Thursday, August 12, 2010

NYC Charter Revision Commission: Yes on Term Limits, No on Top Two Nonpartisan Elections

Photos are from last night's NYC Charter Revision Commission meeting at Baruch. After a "spirited debate" on term limits and votes on 3 different proposals that failed to pass, the commission decided to put a measure on the ballot that will allow voters to restore a 2-term limit for city offices (city council, boro presidents, mayor, comptroller and public advocate) but that would not affect the council members who were elected under the 3-term "extension" that was engineered by Mayor Bloomberg and City Council last year. Is it just me, or do you too feel a little breeze on your face from a back-hand motion?  Hmmmm.... Boy, do we need nonpartisan elections, or what!?  

Speaking of which, Commissioner Goldstein repeated his mantra on the hard-fought "top two" proposal recommended by Citizens Union and supported by the NYC Independence Party and many black and Latino community leaders throughout the city: needs more study. No one else on the commission chose to speak on the issue. End of (commission) discussion. 

The commission voted to sort of slightly improve the Fair Share section of the charter but omitted power plants from the language. Fair Share is the part of the charter that could address the gross disparity that puts harmful waste disposal and pollution-producing plants in poor neighborhoods.

Living with this commission and its process for the past six months has been very growthful for New York City voters, I think. The people spoke. We came together -- independents, youth, election law attorneys, government watchdogs, university professors, ordinary people black, white, Latino who truly represent our communities -- and we engaged ourselves, if not the commission, in powerful dialogue about what we need in this city to go forward. Let's continue the conversation--it's going on all over the country!

  • Editorial: Don't Discount the Weight of Primaries (by Dennis Maley, Bradenton Times - FL)
  • Some Lawmakers Push To Close Primary To Some Voters (Reported By Cara Kumari, WSMV NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- ) "Right now you can go on Election Day and say, 'Today I'm a Republican,' and then next year you can go in and say, 'Today I'm a Democrat,'" said Rep. Debra Maggart, a Republican from Hendersonville. But some lawmakers are discussing closing primaries. Two years ago, state lawmakers proposed a bill to require party registration to vote in a primary. It was sparked by concerns of what's called crossover voting.
  • City of Bell salaries: Robert Rizzo is only a symptom (By Ben Boychuk, LA Times) What ails our state is a sclerotic, dysfunctional, largely unaccountable "progressive" system of government, the roots of which date back more than a century. In the quest to purge politics of corruption, cronyism and the undue influence of "predatory" special interests, "reformers" have erected an activist, bureaucratized and centralized administrative state.
  • Concern Over Centrists as G.O.P. Leans Right (By JEFF ZELENY, NY Times) The results leave Republicans facing a critical question heading into the general election: Can the added enthusiasm of their conservative base for the insurgent candidates offset a potential loss of appeal to independent and centrist voters? Senate primaries in Colorado and Connecticut on Tuesday, where the preferred choices of the Republican establishment lost, have given fresh hope to Democrats that Republicans may not be able to fully capitalize on a favorable political environment.

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