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December 10th, 2008

PLUNKITT OF TAMMANY HALL: A POLITICAL COLUMN OF AMAZING RANDOMNESS.

by Trip Plunkitt

Due to the possibly illegal City Council vote last October to repeal term limits, Plunkitt is disgusted with the following individuals (who all represent us locally): Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Bloomberg’s “Mini Me” Council Speaker Christine Quinn; Council member Alan Gerson (who even went so far to say he “had no choice” but to vote for it – puleeze!); Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (who strangely supported it even though he can already run for another wonderful four years).

And don’t forget all the council members who voted their self-interest in repealing the term limits law that was voted on not once but twice by the people of the City of New York by public referendum. Billionaire Bloomberg appears to have bought this vote with calls by his commissioners to everyone, threatening removal of Bloomberg-controlled public and private funding for their vital projects. And sources tell us most of the “undecided” council members were onboard to vote yes weeks before the actual vote and Mayor Bloomberg knew it. Shame on all of you!

The reason for this vote? Only Bloomberg can save us in this dire financial mess President Bush and his failed deregulation policies got us in. But as Charles DeGaulle once said, “Cemeteries are full of men who were indispensable.” Bloomberg – get a life.

And one of our council members, Alan J. Gerson, recently wrote in The Villager about how “we did not extend terms; we only allowed for a open election.” Clearly someone has been swimming in the same fishbowl just a little too long. He’s getting fin-rot. His extremely unprincipled position on this matter is obvious – yet he thinks he can use words like “constitutional principle” in explaining his actions and that will absolve him of ignoring the directly expressed voice of the people. How dumb do you think people are, Alan? And what did you and your cronies get for your vote?

Voters please note: you get no respect for your two referendum votes a decade ago. THEY DON’T MATTER. And politicians tell us to remember to exercise our constitutional right to vote. We did, but you ignore us!

Not that Plunkitt likes term limits. But to override the decision of the voters is just wrong, and they all know it. They stand to benefit directly from their vote. Everyone one of those who voted yes should be turned away at the polls next year. You all in Lower Manhattan have the choice to dump the four listed above in 2009. Just do it!

Plunkitt heroes include: Council members Bill DeBlasio, Letitia James (who called a yes vote an “end run around democracy.”), Eric Gioia, Charles Barron, Tony Avella, Gale Brewer, John Liu, Rosie Mendez. They all voted NO.

And kudos to the Working Families Party. Their leadership on this issue did not result in victory, but it showed principle and a respect for the voice of the people. Hopefully, the Working Families Party will not support anyone who voted for or supported overturning term limits by the City Council. You shouldn’t either.

This throws the elections next year into chaos. Candidates who were fundraising for open seats in ’09 are now scrambling to regroup. Apparently Congressman Anthony Weiner will run for Mayor; it is expected that City Comptroller William Thompson will not. Stringer will certainly run again for Manhattan Borough President, since getting any other job in government is not in the cards (his staff, the members of his political club on the upper west side, and his former supporters can no longer stand him — why should you?)

We must note here that Eric Gioia is a candidate for Public Advocate. The current Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, is apparently not running again – she says it’s because she thinks what the Council did was wrong. We like Eric even more now.

In other matters, the Landmarks Preservation Commission sadly voted to give developer William Rudin and St. Vincent’s Hospital what they want: more high rises along Seventh Avenue and the destruction of the O’Toole “Overbite” building. St. Vincent’s no longer wants this landmarked building and it will apparently now be destroyed. Note to self: It is very helpful when making a hardship application to the City to be as wealthy and well connected as Bill Rudin is (among other connections, he is chair of the Association for a Better New York, ABNY, a civic group made up largely of developers – this is the club that CB1 chair/developer Julie Menin should join). With the right friends, things can magically happen! According to the New York Times, these applications are “quite rare” — the last hardship application was approved 19 years ago.

There goes another part of the old low-rise Village, despite the good efforts of preservationist Andrew Berman. Someone should tell the City that tourists are going to have a harder time finding this neighborhood– it’s going to look like the rest of midtown pretty soon. Oh well, they are all trooping down to look at the bull on lower Broadway anyway (the statue, that is). Since the markets have been so wacky, apparently that’s the place to go.

Speaking of the neighborhood, it looks like Maria Derr is going to mount a convincing campaign for Christine Quinn’s old council seat. Unfortunately, Quinn’s still sitting in it, but maybe not for long. It is doubtful that CB2 chair Brad Hoyleman will run against his old mentor. Who knows about Andrew Berman? In any case, Quinn needs to go–now. One Bloomberg at City Hall is enough.

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