Charter Review Commission Not a Slam-Dunk

I’m at the first Assembly hearing about the mayor’s new Charter Revision Commission, which, based on opening remarks here, is being viewed skeptically.

The commission, which has been a long time coming, is going to review the law around term limits, among other issues.

Assemblyman Dick Gottfried of Manhattan complained about the commission’s power to “bump” other initiatives—from the City Council or voters—off the ballot.

Gottfried said that power to bump initiatives off the ballot “can effectively shut down” the democratic process. “This flies in the face of the notion” of an “open discussion” and the system of “checks and balances.”

Assemblyman Rory Lancman said the impact of the current Charter Revision Commission means that changes to the charter can only happen “with the mayor’s approval.”

The first speaker, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, was asked what role he had in advising the mayor about whom should be appointed to the charter.

“There were none,” De Blasio said.

“Anyone on the commission recommended by your office?” de Blasio was asked.

“No,” he said.

Taking notes on the hearing, other  than me, are two members of the mayor’s staff: Matthew Gorton, and attorney Ariel Dvorkin [name fixed].