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.