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Yassky is still undecided on term limits!

Working Families Party member Nilsa Toledo collects signatures on petitions demanding a term-limit referendum.
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

The city is being torn to shreds in the debate over term limits, and Councilman David Yassky is nowhere to be found on the issue.

On the eve of Thursday’s and Friday’s hearings about the issue, a Yassky spokesman maintained that the Brooklyn Heights Democrat was undecided. Yassky himself, who has been running for city comptroller — though might alter that choice if he could run for a third term in the council in 2009 — did not return calls from The Brooklyn Paper.

But in a letter to a constituent obtained by The Paper, Yassky said he is wrestling with what he said were the imperfect options of the term-limit debate.

“While I believe that it is better for the city to have 12-year term limits instead of eight, the current limits were twice approved by the voters of this city through a clear and direct ballot process,” wrote Yassky.

On the other hand, the letter continued, “As Mayor Bloomberg has put the issue before the council, it is incumbent upon me to weigh the benefits of a 12-year limit against the desire to have the decision remain in the hands of the voters.”

His constituents are fed up with the hand-wringing, saying that Yassky, who has sought higher office before, is only thinking about his own political survival.

“He told me that if [current Comptroller] Bill Thompson did not run for mayor and ran for a third term as comptroller, he [Yassky] would not run for comptroller,” said an activist who requested anonymity.

Other groups poured pressure on Yassky this week to come clean about where he stands.

The Working Families Party collected 700 signatures from voters in Yassky’s district, which stretches from Greenpoint through Brooklyn Heights to Park Slope, and then delivered those signatures in a big stack to Yassky’s district office on Court Street in Downtown on Tuesday.

“David Yassky is somebody the Working Families Party is proud to agree with 90 percent of the time. That’s why were were particularly upset that he isn’t on the right side of this thing yet,” said Dan Levitan, a spokesman for the third party.

Other councilmembers are far more outspoken about their positions:

Councilmembers Bill DeBlasio (D–Park Slope) and Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) are backing a bill to bring the term-limit issue back to voters, who approved the two-term cap in 1993 and 1996.

Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), who can run for his seat again, says he opposes any change in the current limit.

Councilman Domenic Recchia (D–Bensonhurst) strongly supports the mayor’s bill.

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