Markowitz Calls for Ending Term Limits

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The New York Sun

While some likely 2009 mayoral contenders, such as Rep. Anthony Weiner and Comptroller William Thompson Jr., are condemning the idea that the City Council may attempt to legalize a chance for Mayor Bloomberg to seek a third term, Brooklyn’s president, Marty Markowitz, says he would support efforts to extend or eliminate entirely the city’s term limit laws.

“New York City has always had term limits: They’re called elections,” Mr. Markowitz said yesterday in an interview at City Hall, where he held a press conference calling for greater federal funding for the city’s senior centers. He added that his support for ending term limits would have a direct impact on his own political future.

“If Brooklynites would have me again, I would love to serve as their borough president,” Mr. Markowitz said.

According to Mr. Markowitz, keeping experienced politicians in office prevents a “faceless, nameless bureaucracy” from making key decisions by outmaneuvering politicians who are learning the ropes of government. He added that politicians’ second terms are often less effective under the current two-term system, as they must devote much of their time to planning their next campaign rather than governing.

The debate over term limits has taken on renewed urgency since Mr. Bloomberg said last week that he would consider signing legislation extending them. While speculation has largely focused on Mr. Bloomberg’s political future under a change in the law, Mr. Markowitz’s stance indicates how the prospect of a third term could alter a wide variety of local and citywide races. Some 35 City Council members would be forced from office in 2009 if the laws are not changed, and many of them are looking to run for other state and city positions as a result.

Already, two council members, Bill de Blasio and Charles Barron, have declared their intentions to run for Brooklyn president, a decision made under the assumption that they and Mr. Markowitz are in the final terms of their current offices.

Mr. Barron said yesterday that he would oppose any efforts to legislate an extension of term limits.

“A lot of people give that old line about term limits, ‘It’s called Election Day,’ but it’s almost impossible to get incumbents out,” he said in an interview. “There are too many people in office who have really rendered themselves ineffective and need to go. We need new blood and new leadership.”

Mr. de Blasio, who is on vacation, could not be reached for comment.

The New York Sun

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