Vallone Was Torn On Term Limits
When the City Council, by a count of 29 yeas to 22 nays, decided to approve an amendment to the term limits law last month, Vallone voted in favor.
The change allows Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for a third term next November. It also permits the comptroller, the public advocate, four of the five borough presidents and a majority of the 51 councilmembers, including Vallone, to be able to run for a third four-year term as well.
"The bad news is, I won't be your next borough president. The good news is I will be able to run again," Vallone told Community Board 1 at the board's November meeting. He had been a candidate for borough president but will now seek re-election to the council.
Voters in New York City twice before, in 1993 and 1996, had passed referenda limiting city officials to two consecutive terms. But with the support of Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn put forth legislation to revise the law to three four-year terms.
According to a survey issued at the same time of the council vote by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, 89 percent of New Yorkers said a new referendum was necessary to change the law. Only 7 percent said a vote by the council was needed.
Vallone acknowledged the controversy over a referendum. "The mayor waited too long," he said. A referendum on term limits could have been put on the November 4 ballot, but Bloomberg did not make public his intention to run again soon enough.
A special election takes too long, said Vallone. "It probably could not have been held until May or June and would have cost $1.5 million. It would have shut down city government."
The choice for Vallone came down to legislation or a special election. "I did not want [a special election] to happen," he said.
"I'm not going to go into why 12 years is so much better than eight years," Vallone said. "If people don't agree with me, that's absolutely fine."
Concerning the worsening state and city budget situations, Vallone decried the MTA's proposed shutdown of the W line as "yet another ridiculous way MTA is trying to save money".
Commenting on the mayor's decision to eliminate the January Police Academy class, he said, "The quickest way to hurt the economy is to increase crime."
Although he will hold public hearings, as chair of the Public Safety Committee, Vallone acknowledged there is nothing he can actually do. "By the next class, we will have lost another 1,000 to 2,000 officers," he said.
Vallone said the council may have prevailed on the $400 rebate to homeowners, which had been cancelled by the mayor.
Concerning the state, Vallone has long been critical of the shortfall of tax dollars and services the city receives compared to what it sends to Albany. "We pay $14 billion for nothing," he said.