "This is somewhat of a departure for the union, which opposed term limits during both of the 1990s referendums. And it comes at a time when the UFT is gearing up for a battle with the Bloomberg administration over the renegotiation of mayoral control of the public schools." Get ready for a brutal battle-one that will coincide with the anticipated legal wrangling after the expected council approval of the mayor's extension bill.

The union's stand could also unleash more anti-extension forces from their reticence-and it may also lead to a full blown campaign to go after incumbent council members who vote in favor of self perpetuation-as Crain's Insider (subscription) begins to evaluate: "Opponents of a term limits extension are opening new fronts. Activists aim to sway City Council members by threatening to challenge them in 2009. “There’s a growing group of candidates who are going to run against incumbents if they vote with the mayor on term limits,” one opponent says. In Queens, Lynn Nunes would challenge Councilman Tom White and Daniel Dromm would take on Councilwoman Helen Sears. Joanne Simon could give David Yassky a primary in Brooklyn."

All of which makes for an unprecedented city election cycle, one that we haven't seen the likes of in over fifty years. There will be any number of unintended consequences from all of this-and we can't wait to see just how all of this eventually will play out.