who elected this guy?

Term limit deal: Ronald Lauder agrees to stay
out of legal battle in return for city board seat

Erin Einhorn, NY Daily News, Oct 5 2008

Lauder has agreed to stay out of the expected legal battle over term limits in exchange for a guaranteed spot on an influential city board that would put the matter to the voters in 2010, officials said. “The voters of New York by a margin of 75% want two terms and nothing more,” Lauder said last night. “I want Mayor Bloomberg to have a third term. The city needs him.” The cosmetics titan is a crucial figure in the mayor’s quest to stay in office beyond the end of his second term next year. It was Lauder who financed the two voter referendums in the 1990s that now limit pols to eight years in power. It was Lauder who funded TV ads last month comparing politicians to diapers, saying both needed to be changed often — and for the same reason. And it was only after Lauder last week signaled his support for a one-time exception for Bloomberg because of the fiscal crisis that Bloomberg announced his bold plan to overturn the voter referendum with an act of the City Council.

When City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the mayor’s proposed bill would permanently extend limits from two to three terms, sources close to Lauder say he again pondered using his money to torpedo the plan. City lawyers thought a one-time change could be illegal because politicians would be voting on a bill that benefits themselves, said mayoral spokesman Jason Post. Instead, if the Council passes a permanent change to the law, the mayor will name Lauder to a board called a Charter Revision Commission that can put the issue on the ballot for voters to forever close the third-term option, Post said. The matter would go on the 2010 November ballot to avoid confusion with the mayor’s race in 2009, he said. “If they try to … make it permanent to three terms, they run the risk of having the voters before the next election do a referendum,” Lauder said. “And that would ruin everything.”

Critics of term limits change were furious. “The whole thing doesn’t pass the smell test,” said City Councilman David Weprin (D-Queens), who is introducing a rival bill requiring a voter referendum before any change can be made to term limits. “It’s just wrong to do it this way,” said Councilman John Liu (D-Queens). “Put it back to the voters. There’s still enough time.” Another rival bill would put term limits to voters in a special election this spring — a proposal Bloomberg said might not be legal. “Not everybody participates, and they would not stand up [to legal challenges],” he said while traveling in Berlin. A Council vote would be more fair, he said. “People who don’t want the change don’t want to give the public choice. … I would argue that that is a lot less democratic,” Bloomberg said. The mayor’s bill is said to have enough support in the Council to pass, and at least one supporter said the deal with Lauder won’t affect discussions. “Every law we pass is permanent until it’s changed,” said Councilman Lewis Fidler (D-Brooklyn).

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