City Councilman Hiram Monserrate of Corona just issued a statement opposing a legislative change to term limits, bringing the opposition vote count up to 20.
Monserrate is term-limited but is heading to Albany, having already won a Democratic primary for the State Senate seat in his district. He faces no serious Republican challenger.
In a statement issued just now, Monserrate said, "With two successful referendums, it is our duty as representatives of the public trust to listen, without complaint or excuse, to the will of the people. The decision on extending term limits must be made subject to voter approval via ballot referendum."
The inability to get Monserrate to vote for the legislation is a bit surprising, since it doesn't affect him directly, and he could have leveraged this issue in exchange for lots of city funding for his district, something the mayor is not immune to.
Here's Monserrate's statement:
CITY HALL, NY – Council Member Hiram Monserrate today made the following statement regarding his vote on Mayor Bloomberg's effort to extend term limits for an additional four years through Council legislation:
"I agree with Mayor Bloomberg that our city needs capable, responsible and proven leadership. I believe this to be true not only in times of economic hardship, but everyday. That is why our democratic system includes checks as well as balances, to ensure the continuity of our government while allowing new leadership to emerge.
Unfortunately, Bloomberg's call for an extension of term limits turns this idea on its head. His predecessor, Mayor Giuliani also proposed an extension of term limits after 9/11. Even while reeling from loss, the city's voters retained their faith in the levers of democracy, ultimately benefiting by welcoming Mayor Bloomberg to the city's helm.
Having served in the Council for the past six years, I have immense respect for Mayor Bloomberg's leadership on behalf of this city as well as for my colleagues in the City Council. Together and individually, I believe we have made progress in improving our city's quality of life, our children's education and our public safety.
However, term limits is a discussion that has historically taken place in this city as a direct conversation with voters. After listening to the many opinions of my constituents in northwest Queens and my colleagues, I believe that any debate on reform or extension must respect this precedent. I do not believe our present day scenario can or should overturn the repeatedly expressed will of the city's voters. With two successful referendums, it is our duty as representatives of the public trust to listen, without complaint or excuse, to the will of the people. The decision on extending term limits must be made subject to voter approval via ballot referendum."