2008-10-22 / Editorials

Keep Term Limits

To The Editor:

Term limits bring competitive elections to all voters by providing a level playing field for all candidates. Regardless of one's position, the integrity of the process demands that any change to term limits be done by Voter Referendum. But power must be intoxicating. How else to explain [why] City Councilmembers, who are on the city council because of term limits and who knew the rules of the game going in, now seek to extend their term by 4 years by legislative fiat. Not only is this a shameless grab for power, but it appears to be a self-serving scheme to enrich themselves to the tune of an additional 4 years of salary worth $450,000 which they are currently NOT entitled to. This is the city council equivalent of INSIDER TRADING.

This brazen grab for POWER and MONEY is being sold to us under the pretext that current council members are the only ones who can guide this city through tough economic times. Seven years ago our former Mayor made a similar claim, saying only he could guide us through the post 9/11 period. No one in business is irreplaceable and certainly that goes for those in politics--perhaps even more so. It is offensive to the voters of this city that members of the city council who have benefited from term limits and entered office knowing the rules, now seek its repeal. This is just another reason why voters are so cynical about elections and politicians.

Only real term limits will provide a level playing field for all candidates and bring competitive elections to voters. And to those that say we don't need term limits because the elections themselves subject candidates to term limits, is simply not the case. Without term limits, there is no level playing field for ALL candidates. Why? Incumbents have (1) Name Recognition helped by the use of government paid and prepared mailings they use to get their messages and NAMES out to voters throughout their term in office, (2) Money Advantage from well-funded interests that are dependent upon their votes in the council, and (3) Media Attention. When did you last see a reporter seeking comment from an unelected candidate about a community issue?

And should the city council overturn term limits? I say to those council members who are contemplating a run for a third term in 2009-- your incumbency is no longer a guarantee of an easy victory. Candidates like me will not go away quietly and will continue to mount energetic and exciting campaigns with innovative ideas and creative solutions that will give voters in our districts the ability to implement term limits at the ballot box! Bob Friedrich NYC Council Candidate, 23rd CD

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