Barron continues: “Years ago 76 percent of this council was white,” and after term limits it was 50 percent, which shows that term limits works. Another guy (sorry) says his constituents want potholes fixed, term limits is “the last thing on their minds.” Vincent Gentile regrets that there hadn’t been a referendum before, which would make the council “a much more unified body.” Claims a yes vote would “enrage” rather than “rally” the voters.
Bill DiBlasio calls the process “inappropriate in every way… everything has been wrong with this process,” and that the abuses “will be uncovered, I assure you.” Cites Orwell, “thief in the night.” Yasskey says he’ll support the bill — some grumbling. Calls it the best of a bad choice. Says in the long run, the case for lengthening term limits is “strong.” James says “I have to stand up to this one.” Furiously says, “should one man overturn democracy? I say no.” Blasts the “illusion of choice” and says the Mayor “seeks to use this body.” Raises a cheer. Como says “vote no again.”
Felder declines, says “you can’t force me to speak.”
Peter Vallone is more enthusiastic for term limits than he sounded in his statement a few days ago. An audibly distraught James Vacca says he doesn’t “seek to have my cake and eat it too,” says people want to vote for Bloomberg again, says “I have nothing to gain.” Says his mother used to watch “Matlock” but now watches NY1, and doesn’t understand why she can’t vote for Bloomberg.
Mendez says the papers that endorsed Bloomberg’s third term didn’t endorse her; her constituents support a referendum. Avella says the council has no right to overturn two referenda for term limits, and says “the fix was in from the beginning,” and his pro-repeal colleagues should be voted out of office. (When Gotbaum asks if he’s finished, he says, “I think I’m throughly finished.”)
Another guy (Recchia? Sorry.) quotes Lincoln. “You don’t swap horses halfway.” (Guess it is Recchia — he rehearsed this remark to Azi Paybarah.) Fidler (who is sorry that he didn’t get to hear the rest of “Mama Vacca’s” complaint) notes that nobody in the room seems to like term limits, and he doesn’t and he’s glad that “the billionaires have finally come around to my point of view.” Koppell defends the vote legalistically, cites the CCRB vote, to which “nobody objected,” compares the bill to a penalty kick in soccer. Also, “people with lengthy terms” are the ones we remember.
Leroy Camrie appreciates everybody, says members shouldn’t be afraid to take their records to the people. Liu says the Council should begin to “act as a counterweight” to the Mayor, whom he accuses of “arrogance.” Gioia says his barber, Jimmy, agrees with him. Says there’s a difference between cynics and skeptics, people “no longer trust politics,” says he will stand with the people (that is, no).
Gerson laments the defeat of the referendum. But now he’s voting yes! Doesn’t want to raise the status of referenda against the power of the council. Also, many New Yorkers demand “choice,” “allowing open elections,” etc. Says he has “no choice.”
Now some administrative bullshit is going on, which gives us a break.
4:00: Okay, I don’t get this: there are a couple of bills being voted on, and term limits seems to be one of them. Makes it hard to follow. And only some members extend remarks.
Barron, again, advises his friend Recchia Comrie not to quote Jefferson, who was “a slaveholding pedophile.” Adds that “nothing comes to this floor if the Speaker and the Mayor don’t already have the votes,” and that after this vote, “we’ll be in the court of opinion and in the streets.”
Felder says no one should think he’s afraid to stand up to the Mayor, then votes for the bill.
Miguel Martinez says his yes vote is not “stealing” a vote from his constituency, and if they’re not satisfied with him, they’ll vote him out. Also says it’s “not a vote for the Mayor,” who “hasn’t given me a dime.”
Mendez says “I don’t just wave my flag, I defend it.” Says the democracy “demands” the matter be returned to the people.
Diana Reyna reads some term limits history, adds in 1996 5200 people in her district wanted two terms, 6800 wanted three. Approves of “choice, voice, and progress” and the bill.
Another guy (sorry) links term limits to Newt Gingrich and getting black people out of power. The crowd is getting restive. A woman (sorry) says the council has overriden the Mayor’s veto several times, showing it’s not in his pocket. (A break here for MediaPlayer to go haywire. We’re missing a few votes.)
Tom White said he was term-limited out before, and yet he came back. (Did he change his identity? Oh, he returned from retirement.) Now he’s got foreclosures in his district and there’s a “disconnect” in government and so (?) he votes yes.
Yassky wants to explain; MediaPlayer wants to kill us. He speaks against the “throw the bums out mentality.” “Loves” and “honors” the “practice of government,” votes yes.
Oddo says he’s had “enough YouTube exposure for two lifetimes,” but wished he had some “f-bombs” left over. (This is taken in good humor, because the fight is over.) He says “when the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers,” and he hopes the “gods are busy” today.
Rivera thanks everybody, says his father’s videotaping him, and why are watching still? 29-22, the bill passes.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 23, 2008