Term Limits, Goodbye
Are all the politicians deaf or is it just the ones from New York City? Perhaps I've gotten the hang of politics all wrong in my scant sixtyfour years. I thought the politicians are elected and serve at the will of the people. More plainly, it's easier to fit a hundred senators in the Senate than it is to fit three hundred million. And, so, we elect surrogates to do the job of the people. We condense the voting process. In New York City, the job of the City Council is our way of condensing. Were you aware that the job of councilperson began as a temp job, a part time job with commensurate part-time pay? Well, the job has morphed into a part time job with full-time pay. Once again, the drinks are on us, the taxpayers.
Apparently the voters, the people, the tax payers, the bosses over the City Council decided that our surrogates on the Council were deaf to the needs of their communities, thus, when it came time to vote, we voted to limit their terms of service. We held out the slightest hope that churning the mix in short bursts just might get us an occasional sheath of wheat from the chaff.
Apparently deaf, the Council members did not hear the outcry from their bosses: "Could it be we are unappreciated? Not a chance. Must be the majority of our bosses flicked the wrong lever or didn't understand the referendum that limited their terms," could have been the chat in the halls of the Council.
We, the bosses, undeterred, voted an unprecedented second time on the same issue and guess what? We voted the same way. Yes. We voted to uphold our first vote because we wanted to churn the curds and whey in the local cottage cheese of politics by limiting terms of service on the City Council. They heard us. They heard us say, "Don't get too cozy in your job, your part-time job. Don't wield too much power. Just get the people's work done. Take the pulse of your community when hot button issues are up for votes and do the noble thing."
Well, on Thursday, the twenty-third of October 2008 the City Council voted to overturn term limits. Mark down the date. Our hirees sent a message to us, "Dear Bosses, you were wrong twice so we decided to touch up the Xrays. You lose." Our Mayor, not unlike the previous one, liked his job soooo much that he decided he wanted to circumvent the will of the people and pressure a majority of the council to vote to overturn term limits so he could continue his reign. He convinced a majority of the Council to vote his way and, as the saying sort of goes, the rest rewrites history. What's with these mayors who refuse to give up their jobs when the clock runs out and have to be dragged out of office kicking and screaming? It's certainly not the pay. But, it is the power.
Rudee (sic) only wanted to stay on three months to complete God's work and the voters thought he was delusional. Mike used his considerable influence to make a mockery of the voters and through a crafty maneuver, took what was twice decided by we, the people, and overturned it by a majority vote of the City Council. My goodness, he could stay forever. Envision, if you will, his being removed from the mayoralty kicking and screaming at the age of ninety-two, coincidently the age of his mother.
How does the mike maneuver affect the voters? It renders us inconsequential. Slap! It says to us, "Don't be foolish thinking your vote actually counts in this city. We will do what we want, when we want." Slap! Slap!
Mayor Mike really did touch up the X-rays. He played dirty at the people's expense. And, those of us who would vote for him in next year's election be-
cause they think he is the only one who can mange the City in this time of fiscalcrisis must consider this: If he loved this city so much, he would have abided by the will of the people and, if he indeed wanted to serve the City after his term expired, he could volunteer to serve during the next administration in some capacity related to our fiscal mess. Oh, how he and those aye voters on the City Council must be laughing at us now!
What can we do to wipe the smile off of their faces? Phone them, e-mail them, drop in and visit them, pester them and let your will be known with regard to everything in your community that troubles you. Possibly, if annoyed to a great extent, they would consider not running for the additional terms they voted themselves. If I might be so bold, I would suggest in the next election we vote out all those who voted to defeat the will of the people; but, it seems our voting doesn't matter in this game of Whack-a- Mole politics. How does it feel to be irrelevant?