Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Will It Suit Them?

A wide range of plaintiffs have signed on to the Randy Mastro-orchestrated federal law suit against the term limits extension. As City Room reports: "Elected officials, aspiring politicians, public interest groups and average citizens who voted to establish term limits in New York in the 1990s filed a federal lawsuit [pdf] Monday morning challenging the constitutionality of a law signed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg last week that extended the limits from a maximum of two terms in office to three."

This finally lays down the legal gauntlet, and if the opposition gets traction with this, all political hell will certainly break loose. Ironically, as the NY Post points out, one of the lead plaintiffs, former Staten Island BP Guy Molinari, has been a good friend of the mayor; but he parts ways with him here on principal: "This is a mockery of the word democracy," Molinari fumed. "When I think back to the days when I was fighting with the Marines in Korea . . . people would say, 'We're here to defend our democracy.' "

And the suit itself hits hard at the self serving nature of the actions by the mayor and the council. As the Times relates: “Allowing a self-interested mayor and City Council to dismiss the results of two recent referenda undermines the integrity of the voting process, effectively nullifies the constitutionally-protected right to vote, and perniciously chills political speech by sending the unavoidable message that the democratic exercises of initiatives and referenda can be disregarded by public officials,” the complaint states."

The idea that this gives the folks more choice is subjected to justified ridicule: "The lawsuit points out that in the past decade, only 2 of 107 incumbent council members lost a re-election bid. It also highlights Mayor Bloomberg’s many statements in favor of term limits over the past few years, as when he deemed some council members’ calls for a change to term limits “disgraceful” and criticized a proposal to resubmit the issue to a third referendum by saying, “I think the public has spoken twice and they’ve spoken quite clearly. I don’t know that you should keep shopping for a different answer.”

And the presence of Bill Thompson's name on the lawsuit may belie the conventional wisdom that the comptroller really has no stomach for taking on the mayor. As Liz B points out: "Thompson issued the following statement on the lawsuit: “Today's court action is necessary to correct an injustice. We are stepping forward on behalf of those New Yorkers who were denied a voice when self-interest prevailed over the public good. Today’s action aims to restore democracy to this process.”

The final word here goes to one of the blog's commenters: "Mayor Bloomberg keeps getting sillier on a daily basis. If he keeps being so open about being an opportunistic spoiled brat, that believes with his billions he can buy what ever he wants, then I’m not sure if a 100 million bucks will be enough to buy him an illegal third third next year."