Thursday, February 09, 2006

The More Things Change...

...The More They Stay the Same

Speaker Quinn offered us little hope yesterday, spewing the same old term limits garbage. In an interview with the Daily News Editorial Board, here's Queens Q in her own words...

Where do you stand on term limits?

I am opposed to term limits and I am open to the idea of taking the time from eight to 12 years. I am open to doing that legislatively and I am open to do that through a referendum. Doing it is not something that is on our legislative agenda anytime soon.

Would you be speaker without term limits?

Probably not.

The voters have twice set eight-year term limits. Why is 12 better?

Twelve years give folks more time to have an institutional memory, become experts in an issue. Part of the negative results of term limits is that you end up with staff and lobbyists carrying the institutional memory in a way that isn't healthy. One of the unintended consequences is the expanding presence and role of lobbyists in City Hall.

How is it possible after, say, five years, that a Council member isn't up to speed?

The idea that you would know everything there is to know in your first term or five years doesn't really appreciate how diverse this job is if you want to do it well. A big chunk of your first term is spent focused on the district and the district's needs, which is a good thing. But at some point you want to be able to take that district experience and turn it into legislative accomplishment.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

We're Back!

No Likey What We See

We took a bit of a break over the past week. Speaker Quinn was settling in ... and at least started giving the appearance that she was backing away from the term limits battle.

But we knew it was too good to be true.

In yesterday's Daily News, Edward Wallace (Chief of Staff to one time Councilwoman Carol Bellamy) squared off against Ron Lauder on the issue of term limits. Obviously, Wallace was pro, Lauder con.

Seems innocuous enough, right?

Think again! Turns out Wallace was a contributor to Speaker Quinn. Somebody is doing somebody else's bidding. NICE!


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Shout Out to the Newbies

Lappin, White & Vacca

We commend newly installed Council Members Jessica Lappin, Thomas White and James Vacca for going on the record as siding with the voters on the term limits issue - meaning, they have absolutely no plans to undo their own term limits legislatively.

We also commend newly installed Council Member Rosie Mendez for being honest about her position, that she will have no hesitation overturning the will of the voters legislatively. Obviously, we do not share her point of view.

That all happened on tonight's airing of NY1's Inside City Hall.

And Council Member White ... he delivered the most poignant line of the evening:

You can't represent the people, and also say that I'm going to go against the people.

Term Limits Chart Updated: The neys still have it, 18-12, as of 1:30PM, January 12, 2006.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Quinn - Not Gonna Do It

At Least Not for Right Now

Looks like Speaker Quinn is hitting the brakes big time on the term limits ride.

On her debut interview as Speaker tonight on NY1's Inside City Hall, Speaker Quinn backed away from the term limits battle telling host Dominic Carter, "It [term limits] is not on our immediate legislative agenda," and then she went in to a whole hullabaloo about talking internally, externally, with New Yorkers, etc.

Something tells us that at some point in the not so distant future, Quinn's feet will come off the brakes and the pedal ... it's gonna hit the metal. So hang on!


Monday, January 09, 2006

Step Away from the Term Limits

3 Out of 4 Consultants Agree

Democratic consultant Jen Bluestein signaled her agreement with rival Republican consultants Mike McCuen and Susan del Percio (on tonight's Consultants' Corner segment on NY1's Inside City Hall) that Speaker Christine Quinn should go nowhere near the pending term limits battle.

del Percio had this to say:

I think she [Speaker Quinn] should really tell New Yorkers that she respects them by not moving forward with this proposal on term limits. She should tell them ... you know what voters, I have faith in you.

And McCuen had this harsh warning:

If she takes on term limits she's going to suffer a crushing defeat ... fighting that fight is a loser.


Do Our Eyes Deceive Us?

Quinn Backing Down

Could it be? Is it possible that la Speaker Quinn is already starting to peddle her way backwards on promises made to her colleagues to alter term limits legislatively?

