Mayor Bloomberg’s announcement last week that he will seek to legislate through the City Council one additional term to the current two-term limit on all city elected office-holders cast a pall on the borough’s top elected position.
The news of Bloomberg’s decision was cheered heartily by term-limited Borough President Marty Markowitz, who has publicly stated he is against term limits, and said he would seek a third term.
“It was always my dream to serve Brooklyn as borough president, and if term limits are indeed extended, I would be honored to have the opportunity to serve Brooklynites for another term,” said Markowitz in a statement.
“My constituents know me, and they know that for me, ‘job one’ is ensuring we continue the ‘Brooklyn Renaissance’ we have enjoyed for the past seven years,” he added.
However, the news of possibly extending term limits was not greeted happily by term-limited Bill de Blasio, who has been actively campaigning to become borough president.
De Blasio issued a statement following the Bloomberg decision that while the mayor “has been a very capable leader,” it’s up to the people of the city to decide if there would be a change in the electoral system.
“Our current term limits law should not be changed at this point except by popular referendum,” said de Blasio.
De Blasio spokesperson Freya Riel added that her boss’s position remains that until any election laws are changed he will run for borough president.
Other announced candidates for borough president include term-limited City Councilmember Charles Barron and Deputy Borough President Yvonne Graham.
Barron told reporters he will vote ‘no’ on the extension of term limits and is undecided what he will do if the term limits are extended. Graham will support her boss’s re-election bid.
State Senator Carl Kruger, who was also eyeing the vacant borough president seat, said he will support Markowitz if term limits are extended.
“In these troubled times I can’t think of any person more qualified, well-rounded and has the support of the Brooklyn business community than Marty Markowitz,” said Kruger.
“If any good comes of this [extension of term limits], it’s Marty being elected for another four years,” he added.
Kruger also took a veiled shot at de Blasio.
“I can’t be enough of a hypocrite like some people going out and aggressively running for borough president when the economy is tanking and then be so self-centered to say they remain focused on the borough president’s race,” said Kruger.
Kruger said he would like to see if a term-limited City Councilmember actually “stepped up to the plate, and gave up a seat trying to unseat Markowitz.
Kruger said that even though he opposed Bloomberg on several issues in the past he will support his run for a third term.
“I am big enough to say today there is no one better to bring us out of this mess than Mike Bloomberg,” said Kruger.
City Councilmember Domenic Recchia, who was also considering a run for borough president, said he also supports Markowitz for re-election.
Recchia said he supports the extension of term limits and will run for re-election in his 47th Council district if they are changed.
“The courts have spoken and they said the City Council has the right to do it. We are extending, not doing away with term limits,” said Recchia.
Recchia vowed that if both he and Bloomberg are re-elected the redevelopment of Coney Island will move forward, bringing jobs, affordable housing, and an expanded amusement area to the neighborhood.
“If we are not re-elected, I cannot say what a new mayor and city councilmember will do. The new mayor will have a new agenda,” said Recchia.
Three people have already announced plans to fill Recchia’s vacant seat if term limits are not extended.
The three jockeying for the $112,500 a year seat, not counting committee stipends, are Brian Gotlieb, Todd Dobrin and John Lisyanskiy.
Gotlieb praised Recchia as doing a great job, but stopped short of saying he will drop out if term limits are extended.
“Right now my position is I’m waiting to see what the [term limit] bill that I expect to be passed looks like, and then I wait to see what happens to any court challenges that are made,” said Gotlieb.
Gotlieb also wants to see what will happen in regard to campaign finance laws and matching funds. Gotlieb said he has raised over $25,000.
Lisyanskiy, who works for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, said, “I’m in an uncomfortable situation and at this point, I can’t comment because of my work with the City Council.”