Further Update from City Hall On Term Limits Vote

5:30 p.m. — You’ve most likely heard by now that today the NY City Council passed Mayor Bloomberg’s bill to buy himself a third term. Of course, there were many courageous City Council Members who voted against this. The vote was 29 for, 22 against. I think most of us understand the tremendous pressure these Council Members were under from our billionaire Mayor — who has shown his true colors. The afternoon was at times heartening, at times mind numbing. It felt like a historic moment in our city’s history to witness; it was certainly an educational one. You can find good coverage at the New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, NY1, among others. Council Member Charles Barron (Brooklyn) said mid-way — before the vote was finalized but recognizing the Mayor would most likely prevail — “Even tho’ the Mayor will win today, he is the big loser. His legacy will be forever tainted.” As Letitia James (Brooklyn), who spoke so eloquently, said, “This is a game changing moment.”

And indeed I believe it is. Stay tuned.

Update from City Hall

11:30 a.m. — Well, the NY City Council Committee on Governmental Operations voted this morning 6-0 in favor of letting the term limit vote proceed, and so it will this afternoon. I wish I could tell you I thought any of the City Council members who voted for it said anything truly compelling. It sounded mostly self-serving.

Sewell Chan and Michael Barbaro continue their comprehensive and fine reporting on this issue at the New York Times site.

Two great (among many) reader comments:

Councilperson Felder ( who voted to extend term limits) stated: “Many have tried to make this issue about one man….” No, Mr. Felder, Mayor Bloomberg made this about one man. The vast majority of New Yorkers know this is about our democracy. and the arrogance and imprudences of the Council over riding the will of the people in two referendums for the benefit of that one man. – Madeline

These pro forma hearings only provide the appearance of a public debate at City Hall. In reality, the vote has already been fixed on the most important issue to emerge in our generation regarding the future of democracy in our city. Thank you Mayor Bloomberg! – Antonio G.

More to come!

The Right to the City Seminar Fri. 10/24 and Saty. 10/25

RIGHT TO THE CITY SEMINAR

Friday, October 24 * 7:30 pm & Saturday, October 25 * 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Brecht Forum, 451 West street between Bank and Bethune, Manhattan

Urban Struggles & the Financial Crisis

What are we up against? What are our visions & possibilities?
What do we need to do?

A Seminar led by David Harvey

“the right to the city is like a cry and a demand…”
from “The Right to the City” by Henri Lefebvre

Henri Lefebvre’s “The Right to the City” was published in Paris in 1968.

Lefebvre’s approach challenges the primacy of market forces — and the taken-for-granted capitalists’ quest for profit — in determining how and where people live and how government should work and what it should do.

The “Right to the City” is not just about the right just to be in the city, but about fighting for the right to govern and control urban space and the right to live in a society where the needs of our most vulnerable urban residents — not developers — are put at the center of public policy. So, the right to the city includes not only the right to housing and food; but also the right to excellent public education; the right to public space and culture; the right to environmental justice; the right to living-wage jobs and health care; the right to citizenship for all; the right to live without state surveillance and police repression, which historically has targeted people of color, immigrants and women, queer and transgendered people, among others.

An important development here in the United States is the Right to the City Alliance that was formed in 2007 and includes dozens of grassroots organizations across the country dedicated to strengthening urban struggles and fostering regional and national collaborations.

David Harvey is a Professor of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is author of The Urban Experience, The Limits to Capital, The Condition of Postmodernity, Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference, Spaces of Hope, and Spaces of Capital, among other works.

Other workshop leaders and speakers for the two days can be found at the Brecht Forum site.

Sliding scale: $25-$45
Friday night only: $10