Hats Off to Haberman!

We have to take our hat off to Clyde Haberman, a superbly skilled journalist, for bringing humor to his Times story about the NYC charter revision — and for seeing through the pretense that Mayor Michael Bloomberg had nothing to do with the charter commission’s decisions.

It’s worth saying again that the commission’s first ballot question for November will deny voters any chance to restore two-term limits immediately or eliminate term limits entirely. And the second question will lump together so many independent changes that voters will be forced to chew a lot of inedible chaff to get the few grains of wheat that the commission is sprinkling at our feet. To us, it’s an unacceptable diet. Continue reading

NYC Charter Revision Proposals: A Hobson’s Choice

The proposals being placed on November’s ballot by the New York City Charter Revision Commission don’t offer voters real choice. The commission has restricted options by lumping the changes into just two ballot questions, putatively because this year’s new paper voting forms are too small to show the proposals individually. Following each proposal are our preliminary comments and recommendations. Continue reading

We Regret to Say We Told You So

On January 28 — two months before Michael Bloomberg convened a 2010 New York City Charter Revision Commission — we predicted that his charter panel would take advantage of voters’ resentment towards the 2008 Mayor/Council term limits putsch to motivate them to endorse charter changes to increase the mayor’s power.

The commission’s August 23 decisions prove we were right. Continue reading

Charter Revision Revisions?

photo by killingdenouement.wordpress.com

Expect some fireworks tonight at the August 23 meeting of the NYC Charter Revision Commission. It seems that the commission didn’t finish its homework before it published its Draft Proposed Amendments to the New York City Charter on August 17.

Attorney Laurence D. Laufer, writing the next day in the Corporate Political Activity Blog, cited several proposals that could produce donnybrooks tonight:

  • When the City Council extended term limits from two to three in 2008, it specifically said any subsequent charter revision to repeal this would simply restore the old two-term limit.  It did not provide for current third-term office-holders to be exempted from this provision. The charter revision commission’s August 17 draft would afford this exemption. Continue reading

Mayor Takes All

Unless the details of the NYC Charter Revision Commission’s final ballot questions deviate sharply from what was in the commission’s July 9 staff report, the final tally from Wednesday’s voting session will be: mayor all, City Council and public, none.

Every one of the commission’s key decisions will ask voters to expand the mayor’s powers, or will try to draw voters to the polls to achieve this end. Continue reading

Non-Partisan Elections? Nah!

Commission members Taylor and Scissura

We respect Adam Lisberg, but we think he’s making too big a deal about non-partisan elections. His DN piece suggests that pressure from Mike Bloomberg could force the 2010 NYC Charter Revision Commission to place “top two” or another form of non-partisan elections on November’s ballot. We disagree.

What’s more, we think Lisberg’s employer is using this piece to confect a chance for commission chair Matthew Goldstein and his colleagues to prove their independence from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Continue reading

Technical Difficulties

NYC Charter Revision: We missed portions of Monday’s webcast NYC charter revision commission hearing when our Internet access crashed. Here’s what we managed to see and hear: Continue reading

CPBytes

MAS/CB1M session: NYC Charter revision consolation prize for land use reformers.

How to speed development without charter change: EDC to the rescue.

Brookings doubts HCZ claims. Canada Responds. Brookings rebuts – gently.

Short and Tweet

Always looks the same, doesn't it?

NYC Charter Revision: @We want to go to sleep tonight, so we’re going to pretend we’re tweeting and be done with it:

Charter revision commission spent 1:15 on “independent budgets” with OMB’s Mark Page. He: smart, thorough, earnest, soporific, and ultimately a believer in the status quo, bashes independent budgets, even for Conflicts of Interest Board.

CRC Member Cassino wants to clean up City Council. But no recognition that eliminating Council member items must be matched by eliminating mayor’s discretionary items. Our bet: CRC won’t tackle this one.

Goldstein didn’t know “etymology” of Council extra compensation called “lulus.” Was told it means: “in lieu of.” Aahhh! Continue reading

Queens Civics Advance Charter Principles

Queens County Farm Museum

NYC Charter Revision: The Queens Civic Congress is the only borough-wide coalition of civic associations in New York City. Because we respect their efforts to protect the individuality and distinctiveness that make Queens great, we are posting the Statement of Charter Principles the congress recently prepared. We are grateful to the QCC president, Patricia Dolan, for sharing it with us. Here’s Pat’s letter after the break: Continue reading