Term limits help to keep an incumbent from dominating in his position. On October 23, the New York City Council voted 29 to 22 to extend term limits for Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
This decision comes after a long and often heated debate between those who favored the extension of term limits and those who opposed it. The decision to extend Bloomberg’s time in office by another term found support because of the Wall Street economic crisis. Having steady leadership could help NY in these tough, economic times. Yet, Bloomberg went about this in the wrong way.
The existing law in regard to officeholders says that elected officials are limited to two consecutive, four-year terms. Voters set a limit in a 1993 referendum and it was reaffirmed in 1996. Term limits were established to avoid tyranny and to try to stop corruption. The main reason for the opposition of the extension of term limits is because of the way Mayor Bloomberg went about it.
There were only two hearings held to discuss the issue of term limits. This was an inadequate forum for the entire city to voice their concerns. The mayor went to the New York City Council to change the term limits law without the voters’ input. He sought for approval through legislation, but he did not consider the approval of the people.
A recent poll on Reuters.com says that 89 percent of voters say that a referendum should decide the issue. Bloomberg said that he would not seek a voter referendum because he felt it would conflict with the presidential campaign and that the current economic crisis is trouble enough for the people of New York City. He is forgetting that this is a democracy, and that means that the voice of the people should be heard.
Things seem to be going in Mayor Bloomberg’s favor. He was able to convince the New York City Council to vote to extend term limits, and the odds of winning his third term in office are very good.
A recent Quinnipiac poll found a 75 percent approval rating from voters on Bloomberg’s job performance since he began his first term after Mayor Giuliani’s two terms ended. The same poll also found that 59 percent of the voters in New York City would vote for him again if he was given a chance to run for a third term.
There is a strong possibility there will a backlash against Mayor Bloomberg for the way he went about trying for a third term. If the people don’t approve of the way in which an official was elected, chances are they will have a sour taste for that official for a quite a while.