Letter to constituents of the 29th Council District:
Thank you for contacting my office regarding the City Council vote on Int. 845A to allow elected officials to qualify for a third term. I am writing at this time to explain the reasons for my vote. I have long been against term limits and have said publicly in recent months that extending term limits as a way to create more stability in city government is good policy, especially under present-day circumstances. The issue should have been raised early enough to decide this by referendum, but at this late date, it was not an option.
I also listened carefully to the testimony given during the hearings at City Hall and I heard from many of my constituents. While I understand and appreciate the views of those who disagree with me, I exercised the judgment I felt was correct for the City at the time, which is what I was elected to do.
There are several reasons I believe that giving voters the option to vote for the present administration and City Council was the best choice.
First, from a practical point of view, a longer time in office affects Council Members' seniority and the ability to see capital improvements through to completion. For example, over the past seven years, I have worked hard to bring millions of dollars in Capital funds to our district to provide upgrades to our parks, schools, firehouses, police stations and roadways. By limiting elected officials to eight years, there is less of a chance that many projects become complete.
Second, State and Federal regulations would permit a special election for a referendum on term limits from occurring until March or April at the earliest, and would not take effect until early May. This is due to rules on amending the New York City Charter and Federal Voting Rights laws governed by the Justice Department. These predictions are the best case scenarios and following this path would hold the future of our City government in limbo at a time when it is in most need of stability.
Third, the New York City Council's job is to pass laws whether they change laws enacted by referendum or legislation. It is one of the reasons the Council was created in the first place - to legislate.
Finally, throughout my career in public service, I have been against term limits. In 1993 and 1996, as a member of the New York State Assembly, I wrote letters and made phone calls in opposition to the two referendums. My position then as well as now has been clear and has not changed.
Once again, thank you for contacting my office on this issue.
No one is guaranteed re-election, unless you have been offered assurances that you will run unopposed. (I recall Katz attending many Republican fundraisers...) So the whole argument behind this letter is stupid, unless Mel believes that incumbency is fail-proof and that incumbents should be lifelong occupants of their seats, which I guess is indeed the popular belief amongst them. Let's remember that you benefitted yourself from term limits, lady, and had neither a primary opponent nor a general election opponent. And as for the snarky comment about it being the Council's job to "legislate": The Council was created to check and balance the mayor, not to be his rubber stamp, which is what this council has become under Bloomberg. I know the prospect of having to get a real job is frightening, but please don't insult our intelligence.