Monday, February 15, 2010

Quid Pro Lauder?

According to the GothamGazette-citing the Staten Island Advance-Ron Lauder may be named chairman of the mayor's Charter Revision Commission: "Add another name to the list of those rumored to lead the mayor’s promised charter revision commission — and this one promises to be the most controversial yet. Judy Randall of the Staten Island Advance reports that the mayor will appoint his fellow billionaire, businessman Ron Lauder to the post. The source, who Randall did not name but described as someone who “has the administration’s ear,” explained why: “He was the architect for limiting terms but raised no objection when the mayor wanted to do away with them.”

Indeed, Lauder was Mr. Term Limits, but mysteriously got laryngitis apparently just when his term limits advocacy might have done some good: "To refresh your memory, Lauder, the person most responsible for the city having term limits, originally seemed on track to oppose Bloomberg’s bid to extend them and seek a third term. But as Adam Lisberg reported back then, “After meeting with Bloomberg in Gracie Mansion last week, [Lauder] caved. He cut a deal and agreed not to bankroll a campaign against it in exchange for a seat on a Charter commission that will turn the matter over to the voters in 2010.”

Which means to us that Mr. Lauder was improperly induced by the offering of something of value. As we remarked last month--shamelessly borrowing from the reporting of Tom Robbins: "Then there's the tawdry deal with Ron Lauder, a naif who was duped into removing his objections to the power grab with an illegal offer of a job: "But after what Purnick says was heavy lobbying by the pro-Bloomberg business crowd, Lauder bowed to a one-time change in the law in exchange for a small concession: that the mayor agree to name him to a new Charter Review commission panel in 2010—one that would recommend reinstituting term limits."

Which is, of course, an illegal quid pro quo-the offering of something substantial in exchange for political support for Bloomberg's ability to continue in office. And there was even a "Ron Lauder" clause inserted into the bill. As the NY Daily News reported: "Call it a cosmetic change. A last-minute clause has been inserted into a controversial bill to extend term limits to quiet the concerns of billionaire Ronald Lauder. The mayor's proposed law, introduced Tuesday, was amended to say that if the majority of voters in a 2010 referendum prefer it, the law will automatically revert to two terms, according to a revised bill obtained by the Daily News."

The entire charter revision effort is, in fact a charade; and demonstrates the contempt that Mike Bloomberg has for the voters-as well as his hubris. Ron Lauder, who swallowed his whistle when he had a chance to really make a difference on this issue, should not be allowed anywhere near a charter commission that will no doubt take up the term limits issue. That Bloomberg wants to possibly appoint him to head the commission, is proof positive that the man has no respect for the voters of this city.