It’s 1 p.m., and they’re still yapping away at the term limits signing. The citizens speaking against the bill predominate and generally call it undemocratic, while proponents generally praise the Mayor. Among their testimonials:
A guy who looked like Whitey from the Bowery Boys and claimed to have “played basketball with John Lindsay’s son” before “security got tight,” told Bloomberg, “I’ve never seen a man as arrogant as you.” A NYPIRG guy said the caper “would make Boss Tweed blush with embarrassment.” An elderly Greenwich Village resident read from Naomi Wolf. Norm Siegel referred to the upcoming lawsuit against the bill.
Councilmember Charles Barron filibustered (“I’m not finished”). He said he normally takes this day off as Black Soldiarity Day, but came in to tell the Mayor he was “ashamed” of him. Also said the Council “weren’t even thinking about term limits” until “the Mayor brought it up,” and mocked his claim that the city needs his mayorality to face the financial crisis because it didn’t seem to be helping so far. “Where’s the Speaker?” he asked, pretending to look around. “Why don’t she come for the bill signing?” He finally told Bloomberg, “I will see you on the battlefield.”
One poor woman, who said she came from “a wealthy family, believe it or not,” described going to a homeless shelter and having her bed set on fire — apropos of what, we’re still not sure. Various community board and other small-bore officials spoke, including a proud member of “the board of my condominium,” who said that when a matter concerning her directly is debated, “I recuse myself,” and that the City Council should have done likewise in this matter. One observant Jewish supporter from Williamsburg compared the bill to the Torah, which his people had been asked to accept without seeing it.
Some lady thanked Bloomberg for being Mayor when “you could be sitting by a fireplace reading” instead of “facing all this negative activity.” One woman, voice shaking with rage, denounced the bill and the Mayor’s development policies, spitting the name “Bruce Ratner” as if it burned her lips. Another praised Bloomberg for “stopping us smoking” and promoting “less waste of oil and fuel,” and told him she loved him. Another fellow brought his resume and asked for “a six-figure income job… who do I give this to?”
There was even a blogger! Michael White of Noticing New York said he “can’t think that this testimony I’m giving today is going to be meaningful,” so you can go to his blog and read it later.
The Mayor does not seem to have sneaked out, so the event proves a perfect example of modern democracy: that is, it allows the people the right to speak, and then the boss does what he was going to do anyway.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 3, 2008