City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, running in the Democratic mayoral primary, said at a candidates’ forum in Brooklyn on Wednesday that she would not commit herself to any referenda that may come up on the city ballot.
The context was a question about term limits -- which she helped change without a referendum in time for the 2009 elections, effectively extending her stay in office and that of Mayor Michael Bloomberg for another term. It is a move without which she might not be positioned to move up now at City Hall -- but for which she's expected to pay a political price still to be determined.
Quinn said she has “no idea” what future referenda might be petitioned onto a ballot that could be regressive -- like some in California. On this one issue, it was Quinn against her rivals. She said she switched positions to allow the extension because of the “economic situation” at the time. She said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio also changed positions.
Both de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who was particularly fired up, slammed her position. Thompson, who lost to Bloomberg four years ago when the mayor spent more than $100 million, declared that in a democracy, no individual can be deemed indispensable in public office.
Comptroller John Liu questioned how indispensable Bloomberg’s fiscal acumen could have been when he is leaving behind expired contracts for some 300,000 employees.
Candidate Sal Albanese has supported the two-term limits.
Reform Democratic clubs hosted the forum at St. Francis College.