Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he is confident that the City Council will put aside differences after its controversial approval of term limit extensions, despite pending litigation and the disapproval of some voters.
The mayor said on his radio show Friday that he is confident that despite some disagreements, the council will be able to come together to solve problems facing the city.
He said he would personally connect with every council member.
"I will call next week everyone in the City Council, no matter whether they voted with me or not, to brief them on the economy," said the mayor.
"It's not this 'good guys wear white hats, bad guys wear black hats' king of thing, life is more complex," continued Bloomberg. "I think you're going to see the City Council, no matter how they voted, come together and do what's right for their constituents since we're going into tough economic times."
The council approved Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to extend term limits to three four-year terms by a vote of 29 to 22. Of the seven previously undecided council members, six voted for the bill.
An amendment to the proposal to have term limits determined by a voters’ referendum was rejected by a vote of 28 to 22 with one abstention.
The bill allows 35 members of the City Council who were previously facing term limits to run for third terms. The mayor said on October 3 that he intends to be the first mayor since Edward Koch to serve for three terms.
Bloomberg was heckled by protesters as he left City Hall after the Thursday vote and some council members harshly criticized their colleagues for supporting the bill.
"When the time comes, hopefully, and I apologize to my colleagues, but you should all be voted out of office," said Queens Councilman and mayoral candidate Tony Avella.
Brooklyn council members Letitia James and Bill de Blasio announced on Friday that plan on suing the city, challenging the legality of legislatively overturning two voter referenda that had set limits at two terms of four years in 1993 and 1996.
That case could be the basis of another possible lawsuit. Prominent attorney Norman Siegel said he and more than a dozen other lawyers met last week, and will likely meet this coming week to discuss the best argument for a legal challenge.
Opponents also plan to argue to the Justice Department that the term limits extension may have a negative impact on minority voter participation.
In order for the new law to take effect, the Justice Department must sign off on it, a process that usually takes 60 days. The federal government will not look at the change until the bill is signed into law, which Bloomberg can do no sooner than late next week.
Two first-term council members, Bronx Councilman James Vacca and Brooklyn Councilwoman Darlene Mealy, had previously told NY1 that they disapproved of extending term limits, but then voted for the measure Thursday.
Vacca said in an interview this morning that his mother had changed his mind. He said she was alerted about term limits by watching NY1 and she then pleaded with her son to allow for a full choice of candidates in the mayoral election.
Voters in Vacca's Bronx district and Mealy's Brooklyn district were conflicted on their council members' switching sides.
“If you ran two terms, you ran two terms and it should just end that way. To make a decision after deciding no and then changing, somebody talked him into it,” said a Bronx voter.
“I think everybody does what’s in their best interest. What’s wrong with that? That’s the way of the world,” said a Brooklyn voter.
“I think it’s for a reason that she changed her vote. It’s not going to affect how I vote for her,” said another Brooklyn voter. “I still would vote for her, and I do think it’s important to have a third term for people.”
In November 2009, up to two-thirds of the council has the potential to be elected for a third term, or be voted out of office.