Loosey-Goosey Term Limits

Tuesday’s NY Times reports that nearly three-fourths of New Yorkers want to effectively reverse the 2008 Local Law that overturned two-turn limits for the mayor and other NYC elected officials. Unfortunately, voters will not get the chance to do this in November.

The charter revision commission convened by Mayor Bloomberg earlier this year has produced only two ballot questions. On the first — whether to restore two-term limits — a “No” vote will retain the existing three-term limit, and a “Yes” vote will reimpose the two-term limit, but not for today’s incumbents. Only newcomers who first get elected in 2013 or afterward will be subject to the two-term restriction.

The second ballot question, which is receiving scant press attention, would implement a hodgepodge of unrelated charter changes presumed to be wanted by Mayor Bloomberg. Individually, these have drawn mixed reviews at best; collectively, they are being widely criticized for not allowing voters a choice among them.

Bill de Blasio

But for the 13 Council members first elected in 2009, and for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu, who were elected with them, either outcome on ballot Question One will allow them to run for reelection to serve through the end of 2021.

The prospects are even better for Council member David Greenfield (Borough Park/Bensonhurst./Midwood), who was elected to fill a vacancy in March, 2010, and faces no contest to complete the balance of the term.  Either outcome on the term limits question means Greenfield will be able to run for three full terms, and serve through 2025.

David Greenfield

Greenfield, who is actively reaching out to his constituents despite no opposition in November (he is working with the local Pakistani community to sponsor a flood relief effort) is a good bet to be reelected and rise to a leadership role in the Council.

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