Two years after Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council overturned the city‘s term-limits law, the third-term mayor cast a ballot Tuesday in support of reinstating a limit at two consecutive four-year terms.
The electorate voted twice in the 1990s for a cap on two terms. On Tuesday, city voters will have yet another chance to make their voice heard on this issue. Some New Yorkers — most notably William Thompson, Bloomberg’s Democratic opponent in last year’s mayor’s race — called the mayor’s stance hypocritical and self-serving.
“I don’t think it’s hypocritical at all,” Bloomberg told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “The public came to me and said that they wanted to, wanted me to change term limits, see if I could get term limits changed, serve another term,” he explained. “I said I’d be willing to spend four more years of my life helping the public and doing what I think is right so I leave my kids a better world. Did that.”
“But the public clearly wants to go back to two terms, and I said that it would be on the ballot. It is,“ he added. “The public has a chance to express themselves today. That’s what democracy is all about.”
By voting yes on the term-limits question, voters would be rolling back the law to cap elected officials’ service at two terms. A yes vote also would prohibit the City Council, in the future, from changing term-limits in any way that affects incumbents.
There is a controversial “grandfather” clause in the measure that allows elected officials currently in office to serve three terms, even if the public decides Tuesday to return the cap to two four-year terms, beginning with office holders elected this week.
If voters vote no on the term-limits question, the law will remain as is — a three-term cap.