Here’s a contender for the quote of the day in the Great Term Limits War as it raged this afternoon outside City Hall:
“Power is intoxicating, and he’s drunk on it. It’s time to get him to AA.”
That was Brooklyn state senator Eric Adams speaking of his Honor, the Mayor, during a press conference with comptroller Bill Thompson and other opponents of the mayor’s push to change the term limits law so that he can run for a third term.
The Thompson event sought to tie the mayor’s legislation — which would effectively cancel out two prior referendums that approved a two-term limit on city elected officials — to voting rights battles of the past, including the 1965 Voting Rights Act that extended the ballot box to minorities across the deep South.
Thompson said the issue would be taken up in churches throughout the city on Sunday, October 19 in an event he dubbed “100 Pulpits for Voting Rights.”
Meanwhile, across the street from City Hall, 13 of the council’s freshman members — those who are serving their first term and who are thus not facing term limits next year — caucused to discuss their own interests. Darlene Mealy, a first-termer from Brooklyn, told reporters after the meeting that Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s office had offered to try and fashion language that would guarantee those council members a third term along with the majority of members whose terms are due to end next year unless term limits is amended.
Mealy declared herself a firm “No” vote against an extension. “I just think it’s wrong,” she said. “I think you need three terms for this job, but this isn’t the way to get it.”
Mealy said that in a straw poll of the freshmen, nine members declared themselves opposed to the mayor’s bill.
Councilman Bill DeBlasio, who is emerging as the leader of those vowing to defeat the mayor’s legislation, said there are now 17 members firmly committed to voting against the bill to give the mayor and council an additional term in office. “I think there are more to come,” he said.
David Weprin, who chairs the council’s powerful finance committee, said that email and phone messages to his office on the issue are running “600 to 1” against the legislation.
Weprin insisted he wasn’t exaggerating. “Look, I went to synagogue yesterday,” he said, “and people kept coming up to me to say how much they don’t like this idea of extending term limits. And these are people who generally like the mayor.”