This weekend, the Daily News published Frank Lombardi's interview with the new Speaker. And in response to the question of whether she could have achieved the Speakership without term limits, Quinn concluded this way...

We need to grapple with the issue of term limits and figure out whether and where it fits in our legislative agenda.

Now that's what we're talking about ... we likey ... we likey very much!


Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Vox

The People Be Damned

In today's Daily News, Mary Ann Carey, a Howard Beach resident lets loose on Council Speaker Christine Quinn and her colleagues for wanting to tinker with term limits.

Here's a snippet:

This is a breach of everything we hold sacred in our democratic society. No matter what your political persuasion, this attempt to circumvent the voters reeks of impropriety.


Friday, January 06, 2006

You Are Not the Boss of Me!

Council Chutzpah

So ... you put us in office? Big fuckin' deal!

I now run the East Wing of City Hall. That's a big deal, my friend!

It means you answer to me, and that what I say goes. Oh yeah, and what he says, it goes as well ... no ifs, ands or buts.

I don't give a dammmmmn if you voted for term limits, sucka!

Oh! You did it twice? Well doesn't that just make you twice the fool..?..?...

Anyway, we already have term limits ... they're called elections! Ever heard of 'em?

Don't give me the story that you couldn't make it to the polls that Tuesday because you had to drop-off your kids at school and run to work - you lazy bum you!

Uh huh! You work two jobs to make ends meet? Doin' what ... exactly?

And what was that? The poll workers at your polling site gave you the run-a-round? They told you that the polling site you've been going to for 15 years suddenly moved 2 avenues and 3 blocks over?

And when the machine broke down, they didn't let you fill out an affidavit ballot?

Not possible!! Those are my bestest trained peeps!

And who gives a crack if the candidate you petitioned for was no longer on the ballot? I'm sure the folks at the Board of Elections have a good explanation for the disappearance.

And what about your grandmother? She couldn't squeeze her wheelchair into the polling site?

What is wrong with you my cranky, lazy voter?

Because there is no doubt in my mind that we here at the Council have done our job and done it well ... and should be allowed to stay here forever and ever and ever.


(a satire of what it often feels like to be a NYC voter)


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Denny Farrell

Drops the Freakin' Ball!

On NY1's Inside City Hall tonight, State Party Chairman Herman Denny Farrell joined Speaker Quinn in the "you're not the boss of me" club! Voters be dammmmmned!

When asked point blank by Dominic Carter whether he felt that the Council should change term limits legislatively, Farrell balked and fell back on the ol' party line ... that we have natural term limits called elections.

That may or may not be a valid argument - and certainly one worth debating - but Mr. Farrell, what gives you or any other elected official the right to undo the will of the voters?


Speaker Quinn's Move

Check or Check Mate?

A battle royal on the term limits front is up next ... without a doubt.

How will the newly minted Speaker Quinn handle this first major hurdle? Will she push ahead to change term limits legislatively, in spite of two voter referendums, or will the Mayor throw her a bone, and give her and back another referendum?

Honestly, we haven't a clue, but are anxious to find out.

In the mean time, we thought we'd refer you to a recently published poll in the New York Sun by New Yorkers for Term Limits (Lauder's group) in which 77% of New Yorkers polled were in favor of placing eight year term limits on the State Legislature and the Governor. No big surprise ... since Albany was recently voted the worst State government in the entire US.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Step Away from the Term Limits!

Such were the warnings given to newly minted Council Speaker Christine Quinn by the edit heads at the Daily News and NY Post, as well as by Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin.

Here's a snippet from Goodwin's piece:

By going the legislative route, instead of putting the measure before voters, Quinn will prove herself an inferior public servant to her two predecessors. Both Peter Vallone and .Gifford Miller opposed term limits, but felt obligated to listen to the public, and so rejected self-dealing legislation. Quinn thus begins by sticking her finger in the public's eye. Nice.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels?

