At first glance, rolling back term limits in the City Council seems like an incredibly impolitic act: it would contervene a referendum, and draw down the unceasing wrath of various editorial boards and other sages.
So why is it now seen as all but guaranteed that the City Council will act to extend, if not de-limit, its members terms next year? The answer is the race for speaker.
One candidate, David Weprin of Queens, has already assured potential supporters that he’s open to revising term limits. Another, Chris Quinn of Manhattan, is on the record as opposing term limits outright. I wasn’t able immediately to determine the positions of Bill de Blasio and Lew Fidler of Brooklyn on the issue.
The point is that candidates for speaker have to promise something, and little is as valuable to people as their jobs. So look for the candidates to compete in offering strong anti-term limits proposals, ranging from the weakest, extending them another term by referendum; through doing the same thing legislatively; through a referendum on abolishing them entirely.
“It’s an issue that’s on the minds of a lot of members,” Weprin told The Politicker, adding that he expected it to wait until a new Council takes office in January. “It’s a major part of the agenda.”