News, commentary and analysis by leaders of the Communist Party USA in New York State. We discuss State politics and issues in New York City, covering developments in labor, civil rights education, housing and more.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Communist Leader's Testimony on City Council Term Limits Proposal

This written testimony was delivered to the New York City Council on Friday, October 17, 2008 as part of the hearings on the current term limits extension proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quinn. Hundreds of New Yorkers attended the hearings over two days and thousands more made their voices heard by calling and emailing their representatives in the City Council. I like many others couldn't wait for ten hours to speak in person so I was forced to submit my testimony for the record.

Despite the overwhelming outpouring against extending term limits in this manner, the city's elites and many city council people remain committed to backing the extension for various reasons, some opportunistic, some more principled.
If you would like to make our voice heard on this issue, visit the web page of the council and submit your testimony on line or by mail: New York City Council

"My name is Libero Della Piana, I am a resident of East Harlem and the Chairperson of the New York State Communist Party.

I want to declare my opposition to Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed term limit extension.

Don’t get me wrong. I and my organization are against term limits. They take away the right of voters to determine their representatives. But remember that the measure before you does not end term limits, it EXTENDS term limits, primarily as a means to ensure another four years for Michael Bloomberg.

In fact, the Mayor’s plan is aimed at creating a one-time extension of the Mayor’s term. His side deal with another billionaire, Ronald Lauder, to head up a Charter Commission in 2010, almost ensures a return to the existing term limits.

It is clear that this measure is not in the interests of the working people of New York City. It is an end-run around the twice-passed referendum in order to ensure to the financiers and big developers.

The main argument we hear is that we need Bloomberg to save the city from the ongoing financial disaster and the impending economic crisis in our city. We do not agree that a billionaire who is creature of Wall Street is the best one to address the mess that Wall Street financial elites created.

You might believe that term limits are an abstract issue and should not about any one candidate, but we would not be facing this measure if Bloomberg was not the Mayor. This measure is very much about the mayor and his tenure.

At a time when it is harder and harder to New Yorkers to live and thrive in this city because of skyrocketing cost of housing, when cuts in city spending dig into the pocketbook of working New Yorkers, we need to oppose this backdoor move to keep a friend of the developers in the mayor’s office.

We look forward to full and thorough debate of the term limit issue. This is not it. We believe that there should be no term limits on legislative bodies such as the City Council. An argument can be made for term limits on the Executive, the Mayor’s Office, which under Bloomberg has become even more powerful.

We hope you will block the Mayor’s proposal and consider a process that allows for full public debate. Do not allow the billionaire Mayor and his development buddies do and end-run on democratic process for their own interests.

Libero Della Piana
New York State Communist Party"

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