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Judge Approves Thursday Term Limits Vote

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On Wednesday a State Supreme Court judge denied a petition filed by two Brooklyn council members aimed at delaying Thursday's City Council vote on term limits.

The petition, filed by Brooklyn council members Bill de Blasio and Letitia James, says that the vote would violate the city's Conflict of Interest law, as the council would be voting on the extension of term limits for its own members, as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"Granting the temporary restraining order would be an undue interference by one branch of government with another at this stage of the legislative process, said State Supreme Court Judge Jacqueline Silbermann in denying the petition. "And thus, the matter is not justiciable."

The suit claimed that the proposal was rushed and poorly reasoned, and needed to be overturned by the courts.

"This does not bear any resemblance to normal legislative process," said De Blasio at a Wednesday afternoon news conference following the ruling. "Ask the questions all along – why did it happen this way, who made which deal with who? We've never had anything like this in New York City. We shouldn't stand for it."

Last week, the city's Conflict of Issues Board ruled that holding a vote would not be a conflict.

"The board is nothing more then a shill for the mayor, in fact they are up for reappointment for the mayor of the city of New York," James said Wednesday. "And the reality is that the conflict of interests have already decided but we need an independent body."

It was not known Wednesday whether De Blasio and James will appeal.

Historically, bills are put up for vote in the council only if they have enough support to pass.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said Wednesday morning that she is confident the legislation will be passed.

"I was yesterday and I am today very optimistic that the mayor's bill will pass tomorrow," said Quinn.

Twenty-six votes are required, and with the vote getting closer, more council members are getting off the fence.

By NY1's tally, there are currently 18 council members in favor, 23 against, and 10 undecided.

Some members of the council said they would like to see the mayor's plan amended to include a public referendum.

Lawmakers David Yassky, Gale Brewer and Alan Gerson said Wednesday that they plan on calling for a public vote to be set for the spring.

"We face a financial crisis of nearly unprecedented severity," said Yassky. "We are convinced that it is in the best interests of the city and consistent with true democratic principles, for voters to have the opportunity to choose whether or not to maintain the current set of city government leaders in next years election."

All three council members said they believe a 12-year limit is better for the city, but remain undecided on the mayor's proposal. They would not say how they would vote if the amendment fails.

Bloomberg has said if the council does not approve the legislation, he will not push for a referendum.

Meanwhile, billionaire Thomas Golisano carried through on his promise to fight the mayor's proposal.

His political organization "Responsible New York" bought a full page advertisement in Wednesday's New York Post and Daily News, accusing the City Council of ignoring the will of voters.

The ad urges voters to contact their council representatives or visit the organizations website to voice their opinions.

NY1 will carry complete live coverage of Thursday's vote – both on the newschannel and online – starting at 10 a.m. when the bill goes before the Government Operations Committee. Council members will hold a news conference at 1 p.m., followed by a full council vote at about 2 p.m.

Where They Stand

See our running tally of where each City Council member stands on term limits, including e-mail links and information on which members are term-limited themselves.

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