Former Council Speaker Seeks Extension of Term Limits
By GRACE RAUH, Staff Reporter of the Sun
A former speaker of the City Council, Peter Vallone Sr., is trying to pull together New Yorkers in an organized effort to extend term limits in the council.
Former Council Speaker Peter Vallone speaks to reporters after an August 2001 debating between Democratic mayoral candidates in New York.
Mr. Vallone, who represented Astoria, Queens, between 1974 and 2001, says term limits cripple the council's ability to counterbalance the mayor's wing of City Hall. He wants to see term limits abolished altogether, but said he would be open to an effort to extend term limits to three terms, up from two.
"I think it's an abomination, as far as legislatures are concerned," he said yesterday in an interview with The New York Sun. "Anyone who knows anything about government knows it's a disaster for a legislature."
Mr. Vallone's efforts come amid talk in political circles that Mayor Bloomberg would try to tinker with term limits and run for a third term. The law, which city voters twice supported at the polls, bars officials from holding office for more than two consecutive terms.
While Mr. Vallone said he would like specifically to change the law for council members, he said he would be open to changing the limits for other city officials if it would help him build more support for his cause.
He said he hoped his effort would succeed in time to affect the next wave of council members at City Hall. Thirty-six new council members will be elected in 2009 to replace the members facing term limits.
There was no disaster back in 2001, as far as I can tell.