Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday secured a fellow billionaire’s once-wavering support to change the city’s term-limits law… Bloomberg met for more than an hour with cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder, who largely financed the referendum that created the city’s term-limits law in 1993. — Associated Press
Lauder: What have you got for us this time?
Bloomberg: Johnny Walker Vermillion.
Lauder: I’ve heard of this. Fifty years old and the malt comes from some special preserve…
Bloomberg: (pouring) And the barrels are made out of the Mayflower or something.
Lauder: Not so much, Mike! I only want a snort.
Bloomberg: No, we don’t want to waste it, do we?
(Both laugh, clink glasses)
Lauder: Alright, let’s get to it. So, why should I help them to help you?
Bloomberg: Who, the Council? Ah, they’re no so bad. Sometimes you have to get their attention, but they know where it’s at: most of their constituents don’t even know their names, and everyone knows mine. They’re a nuisance at worst.
Lauder: So why not just make make them eat a bill that just extends your terms? It’s not like they’re weren’t expecting to leave anyway.
Bloomberg: First thing, what with the campaign contribution limits, this is going to cost some of them some money — and the poor bastards can’t afford it. And you know Christine and a few of the others were planning to run for this job. It costs me nothing to show them a little token of respect. I don’t want to push them too hard. If they get spooked, some of them may talk to their friends in Albany, and that’s given me some trouble in the past.
Lauder: So what do I get out of it?
Bloomberg: You get to serve on the charter commission that’ll reverse this whole thing once we’re finished. And you get to drink a little more of my Scotch.
Lauder: Some other time. I’m telling the press that we’re having coffee and cookies.
Bloomberg: And people say you have no sense of humor!
(Both laugh uproariously as the curtain falls.)
An earlier and better-written conversation between Bloomberg and two of his aides is recorded here.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 9, 2008