Times up –- let’s vote!
Council Speaker Chris Quinn blew the whistle this afternoon, summoning her members to a showdown this Thursday on the mayor’s controversial term limits extension bill.
The bill will be put to a vote at the Committee on Governmental Operations at 10 a.m. Assuming it passes there — considered a sure thing — the full council will vote on the measure later that afternoon.
Most council watchers expect the bill to pass, although as of this afternoon there are still 21 members publicly opposed, 13 undecided, and just 17 in favor.
The let’s-get-this-over-with move by Quinn and her ally the Mayor came one day after a pair of major league players with big bankrolls vowed to work to defeat the measure: upstate billionaire Tom Golisano and 1199 SEIU — the giant healthcare workers union –- announced their opposition yesterday, with Golisano pledging to dedicate an unspecified amount to TV ads opposing the bill.
Ever since its introduction earlier this month, the mayor’s bill has been put on an unprecedented fast track. Council leaders even introduced an amendment to the bill before hearings were even held -– an unheard-of council action.
Quinn also authorized just two days of public hearings, which were held last Thursday and Friday at City Hall in jam packed chambers.
The legislation gives the mayor and other elected city officials –- who would otherwise face term limits in 2009 –- the option to seek an extra term.
For council members the odds of winning reelection are pretty good. A story in the Daily News today by veteran political reporter Frank Lombardi points out that only two of the 51 council’s current members defeated incumbents to win their seats. And one of those, Annabel Palma of the Bronx, ultimately only faced the incumbent’s son, Pedro Espada, in her race.