Sky's The Limit? Not For NYC Politicians

Voters Will Decide In November If a Two Term Limit Returns

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Mayor Michael Bloomberg

    New York City voters still annoyed that Mayor Bloomberg maneuvered around an existing law to win a third term will have a chance to vent their frustration this fall.

    Nearly two years after the Mayor persuaded the City Council to change the law, that two-term limit will once again be up to the voters on November 2.

    The term limit measure would also come with a clearly written clause preventing future Mayors and Council members from changing the law while they're in office.

    But critics say there's a loophole: the referendum wouldn't take effect until after the 2013 elections. Which means the soonest a Mayor or council member could be term limited out-- would be 2021.

    "This would again frustrate the will of the voters," said Manhattan resident Allen Bortnick, one of dozens who attended Monday night's Charter Commission Hearing, the final one before the vote.

    Matt Gorton, a spokesman for the Commission, an all-volunteer team appointed by the Mayor to study a possible new law, said "the actual ballot language would ask voters if they want to reduce from three to two terms for those elected on or after 2013."

    One net effect of the 2008 decision to reverse term limits was: a bunch of people who would have run for mayor decided to wait, rather than run against the deep pockets of a popular incumbent in Mayor Bloomberg.

    Bill de Blasio, now the city's Public Advocate and a likely Mayoral candidate in 2013, told the Commission on Monday, "It's been my hope from the beginning that through your work here, you could help to undo some of the damage to the public trust that was wrought by the 2008 decision to extend term limits." 

    Two years ago, Bloomberg argued  that dire economic times compelled him to seek a one-time change in the law, even though he supported term limits in principle.