Thursday, October 30, 2008

Term Limits Twist and Shout

In this morning's NY Daily News, Errol Louis focuses in on the arm twisting that preceded last week's vote: "The wrongness of the term-limits power grab by Mayor Bloomberg and his bought-off City Council majority was made clear by the dissembling, bribery, cowardice and coercion that went on at City Hall during the farcical hearings and rushed vote to overturn what voters twice approved by referendum.

He's particularly disappointed with Jimmy Vacca: "Jimmy Vacca of the Bronx, who'd vowed to vote against a change to the law, babbled and shook like a leaf as he caved in and changed his vote, looking for all the world like Fredo Corleone, the dim-witted pawn in the "Godfather" movies." People wonder what the deal was here.

As they do with the nauseous Darlene Mealy: "Councilwoman Darlene Mealy of Brooklyn reportedly had what might be the most understandable reaction to the whole sorry spectacle: She threw up. Placed under unrelenting pressure that sources tell me included threats of legal action against her, Mealy - who had publicly promised to oppose any tampering with term limits - quietly changed her vote, then left the chamber to vomit."

While it's unlikely that the popular Vacca is threatened with removal by the voters next year, Mealy is extremely vulnerable, as is-at least according to the Crain's Insider-Tom White: "A political operative says Tom White of Queens should be added to the list of City Council members who will be vulnerable next year because they voted to extend term limits. “He’s going down,” the source says."

All of which will make for an interesting year, with everything transpiring under the glare and gloom of a growing budget deficit and predictable service cuts. In the course of next year's drama we will really discover the extent to which NYC is a paragon of voter sophistication-and a place where the will of the people is considered sacrosanct.