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No to term-limit change

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You have to at least give Borough President Markowitz some credit for saying what’s on his mind.

Like every elected official, Markowitz doesn’t want to leave office. But while other careerist pols are using cagey asides to couch their contempt for the city’s term-limits law, Markowitz is openly, proudly, dismissive of the two voter-approved referenda that created the city’s current two-term limit for members of the Council, the borough presidents, public advocate, comptroller and mayor.

“Clearly I’m against term limits. I think the electorate made a terrible mistake,” Markowitz said on Monday at a gathering of all five borough presidents at his beloved Junior’s restaurant in Downtown Brooklyn. “I think it’s bad government.”

There is, indeed, a problem with term limits. In the name of creating a stronger, more-vibrant democracy, such limits deprive voters of one of their very reasonable options: sending a qualified, experienced public servant back for another term.

Both referenda — in 1993 and 1996 — included an unanticipated flaw: because term limits are not staggered, virtually all of the city’s elected officials — some of them actually worthy of re-election — are forced out of office all at once, leaving a potential void of leadership.

But whatever its flaws, the people have spoken: voters have shown, twice, that they want term limits — and that’s good enough for us.

We believe it is morally wrong for current officeholders to circumvent the clearly stated wishes of their constituents — especially when they would gain a direct personal benefit by doing so.

We might support Markowitz’s call for changing term limits if his power grab were not so blatant; a slight change in the current situation — like a three-term limit, perhaps — would be a reasonable option, but only under one condition: if the proposal was again put before the public instead of made in a classic backroom deal.

Indeed, there is nothing as egregious as a politician who wants to pass a law just in time for the law to apply to himself. Even in Congress, when a salary increase is approved, it doesn’t take effect until after the next election.

So until the pols are willing to take their case to the voters in a popular referendum, term limits are better off left alone.

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Reader Feedback

DS from South Slope says:
Bloomberg is an Elitist, Hypocrite, who has capitalized on the very Ponzi scheme that is imploding the financial security of every poor and working class person in the world.
To him, a financial expert is someone who can "cook the books" to get any desired result.
His record:
-Out of control over-development.
-Displacement & less housing for the poor and middle class while subsidizing more Luxury Condoms.
-Higher taxes for every small home owner and working class person.
-Lower taxes & more tax breaks for Big corporations & Developers.
-More enforcement of minor (Parking and Sanitation, etc) infractions by the majority of the people of this City.
-Ignoring major violation by Big Corporations and Developers.
-Increased tolls, Transportation costs etc.
-Slush funds by the Mayor & City council.
-Increased construction deaths.
-Billions of dollars in negligence suits (for preventable accidents) against the City. Which the mayor has chosen to fight, (at huge taxpayer expense), even though they are legitimate and should be settled, out of court.
EX: Staten Island Ferry, Construction accidents etc.
-Hundreds of millions of tax dollars spent to deny the legitimate (and already funded) claims of 9-11 first responders.
-The continued curbing of our civil liberties to - gather in public, ride our bikes, use public streets and buildings, even our rights to know what we are breathing & more.
-Increased abuse of Eminent Domain and tax dollars to enrich a select few.
EX: Atlantic Yards, Willets Point, Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, etc.
He has balanced the books of this City on the backs of every poor and working class person.
We are hemoraging money because of the very Ponzi scheme that. Bloomberg has encouraged. Now we are to believe that we NEED him to get us through a crisis that he and other financial “Book Cookers”, have created.
It's akin to letting the people who ran Fannie Mae, and Lehman Bros. tell us how to fix the financial crisis.
The Emperor should go back to his closet because he has no cloths.
Oct. 3, 2008, 12:37 am

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