For what it’s worth, this voter will bubble in “NO” and “NO” again to the two Charter revision questions on the flip side of today’s ballot.
Question #1, Term Limits, is Mike Bloomberg’s payback to fellow billionaire Ron Lauder who agreed not to oppose the mayor’s 2008 coup to give himself a third term in return for Bloomberg’s pledge to roll them back to two terms this year. The original deal also included a seat for Lauder on this year’s Charter Revision Commission — a promise that was cited high up in Lauder’s own press release two years ago. But the two billionaires decided that wasn’t such a good idea after several good government groups and critics pointed out it was probably illegal.
The now ancient history of how we ended up with this two term limits business is also much foolishness. When Lauder ran for the Republican nomination for mayor in 1989, Rudy Giuliani’s campaign team ridiculed him. The cosmetics heir’s clever payback was to self-promote the first term limits initiative that kept Mighty Whitey Giuliani from staying around more than two terms. It was a dumb idea then and still is.
Question #2 is more complicated and that’s the problem. Much as you’d like to parse out the good — greater disclosure for independent campaign donors, higher fines for ethics violations — you can’t. It’s an absurd all-or-nothing package, which includes some nutty ideas that don’t deserve the time of day: Reduce the number of petition signatures so that we get more Hooker Madam Kristin Davis’s on the ballot? Move all administrative tribunals into one agency? What’s that about? No one knows. Vote against these ridiculous and undemocratic “package deals.” To do otherwise only encourages them.