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Independent mayor of New York seeks third term

The New York Times reports that “after months of speculation about his political future, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg plans to announce on Thursday morning that he will seek a third term as mayor, according to three people who have been told of his plans.”

However, a current term limit law is preventing him from doing so. He will be going to the City Council, rather than carrying out a city-wide initiative, to change the law. Previously, he has called an attempt to change it “disgusting.”

The Times continues:

Mr. Bloomberg’s gambit carries significant political risk. The city’s term limits law was passed twice by voters, in 1993 and 1996, and several polls show widespread popular support for keeping it in place. Under the plan Mr. Bloomberg has outlined to associates, those voters will have no say in the matter, raising the possibility of a backlash.

Mr. Bloomberg, 66, who in public statements in recent weeks has become equivocal about term limits, has discussed in detail with his friends and advisers the pros and cons of changing the law and running again. “This has been thoroughly thought out by the mayor,” said a person who has advised the mayor in the past.

The mayor’s press office, which had limited staffing because of Rosh Hashana, did not immediately return a phone call on Tuesday.

Over the last few weeks, Mr. Bloomberg has taken pains to showcase his financial experience, trading phone calls with the heads of struggling banks, like Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch and the nation’s top financial regulators at the Federal Reserve and the Securities Exchange Commission.

With his decision, Mr. Bloomberg is overruling the advice of this top three aides at City Hall — Edward Skyler, Patricia E. Harris and Kevin Sheekey — who have all told associates that they oppose a third term.

Those aides have told the mayor — at times forcefully — that any campaign to challenge the term limits law would look like an end run around voters, and could sully his strong legacy over the last eight years, according to people familiar with the conversations.

In the business community, however, the prospect of a Bloomberg third term is overwhelmingly positive. In dozens of private meetings and telephone calls over the last few months, executives ranging from the financier Steven Rattner to the chief executive of the News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, have encouraged him to seek a third term.

As the city’s economy has become imperiled over the last two weeks, support for such a move has intensified.

“He has the confidence of the business community and the executive ability to run the city,” said Stephen M. Ross, the chief executive of Related Companies, a major developer. “This is a good time for him to do this. People are scared.”

The chances of passing legislation in the City Council are strong, according to interviews. In August, a New York Times survey of council members — two-thirds of whom are scheduled to be forced out of office in 2009 — found that a majority of them were willing to amend the term limits law.

If successful, Mr. Bloomberg would be only the fourth New York mayor in modern history to win a third term.

Charles V. Bagli and Jim Dwyer contributed reporting.

If reelected, Bloomberg would hold one of the highest offices of any elected independent in the country. In his last election, he was a Republican.


  1. G.E. G.E. September 30, 2008

    How is mayor “one of the highest offices”?

  2. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli September 30, 2008

    Well, chief exec. of about 8 million people…

  3. G.E. G.E. September 30, 2008

    Good point.

  4. darren darren September 30, 2008

    Mr. Bloomberg would be only the fourth New York mayor in modern history to win a third term.

    Quite an achievement. Just the fourth? In modern history?

    In other news, today is only the fifth weekday in the past week.

  5. green in brooklyn green in brooklyn September 30, 2008

    Never mind that the voters of New York have overwhelmingly approved term limits, TWICE (apparently they didn’t believe us when we voted for it the first time). And never mind that this financial disaster and housing bubble happended on his watch.

    If Bloomberg is such a financial wizard, why doesn’t he go into the private sector, where he can play with his billions?

    P.S. – I think we (the people of NYC) would have a pretty decent case in state court to overturn any City Council runaround of the voters wishes. Any moron in the city council who votes for this (95% of whom are democrats) doesn’t deserve to stay in office.

  6. G.E. G.E. September 30, 2008

    Haha.. “Runaround” of the “voter’s wishes?”

    If the voters don’t want him for a third term, all they have to do is NOT ELECT HIM.

    This is a classic paradox of the failed God of Democracy. You expect the stupid people to enact democratic laws to protect themselves from their own stupidity.

  7. Spence Spence October 1, 2008

    So he passed on creating the ultimate scam and running as an independent to lure real 3rd-party voters in…for this?

    Well, what can I say? He even snubbed the powers-that-be.

  8. Steve LaBianca Steve LaBianca October 1, 2008

    paulie cannoli // Sep 30, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Well, chief exec. of about 8 million people…

    No, Paulie, Bloomberg is chief exec of the # of people on the New York city payroll. what is that . . . 100k, or maybe 200k people?

    May I gently remind you that the government is not the population in general.

  9. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli October 1, 2008

    Chief executive of an armed gang that claims jurisdiction over 8 million people, most of whom accept said armed gang as their overlords and protectors.


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