The Term-Limits Extension Hezitorial
YONKERS, NY — October 28, 2018 — Yonkers Tribune has pointed out for some two years that the prospect for term limits to be extended for a third hour-year term was contemplated. Many people did not believe this was a plausible game plan despite the template for the efficacy of engaging the New York City Council when requested by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He won New York City Council support and was handsomely rewarded for a third four-year term. Mimicking that legal concept and construct is already underway in Yonkers, what with the Yonkers City Council’s Town Hall Forum scheduled for Monday night, October 29th at the Yonkers Ceremonial Courtroom from 7-8:30pm with regard to the “Terms of Office Legislation”.
From the onset of recognizing that the process for a City Council simple majority of 4-3 votes needed for such an approval probable, the passive-aggressive conduct of the likes of former Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick has muddied the “water”, with support among others, suggesting that a referendum can be engaged sometime in the year 2019. The prospect for such being the case is nothing but a cerebral quagmire to which there is no conclusive answer no matter the pontifications of some who are seemingly intent on derailing the process for their own “power grab” prospects. Let us explore the concept and prospect of setting a special election for a referendum for extending term limits for a third four year term in 2019.
For the Yonkers City Council to engage in a vote toward the purpose of extending term limits is a formula that had reaped its reward for the continuation of governance under the helm of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The issue was brought to the New York City Council and voted shy a few votes for extending the term of office for a third term. This vote was taken a year prior to it becoming law. Then and now, the issue is whether extending term limits is New York State Election Law or a prospect afforded by the respective city council charter, that is, the New York City Charter and/or the Yonkers City Charter. In both instances, the New York State Legislative Agenda calendar must be defined for casting such a vote. In New York City (NYC) that was not an issue but it has become a contentious concern in the City of Yonkers (CoY). For passage of extending term limits with a majority vote by the city council membership is demanded a year prior to it taking effect. The vote in NYC was only for Mayor Bloomberg to have an extension of his terms in office. In CoY, the vote would permit a third four year term extension for the Yonkers City Council Membership and that of Mayor Mike Spano.
So the vote in CoY with a majority vote by the City Council must be concluded a year prior to the 2019th Election. Similarly, if there is interest to have a referendum that goes to the voter for either a “Yeah” or “Nay”, a specific date for calling such a Special Election must be requested from the New York Legislature in 2018 for placement on its 2019 Legislative Calendar. So, for the sake of argument, CoY designates such a date for this Special Election in April 2019. Let’s randomly choose April 1, 2019 for the Special Election. CoY advises New York State that they should like to have a Special Election and request the item be placed on the Legislative Calendar. So far, so good. But alas, there is a glitch. Come January 1, 2019 or thereabouts in 2019, as the New York State Legislature settles on the 2019 Legislative Calendar, there is no law or directive that requires the NYS Legislature must abide or conform to the request for CoY. In other words, since there are 365 days in any given year, a requested any date, and only one date can be chosen, beseeching accommodation from the NYS Legislature becomes a “crap shoot” with the odds of 1 in 365. Taking a chance on a Special Election for a referendum request for extending Term Limits from the NYS Legislature for placement on the Legislative Calendar can be and is likely to be derailed by the fact that it is a numerical improbability. It is incongruous to even suggest that the New York State Legislature will defer its Legislative Calendar interests to serve Coy instead of itself. Let’s get real. Failing to have the issue placed on the Legislative Calendar would deny the Citizenry of Yonkers the opportunity to be heard on the issue.
Some in CoY suggest that they are likewise not being given the opportunity to be heard by way of a Yonkers City Council membership vote which is anathema to the most recent votes cast for each councilmember holding office except for one who was appointed to a seat left empty by the previous office holder winning a seat to another office. So can the voters now suggest they are not being well served by the members on the Yonkers City Council membership they already elected for the first time or for a second term? Votes were cast during the last election, it is too late to suggest those in the representative position in every Yonkers City District is not representative to those in the community that voted for them. Perhaps at issue is the fact that there are now disgruntled voters who were not engaged in voting last time and are now embittered and forlorn over the outcome before them. Those present contrarians today were not previously engaged and some believe their not participating in the election process is not conducive to their present circumstance and sensibilities. Perhaps that is a lesson that may inform potential “voters” to cast their vote as they deem appropriate, rather than presently whine for their abrogating their responsibility to themselves, their family, district, and city in the past.
On top of that, Yonkersites must recognize that the cost to CoY in holding a Special Election over this issue when every aspect of this process is tabulated will cost over $3 million. That’s right, $3 million. The equivalence of raising the taxpayer’s burden another 1 percent. It seems conduct and lack of planning has consequences. The Yale “legal eagle”, one Chuck Lesnick, among others, are in a stir because they have been outmaneuvered and outwitted with a two-year plan that Yonkers Tribune advised was the intentioned plan.
Lest anyone suggest they know the law, postulating one set of plausible outcomes, is not a guarantee for adherence to that one construct; there may be as many as 3 or five plausible concepts.
The ‘takeaway’ suggests that those who assert their political interests either stay engaged throughout the time from one election to the next or find themselves extraneous and lacking for having “gone fishing” from one election cycle to the next. It seems too many who aspire for public office leave CoY bereft between election cycles only to come pandering with cup in hand beseeching the voter’s support only to leave CoY bereft of any credible input from them other than an intrusive photo-op that is tolerated but despised for its false engagement with Yonkersites.
If Yonkersites want something different, they will not be denied in casting their vote for all who will run in the next election. Extending term limits is not a guarantee for re-election, neither are petition drives on Facebook, among other innocuous social media platforms in one forum or another.