As the eighth richest American with a net worth of $20 billion, he must protect his assets – and those of his wealthy cronies, too.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s desire to steer New York City through tempestuous fiscal times with another four years in office is hubris and self-interest hard at work, particularly as not too long ago, he found the prospect of ending term limits “disgusting.”
So, too, did New Yorkers, who twice voted in the 1990s to uphold a two-term limit for elected city officials, yet Hizzoner has decided to break the law by requesting that the City Council overturn a 15-year-old municipal rule, designed to protect Jane Doe and John Q. Public from vague, greedy and corrupt megalomaniacs, who masquerade as politicians.
If Hizzoner has his way, not only could the Big Apple be stuck with a mayor to whom it was hoping to bid farewell, but it could also be saddled with a band of ineffective, vainglorious council members, whose terms would also be extended under Bloomberg’s proposal.
Term limits are in place “to prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom by continuing too long in office…” wrote Thomas Jefferson in June 1776 when the Continental Congress appointed a committee of 13 to analyze different forms of government for the new union.
Term limits in New York City were established by a charter to help curb the egotism of elected officials, who, if Mayor Bloomberg has his way, would have multiple more years to introduce, drag out or resuscitate pet, pork-barrel projects, or simply throw their weight around for 12 arduous years. Eight years is long enough for this city’s elected officials to implement a vision. If it is a sound one, it will inspire successors to see it through to the end.
Theoretically, extending term limits for mayors and council members may have some merit because among the determining factors for any successful endeavor is time. Yet, practice has shown that New Yorkers do not always reap the rewards of a politician’s tenure in public office.
What is harvested in bountiful measure is disappointment and disillusionment with civil servants who often forget – as they cruise along the highway of perks, privileges and pomposity – that they are the servants of civilians, ultimately.
Mayor Bloomberg’s elitist disregard for the law of the city, which after all was fashioned from the will of its people, reveals the very type of mentality that term limits were instituted to keep in check.
In last week’s column, “RIP: Paul Newman [1925-2008], I wrote that Mr. Newman had acted in 34 movies during his lifetime. According to the Internet Movie Database, www.IMDB.com, that number is 81.
I regret the error – ABV.
E-mail“A Britisher’s View” at BritView@c