Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Coming to Terms

It certainly appears, given the ruling today by Judge Sifton, that Mike Bloomberg (and Chris Quinn) will be on the ballot this fall. As Liz reports, it appears that the judge made his decision bedecked in full scuba gear regalia: "US District Court Judge Charles Sifton has rejected a legal challenge to the term limits extension sought and signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg, agreeing with the city's argument that opponents of the change will have the ability to demonstrate their displeasure at the voting booth.

"To permit this particular group of legislators and city officials to run for re-election and thereby offer the voters the chance to select seasoned leaders at a time when the economic position of the city must be dealt with serves a legitimate government purpose," Sifton wrote.

"Because no fundamental right was infringed, and because the term limits amendment bears a rational relationship to a legitimate government purpose, no reasonable fact finder could conclude the defendants had violated plaintiffs' substantive due process rights."

Glub, glub, glub, the judge is so far in the tank that he apes the mayor's (and the speaker's) ersatz "time of trouble" plaint as a bolster to whatever legal argument he's making. And reaction from Bill Thompson to the ruling was swift. As City Room points out: "Mr. Thompson, who intends to run for mayor this year, said in a statement: 'The court’s decision today is certainly disappointing in upholding the notion that the Mayor and a majority of the City Council acting solely in their own self-interest can overturn the will of the people. Twice, New Yorkers have voiced their opinion on term limits. However, with a stroke of the pen, Mayor Bloomberg silenced that voice in November.'"

The likelihood is, however, that Mike Bloomberg will face the voters armed with another $80 million to spend. Will this blatant power grab make a difference? We agree with Randy Mastro's take on the court's decision. As he told Daily Politics: "It’s a sad day for our local democracy that a court would say that our local elected officials could get away with such a thing. We think that is illegal. We know that it is wrong."

And we also know that, absent the $80 million, there would be a line around the block to challenge the fiscally dense mayor-it would be bigger than an American Idol audition. It now appears that the November election will be the ultimate challenge to the good sense of New York voters. We hope they're up to it.