Haberman Asks

Clyde Haberman, New York Times columnist, goes straight for the Council's jugular today. Playing off of John Lithgow's references during Mayor Bloomberg's inauguration on Sunday, Haberman says this of the Council's pending term limits antics:

With "scoundrels" hanging in the air, the mind turned to questions about whom the public might deem possible candidates for that label.

How about some members of the City Council? Quite a few have talked about voting themselves an extra term beyond the two terms to which the City Charter now limits them. Never mind that New Yorkers voted not once but twice to impose a limit of two terms. Some in the Council now believe that they have a right to change the voter-determined rules by legislative fiat. Hmm. Could there be a handy word for such people? Many in New York might wonder.


Monday, January 02, 2006

As the News Turns...

Speaker Christine Quinn

Ok. Now that the next Speaker appears to be a fait accompli, it's time to get down to the people's business.

Here's a look back at where the soon-to-be-minted Speaker, Christine Quinn, stands on the issue of term limits:

In an interview with WNYC's Bob Hennelly

In her Citizens Union candidate questionnaire

As far as we can tell, Speaker Quinn will go full force into changing term limits legislatively.

Can we get a holla?


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Speaker Vallone's 2006 Predictions

"Let's Kick Around the City Council"

In a rather interesting and revealing interview in the Gotham Gazette, former Council Speaker Peter Vallone weighs in today on all sorts of issues - ranging from campaign finance to life under Bloomberg to the state of the Democratic Party.

But what is perhaps most interesting, aside from Vallone's strong support of the Council altering its own term limitations legislatively, is his prediction that 2006 will be all about the term limits saga. Here's a snippet of what he says:

Well, unfortunately, I think term limits is going to be a big story. If the council passes, and I hope they do, a measure to extend the limit to 12 years, for sure there's going to be a referendum put on the ballot to reverse it. And there will be a lot of very bad publicity for the council members, which will result in their being afraid to do anything. And they may not even be able to pass the term limits bill for fear of reprisal.

It's just going to be a continual knock on the city council, which really doesn't deserve it. I think that they deserve a lot of credit for changing the policy of the city and making it a better place to live. And unfortunately, there doesn'’t seem to be any way of communicating with the electorate the truth of what's going on. And the big story in 2006 is probably going to be "Let'’s kick around the city council."


Friday, December 30, 2005

A Tongue Lashing in NY Civics

A la Henry Stern

Earlier this year, former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, gave a well-deserved scolding to those Council Members who seem to have an overblown sense of their own importance and power.

Here's a snippet of this very worthwhile read from the New York Civic:

Why should anyone want to leave the Council, with its six figure salary, including lulus, the lack of any restriction on outside work or income, the ample staffs, the mailing privileges at public expense for self-serving illustrated brochures, and all the privileges and emoluments which come with good pay and light work, which basically consists of intoning 'Aye' upon hearing your surname mentioned on a roll call?

... But the Council insiders are utterly without shame, or regard for the decisions of the electorate. They can be expected, on the basis of past performance, to do everything they can to preserve their privileged positions of pomp and power.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Refs is History

Part Deux

Most recently, we highlighted the language used in the last two term limits ballot measures.

Now we turn to the results:

1993 (Measure enacting term limits)

Voting Yes: 610,000 (59%)
Voting No: 420,000
Abstained: 860,000

1996 (Measure to extend term limits to 12 years)

Voting Yes: 560,000
Voting No: 650,000 (54%)
Abstained: 690,000

Note: During both elections, approximately 1.9 million people turned out to vote.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Here's Where They Stand


It's been a while since we last updated our term limits chart. Here's our latest rendition of where each of your lovely Council Members (and Council Members-elect) stand on the issue of overturning the will of the people.

As far as we can tell, the neys still lead 17-11.

But, if you have any other information that can help us fill in the blanks ... we'll take it!

Simply email with your insights.


Update to the Update: Make that 18-11 as of 12:00am, Thursday, December 29th.