Rub Your Tummy?

A Coordinated NYC Voter

Mike Bloomberg is betting you can’t rub your tummy and pat your head at the same time.

That — and a 2008 commitment to billionaire term limits sponsor Ron Lauder — is why he’s urging New Yorkers to vote “yes” on ballot Question 1 — to restore two-term limits for mayors and other city elected officials.

Of course, Question 1 exempts him and other current incumbents. They all can run a third time if they haven’t already.

But what does this have to do with your head and your tummy?

Bloomberg doesn’t really care so much about term limits; he wants you to say “yes” to Q1 so you’ll also vote “yes” on the second ballot question — In other words, he expects you to pat your tummy once you start patting your head.

But he’s underestimating the coordination skills of the NYC voter. Proud New Yorkers can fill in the “No” bubble on ballot Question 2 regardless of what they do with Question 1.

And they should.

Ballot Question 2 is a hodgepodge of seven unrelated “reforms.” Some, like consolidation of administrative tribunals and creation of a new paperwork reduction commission, are designed to trim the mayor’s reporting requirements.

But not without giving an “edge” to the mayor, whose appointees could dominate the new commission and be able to block report expansion or extension requests from the City Council.

Others, such as reducing the number of petition signatures required to get a candidate on the ballot, are aimed at making it easier for insurgents — including the inevitable “kooks” who’ll pop up — to challenge candidates who enjoy major party support.

The rest of the Question 2 proposals are eye candy — they’re included to sweeten the whole package for unsuspecting voters. They’ll also give pro-Bloomberg editorial writers something to praise.

We’ve done a proposal-by-proposal analysis of ballot Question 2. On balance, its liabilities outweigh its assets. We urge you to reject this attempt to give an edge to wealthy candidates and make it easier for mayors to control the City Council.

Even if you like Mike Bloomberg, you may not like his successors. New York needs balance and moderation, not a forever one-man government.

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