History Repeats Itself
Stanley Michels, Case in Point
In 2001, The New York Times ran an editorial in support of a referendum on term limits. At the time, Council Member Stanley Michels (and failed 2005 Manhattan BP candidate), was pushing with everything he had to alter his own term limitations.
In part, here's what the Times had to say:
Some Council members have argued that voters have no appreciation for the disruption caused by the term-limits law. While some inefficiencies will be inevitable with such a large turnover in the Council and all citywide offices next year, nobody is staging a coup. There will still be 16 experienced Council members. Moreover, the newcomers will have help. City Hall has many competent staff members, and the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College is among those promising to help new members during the transition. The school will offer seminars, retreats, a guidebook on the workings of the Council and tips on how to run an office.
Councilman Stanley Michels, a leader of the group opposing term limits, has said that his mission is to save the city from this stampede of newcomers. He misses the main point -- that whatever the voters have taken away, only the voters should have the authority to give back. It is true that elections, not term limits, are the best way to oust mediocre officials. But the right way to end term limits is to call another referendum. Mr. Michels's coalition, Council Speaker Peter Vallone and Mr. Giuliani should agree to do just that.