Bloomberg once called change to term limits a 'disgrace'
The blatant power grab Mayor Michael Bloomberg is poised to make, with the blessing of fellow New York billionaires, is "an absolute disgrace."
Who would say such a thing?
Well, Bloomberg, for one.
That's right - the guy who crows he's different from those typical politicians. The Wall Street whiz who said righteously when he first ran that your word should be good in politics, as in business. The City Hall bantam who snipes at the slightest sign of doubt about his credibility.
Seeking his second, supposedly final term in 2005, Bloomberg repeated his vow to resist a proposed change in the term-limit law.
"I think it would be an absolute disgrace to go around the public will," he said on Aug. 30, 2005.
The City Council, over his veto, changed the law once to allow its speaker, Gifford Miller, an extra two years in office.
Bloomberg said four years ago: "They already did, I thought, monkey around with it to extend the definition of two terms to two and a half. Enough!"
Voters approved the two-term limit in 1993. But Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Council Speaker Peter Vallone backed a charter-change campaign in 1996 that would have extended it to three terms. Voters rejected that.
"The public voted twice for limiting the number of terms," the mayor said. "Period."
Yeah, period. The period for the mayor caring about this fact is over. He could have put this on the election ballot during any of his seven years in office. Now he's reported ready to support changing the limit to three terms - without a public vote.
We knew about big money swaying elections. The city charter seems to be for sale here as well. Ron Lauder, cosmetics billionaire, financed the campaigns for term limits in 1993 and 1996. His aides indicated he'd keep defending the law. Oh, wait - but Lauder decided he wants Bloomberg to stay. "If it wasn't for the fact of what's happening today in the world, particularly Wall Street, it would be a different story," Lauder told The Post.
The thinking seems to be that members of the oligarchy who spend for a law get to repeal it - provided Council members benefit by extending their own tenures.
Turns out the Bloomberg camp and the Council were cooking up this coup well before the plunges of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman, Merrill, AIG or WaMu. What will Bloomberg do about a recession from City Hall, anyway? Hike property taxes again? Sell computer screens so you can watch the next Dow crash?
We got no immediate response from the press office yesterday on whether Bloomberg believes President George W. Bush, whom he backed for re-election, should also get to seek a third term.
Fernando Ferrer, the wry Democrat beaten by Bloomberg four years ago, noted recent reports of how Lauder and city tabloid publishers were courted behind the scenes to back the change. Ferrer quipped: "I suppose, now that billionaires and moguls have worked this out among themselves, we mere mortals have to fall into line."