Lawsuit on Term Limits Filed Today…

The New York Times reports that:

Elected officials, aspiring politicians, public interest groups and average citizens who voted to establish term limits in New York in the 1990s filed a federal lawsuit Monday morning challenging the constitutionality of a law signed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg last week that extended the limits from a maximum of two terms in office to three.

The lawsuit charges that the mayor and the City Council seized upon the economic downturn as an excuse to undo the term limits law that had been twice affirmed by voters through referendum, and did so at an unprecedented pace.

The lawsuit plaintiffs include NY City Council Members Letitia James, Bill de Blasio, and Charles Barron, as well as Comptroller William Thompson. It is being litigated by Randy Mastro, formerly a deputy mayor in the Giuliani Administration, and Norman Siegel, well known as an advocate for free speech who is also running for public advocate.

From the complaint:

Allowing a self-interested mayor and City Council to dismiss the results of two recent referenda undermines the integrity of the voting process, effectively nullifies the constitutionally-protected right to vote, and perniciously chills political speech by sending the unavoidable message that the democratic exercises of initiatives and referenda can be disregarded by public officials.”

One of Mayor Bloomberg main arguments is, that if people don’t want him as Mayor for a third term, they can just vote him out. However, the lawsuit highlights how unlikely that is. For City Council Members, the complaint states: “in the past decade, only 2 of 107 incumbent council members lost a re-election bid.” Couple that statistic with our billionaire mayor’s intention to spend $80-$100 MILLION of his personal fortune (which, by the way, quadrupled while he has been Mayor) on his campaign and it’s not really a fair fight.

Mayor Bloomberg, City of New York, the City Council, and Speaker Christine Quinn, among others, are listed as defendants in the suit. You can download a PDF of the suit at the New York Times link above.

Part II on WSP Task Force Coming …

In case you were wondering, Part II, More on the Washington Square Park Task Force, will appear Thursday, November 13th.  Stay tuned…