The New York City Council voted 29-22 today in favor of extending term limits to three four-year terms instead of two. This means that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be able to run again next year.
Okay. I like Bloomberg. A lot, actually. He has done a really good job as mayor of New York City, in my mind, at least. So would I be cool with having him for an extra four years? Yeah, I could live with that. But my problem with these shenanigans really doesn't have anything to do with Bloomberg; it has to do with the precedent.
There is a dangerous precedent we're setting here. Multiple times in recent years, New York City residents have voted - overwhelmingly - against extending term limits. Mike Bloomberg decided he wanted to stay, the City Council decided they wanted to stay, so they decided together to change the law - away from the scrutiny of the ballot box.
We can't have our politicians deciding they want more time in office, ignoring the limits set by their constituents and then just going out and changing laws that allow them to stay in power. It's true that, come 2009, voters could kick Bloomberg out of office - but, again, that's besides the point. It's not Bloomberg, it's the precedent this sets. Even if Mikey loses next November, he will have signaled to other high-profile (and low-profile) elected officials across our country that this is the type of thing that politicians can do in America and come out of it relatively unscathed.
I'm still registered in New Jersey, but if I'm registered in the Big Apple next November, I will be voting against Mike Bloomberg based purely on principle. I'll be pissed off doing it, but he left me no choice. Literally.