As candidates running for city council speaker float the idea of extending term limits yet again, we are now just hearing from the mayor on the proposal. He is against it. NY1 Political Reporter Courtney Gross filed the following report.
"What it is really, it's about good government," Brooklyn City Councilman Juamaane Williams said.
To Williams, good government means three terms in the city council.
As eight men try to corral 26 votes to become the next council speaker, a familiar proposal has re-emerged: extending term limits.
But voters have decided on this before, first in 1993, then in 1996, and again in 2010.
This time is different, Williams said. "We want to make sure we are the counterbalance to the mayor, that we are providing the balance people want us to do," Williams said. "It's hard to do that when the entire body is up at the exact same time as the mayor."
Currently, all public officials get two four-year terms.
The candidates for speaker are all backing extending it to three for the city council only, a charge led by Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez.
Williams released his campaign's platform Monday. He suggests doing it by another referendum.
Rodriguez backed the idea at a forum earlier this month.
"If we can do it through legislation, I will work with my colleagues to do it through legislation," he says.
It could already set up the first battle of the next term between the city council and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"The people have spoken more than once via referendum. The two-term limit for all officeholders should stay," a spokesman for de Blasio said to us in a statement late-Monday.
Others outside of City Hall think three terms may actually be a better way to govern.
"What I think has not happened is a serious and nuanced discussion of what the pros and cons are of setting up term limits one way versus another," said Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York.
But the stigma is still there: That council members are floating the idea to serve themselves, perhaps looking to curry favor with their colleagues as they continue their run for speaker.
"If you are asking me would I do it whether or not I am running for speaker," Williams said. "100 percent, because this isn't about anything less than good government."
There would be a lot of hurdles for this type of proposal, including whether supporters would have enough votes to override a mayoral veto.