June 1, 2009

Brief History of New York City Term Limits


In 1993 and 1996, New York City residents, fed up with the power of incumbency in their politics, voted to restrict local elected officials to two terms in office
Since becoming Mayor in 2001, Michael Bloomberg has opposed or vetoed any measure that would alter term limits.

In June 2007, Bloomberg left the Republican Party, and tested the waters for a presidential run (a lifelong Democrat, he switched to the Republican Party to run for Mayor). In November of the same year, he weighed his options for a run for Governor.

By the early fall of 2008, Bloomberg decided he wanted to run for a third term, and had all the pieces in place to have the City Council extend the NYC term limits law. He had backing from the publishers of the three major newspapers. Christine Quinn, the President of the New York City Council, who just months earlier had said that she would “oppose aggressively any attempt by anyone to make any changes in the term limits law." Billionaire Ronald Lauder, the sponsor of 1993 and 1996 term limits referendums, who was promised a spot on a new term-limits commission in 2010. Even Governor David Patterson, who wasn’t particularly looking forward to facing Bloomberg in the 2010 gubernatorial election, chimed in with his support. All of this was done behind closed doors.

In October 2008, citing the current economic crisis, and with comparisons to 9/11, Bloomberg had a bill sent to the City Council seeking to change the term-limits law from two to three terms for the next election. He rejected holding another referendum before the election as too distracting in this time of crisis, and too costly and confusing to the voters.

He had no problem garnering the support he needed in the City Council since two thirds of the members were due to be term-limited out in the next election. On October, 23, 2008, term limits in NYC were extended by a vote of 29-22.

Mayor Bloomberg plans to spend as much as $100M to get re-elected.


No Limits for Mike NY Post 060508

Term Limits Stay 8 Years As Extension Is Rejected NY Times 110696

New Yorkers Approve Limit of 2 Terms for City Officials NY Times 110393
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