2013-08-09 / Editorial/Opinion

Quinn Should Not Be Elected

We cannot reward politicians whose main talent is for self-interest and self-preservation. Politicians who voted to extend term limits did so to reward themselves. It’s not a matter of whether term limits is a good idea or not. Fact is, voters went to the booth twice and supported term limits. Figuring the voters wouldn’t give them another shot, the City Council, led by Christine Quinn, gave themselves another term. It was a defiant act against the will of the people. It was a grotesque power grab and Christine Quinn orchestrated it.

Quinn has disqualified herself for our vote. She is the epitome of a power grabbing opportunist who rewarded herself. Her act allowed her to hold the position of City Council Speaker – a clear advantage for any politician with an eye on City Hall. By pushing to extend term limits she not only opened the door for Mayor Bloomberg to grab a third term, she ensured herself of continued power. She allowed herself to stay on as Speaker which allowed her to wield power and stay in the public eye. There’s no advantage like incumbency.

Another perk of being Speaker is the ability to steer money and other favors to others on the City Council. It’s a great way to get endorsements.

In fact, we’re none-too-pleased that newly elected City Councilman Donovan Richards was so quick to endorse her. Would he and others have backed her if she hadn’t given herself a third term?

Quinn rigged the game as best she could. We guess her calculation was: I’ll take heat for extending term limits but if I don’t extend them I’ll be out of a job and then have the same tough job as everyone else running for mayor. And Bloomberg will help me if I help him.

It so happens, a lot of Democrats voted for Bloomberg even though he, with Quinn’s help, bought the third term. We don’t think Democratic voters necessarily approved of the third term. As stated, incumbents have a huge advantage, especially those with billions of dollars. Perhaps some of those democrats simply didn’t like Thompson; perhaps some didn’t fully appreciate the implications of giving a third term to someone. Perhaps some groups and their members were bought off. How? Bloomberg makes a big donation to a non-profit or other group with a lot of members. The message gets through. Officially, he spent more than $100 million on his last campaign. The money helped cloud how outrageous the term limits power play was.

Quinn’s rationale for giving Bloomberg a third term is because the City was in throes of the economic crisis, and Bloomberg was the only guy to steer us through. By that logic, Bloomberg should have run for president because the entire country was in crisis.

Rudy Giuliani wanted to extend his term after 9/11. That idea was rejected and somehow the City managed. Opportunists can always find a reason to stay in office.

But that is how dictatorships start. It’s happened too many times. A popular leader runs for office, is elected, and then uses crisis as a means to rig the system so they become permanent office holders, dictators.

The country changes presidents in war time. The City can change mayors in a crisis. The City can surely survive a change in City Council. If someone is deemed “irreplaceable” then we have to change the job. No one is, or should be indispensable. Bloomberg could have had a heart attack the next day and been unable to serve. Would New York City have fallen apart? As Charles De Gaulle said, cemeteries are full of indispensable people.

When term limits was first proposed in the 1990s Peter Vallone Sr. was dead set against them. He said there would be “absolute chaos” if the City Council was overhauled because of term limits. Well, the sky didn’t fall. The City has done fine without the senior Vallone and his 1990s colleagues. A good argument can be made that the City is better than ever – better since term limits removed entrenched incumbents.

We refuse to overlook the vote to extend term limits. It is not a matter of moving on, forgiving and forgetting. This is not some isolated vote or position. The issue is enduring because Christine Quinn continues to benefit.

We don’t need a mayor who flouts the will of voters. We don’t need another mayor who doesn’t listen to the people. Christine Quinn only listens to the voice of self-interest.

There is just a month to go before the primary and we’re still undecided about which candidate to endorse. But we already know which one we won’t.

Christine Quinn for Mayor? Absolutely no.

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Well said! Here is the record

Well said! Here is the record of that infamous vote where term limits were abolished by the City Council on October 23rd, 2008. Included are only those councilman with local ties to Rockaway or those running for city-wide office. ¶Roll Call, 3:22 p.m., on an amendment calling for a public referendum on term limits: ¶28 no, 22 yes, 1 abstaining. ¶Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. of Queens, yes; Bill de Blasio of Brooklyn, yes; Melinda R. Katz of Queens, no; John C. Liu of Queens, yes; Christine C. Quinn of Manhattan; no; James Sanders Jr. of Queens, abstain; James Vacca of the Bronx, no; Peter F. Vallone Jr. of Queens, no; David I. Weprin of Queens, yes; ¶Roll Call, 4:35 p.m., on Introduction 845-A, to extend term limits for New York City elected officials to three terms from two: ¶29 yes, 22 no. ¶Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. of Queens, no; Bill de Blasio of Brooklyn, no; Melinda R. Katz of Queens, yes; John C. Liu of Queens, no; Christine C. Quinn of Manhattan; yes; James Sanders Jr. of Queens, yes; James Vacca of the Bronx, yes; Peter F. Vallone Jr. of Queens, yes; David I. Weprin of Queens, no; In good conscience I would be unable to vote for any politician who over-turned the two-term limit that was twice approved by voters. Besides Christine Quinn running for Mayor this would prevent me from even considering Melinda Katz or Peter Valone, Jr. running for Queens Borough President.

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