BIGS BACK LAW CHANGE TO KEEP MIKE
By ANGELA MONTEFINISE
Posted: 4:06 am
July 27, 2008
Big Apple business honchos want four more years of Mayor Bloomberg - and are preparing to do whatever it takes to help him stay in City Hall for a third term.
Sources close to the mayor say his deep-pocketed pals are "aggressively pushing" him to run again - his term ends in December 2009 - and are strategizing on how to change term-limits law to make it happen.
"We believe it's very feasible," said one source. "If he decides to run again, there are people who want him, and those people are planning to do everything they can. It is a very, very strong movement."
Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, said the business world considers Bloomberg its "first choice" and is primed to forge plans to help him after the presidential election.
"That's when they will look seriously at the candidates out there and determine whether or not they think an effort to change term limits is plausible," she said.
Any change to make Bloomberg eligible for a third term would have to be made before next July, when candidates for the November 2009 election need to submit petition signatures to get on the ballot.
Although Bloomberg has publicly denied that he will run for public office again, he commissioned a private poll to quiz New Yorkers on the issues of term limits and his chances for a third term.
Sources say he is on the fence and will likely make a decision in the fall.
The business source close to the mayor called a third term a "serious possibility," and said, "We will keep pushing. We believe he will run."
The city term-limits law - which currently restricts elected officials to eight years in office - can be changed through City Council legislation, a charter referendum or state legislation, experts said.
Bloomberg administration insiders have discussed attacking the issue via the Charter Commission, made up of Bloomberg appointees.
To get a charter referendum on this November's ballot so it will be in place for the following year's mayoral race, Bloomberg needs to appoint a Charter Revision Commission almost immediately.
A business-world source behind a Bloomberg run said, "City Council legislation would be the most likely" option they would pursue.
Council members who spoke to The Post were split on the possibilities that the council would pass a law allowing for a third mayoral term.
One lawmaker said, "I believe if Bloomberg wanted to run, it would be his for the taking." Council Speaker and Bloomberg ally Christine Quinn has spoken out previously against changes to term limits.
Although voters OK'd the current term limits twice by referendum - and 65 percent of New Yorkers in a Quinnipiac University poll last week said they oppose changes to the law - lengthening politicians' terms has been embraced by some movers and shakers.
"I believe in the concept of term limits," said former Mayor Ed Koch, who served three terms. "But I don't think eight years is enough. Twelve is enough."
Meanwhile, former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., now a lobbyist and lawyer, told The Post he is currently putting together a team of about 15 good-government people to lobby the public to support longer term limits.
If the issue is taken up by the Charter Revision Commission, which Bloomberg funded in the current budget, Vallone thinks he can convince the public to vote for the change, at least for the next class of elected officials.
"If the public really knew what this does, that it pits elected officials against each other, that it eliminates institutional memory . . . they would never vote for this," Vallone said. "They thought it was a bunch of politicians out for themselves. It's not."