Mayor Bullying His Way Into Third Term

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On October 7th, New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg formally introduced a bill that if passed, would permanently change the City's term limits law from two consecutive four-year terms to three, which would allow hizzoner to seek four more years in office along with the 51-member City Council and other elected officials.  The former Wall Street trader and self-made billionaire whose second term expires in 2009, proposes the adjustment on the premise that the City must have his Wall Street expertise to shepherd the city through the economic crisis.

On Sunday, October 19th, NYC Comptroller William H. Thompson charged that last week's public hearings on the matter of term limits, were rushed in what the Comptroller cited as “. . . an abrupt effort to steamroll the Mayor's legislation forward.”  Thompson further charged that the hearings failed to give many New Yorkers an opportunity to voice their opinions.  In addition, the Comptroller stated that high-level government officials in City Hall are abusing their authority by bullying groups that receive city funding into testifying on the Mayor's behalf and intimidating Council members into voting for the Mayor's legislation, ignoring the voice of their constituents. “These tactics are highly inappropriate and paint a portrait of a desperate campaign rife with heavy handed coercion attempting to discount the will of the public," Comptroller Thompson concluded.

Thompson, a would be contender for the Mayor's seat, provided the bill for a third term is not passed, is strongly in favor of a public referendum and open democratic hearings on term limits in each of the five boroughs.

Now, let's take a moment to analyze this situation. Let's see, now -- We've survived the stock market crash of 1929, the Great Depression, Two World Wars, the Stock Market Crash of 1987, and the invasion of the Cabbage Patch Kids all without Mayor Bloomberg in office.

With all due respect, to the Mayor, entertaining the notion that New York City will cease to thrive because a new captain takes the helm during a negative economy, is arrogant and narcissistic, to say the least.

The Mayor's justification for a third term in office raises the question, “Where was all Bloomberg's   Wall Street expertise before over 20,000 high paying financial jobs on Wall Street ended up on the chopping block, while the Mayor was out chasing waterfalls?  Why wasn't New York City better prepared for the financial tsunami – especially with the handwriting on the wall for such long time?”  

Interestingly, it is a documented fact that right now, the Brooklyn economy is thriving better than the City as a whole, based on a report released by the Brooklyn Labor Market Review, released September 12th, 2008  . Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President, Carl Hum accredits Brooklyn's success to simply, diversifying.  “Our research shows Brooklyn is capable of weathering an economic downturn because our jobs and businesses are not reliant upon a single industry. This is critical as we are experiencing what is likely to be a recession,” Hum concluded back in September.

Why is it that the Mayor's office failed to garner similar results?  Could this aggression for a third term in office be a personal or professional endeavor to save face?

Admittedly, Mayor Bloomberg did a great thing by declaring war on bullies in the schools.  There are, undoubtedly, many great things he has done for the City, nix (pun intended) the Olafur Eliasson waterfall monstrosities that sickened our much needed trees.  But the fact remains that the countless poor and middle class of New York City feel that they have been forced to carry the burden of this City's financial woes on their backs for far too long, and relief is at hand.  Hard working citizens, some working two; even three jobs, to barely feed their families want relief.  Proud and decent people who have been unemployed too long and feel abandoned by the same administration who they have worked hard and diligently to support over the years, want relief.  

Mothers and babies who were turned away from the City's shelter last Christmas because of some cruel and inhumane law that reduced the eligibility criteria for access to a shelter so slim, that even babies were turned out into the cold DURING CHRISTMAS, want relief!!!

People are weary and feel they have suffered enough.  New York has practically become a police state with stiff laws and penalties enforced on the poor with no help in sight.

At this point, people just want to give someone else a chance to help them get their shambled lives back.  Many more just want to see their family, friends and small businesses who have been pushed out and priced out, come back home. Restore the heartbeat to the City they love -- oh Hell -- the City that WE love.

At the October 17th hearing, Comptroller Thompson stated during his testimony, “At a time when our sole focus as a city should be on our economy, protecting working people, and maintaining quality city services for our citizens, the Mayor has us debating an issue that shouldn’t even be on the table. Even worse, he has proposed a measure that circumvents the voters and shatters the bonds of trust that are the essence of good government.”

New York City voters have already voted for term limits in 1993 and again in favor of term limits in  1996.

CLICK HERE to view the Comptroller's full testimony.

Brenda Jeanne Wyche is Managing Editor for Harlem Business News. If you have a solution, contact .  Maybe we’ll talk.

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