Having attended (and reported back on) the federal court hearing around term limits last week in downtown Brooklyn, I am not surprised that Judge Charles P. Sifton ruled in the City’s favor saying the term limit overhaul can stay. I would have been awfully surprised if Judge Sifton, who seemed really tired and troubled (confused even) as to how to make the decision, ruled otherwise. I’m sure it was just easier to rule for the city, and maybe (a big maybe) their legal arguments were stronger.
We all know; however, it was the 29 Members of the NY City Council who voted for overturning voted-in term limits, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and, at the end of the day, our illustrious (well, at least he thinks so) CEO Mayor Mike Bloomberg who are responsible. You can read the Times’ story “Judge Rejects Suit over Term Limits.”
But there is still another piece to the term limits puzzle.
As the Daily News reported on October 13th, 2008:
The brouhaha may be about whether the fate of term limits is decided by special election or the 51-member City Council, but in the end it’s up to the feds.
New York is among the localities covered by the historic 1965 Voting Rights Act, which requires federal approval for changes in voting rules to protect minority-group rights.
Yet, there was a short subsequent article on January 6th, 2009 in the Daily News reporting some suspicion over the fact that Mayor Bloomberg had not filed the paperwork to initiate the federal approval process. It stated:
More than two months after signing the controversial law allowing him to seek a third term, Mayor Bloomberg still hasn’t sought the required federal approval for it.
“It’s odd and suspicious. It smacks of having some other agenda,” said election law expert Richard Emery, a foe of the term extension, who backs Bloomberg’s third run anyway.
What could that agenda BE…?
But the Mayor didn’t get off scot free today… see this Times’ story “Yankee Stadium Burdens Mayor’s Campaign.” The article begins: “With a vote set on Friday on whether to extend $372 million in additional tax-free financing for the new Yankee Stadium, challengers to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg are trying to halt the subsidies. State lawmakers have subpoenaed team and city officials to an emergency hearing on Wednesday, and what once looked like a gleaming example of the mayor’s financial skill is suddenly looking like one of his biggest vulnerabilities.”