Thursday, August 26, 2010

Morticia the Terminator

Of all the people you'd least expect to weigh in on the Charter Revision Commission's proposal for term limits, Mort Zuckerman and the NY Daily News would be right there on top-after all, Morticia lead the charge to alter the law so that his good bud Bloomberg could usurp an additional term. Just goes to show you that effrontery is an essential character trait of the super rich.

Here's what the News opines this morning: "The Charter Revision Commission that voted to deny New Yorkers a full say over term limits must come back into session and carry out its sworn duties without any more weaseling. Mayor Bloomberg empaneled the commission in fulfillment of a pledge to those voters - huge in number - who were furious that he and the City Council changed the rules in 2009 to go from a max of two terms for elected officials to three."

Now, having midwifed the mayor's illegitimate extra session, the News can revert back to its scolding hypocritical morality: "New Yorkers deserved the chance to settle a simple question: Should the mayor, Council members and other officials go back to two terms, or may they stay at three? There's scant doubt as to how the vote would go. By overwhelming margins, New Yorkers have twice previously voted for the two-term option. They'd surely do so again if given the opportunity."

But given the paper's shameful shilling of the term limit overturn, why should anyone listen to the News now? And the same goes for Mike Bloomberg, a man who, once he got his, seems unconcerned about what will happen, Apres Le Deluge. It has nothing to do with him anymore so, the same fellow who rigged the vote of supposedly independent council members, couldn't manage to properly direct his own appointees?

And, of course, Morticia can't manage even a simulcrum of opprobrium for his friend the mayor in the entire editorial-excoriating some of the no name commissioners in a classic exercise in misdirection: "But the panel, chaired by CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, chose instead to give the public the back of its hand. It voted to put on the November ballot a proposition that would set two terms for everyone - except, incredibly, for incumbent officeholders. They alone would be permitted to run three times; never mind that some of these same Council members supported the 2009 overthrow of the voters' will. How this misbegotten result came about is a study in the misapplication of power."

Ah, the moment is missed for Mort, someone who's always been more comfortable beating up the women and children than the real bad guys. After all, blaming the puppets and not the puppet master makes no sense at all: "Some, like the Rev. Joseph McShane, Fordham University's president, understood what they were assigned to do: Give voters a two-term option. But others, like Staten Island County Clerk Stephen Fiala, denied voters the choice they deserve based on his own opposition to term limits. He called them "antithetical to our way of life." Still others brought extraneous considerations to bear: Commission Vice Chairman John Banks, a vice president at Con Ed, asserted that requiring incumbents to abide by a two-term maximum would somehow discriminate against minorities. That, too, should have been an issue for voters."

And so it goes, laying the wood to the lame and the halt-and taking zero responsibility for the paper's own dereliction of its public interest guardian role. All of this has a distinctly horses having left the barn feeling. But, that being said, the News is right on the two term limit that the public voted on twice-and since it was twice, perhaps the paper is right like the proverbial stopped clock.