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Avella’s Sour Grapes

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to try to change the term limits law so he could run again for mayor shocked City Councilman Tony Avella. More than a year ago, he announced his plans to run for mayor.

Avella has done a good job keeping his name in the news, taking on one cause after another and positioning himself as the populist outsider taking on City Hall.

Avella focused his wrath on City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who now supports the change that would allow candidates to run for a third term as mayor, Council member or borough president. "She was always behind the scenes manipulating," he said.

One might argue that "manipulation" is an essential part of American politics. It is how things get done.

Quinn reportedly will be offered the chance to serve as a deputy mayor if Bloomberg is re-elected. With her experience, she would become a valuable asset. Her willingness to work with the current administration has created benefits for New Yorkers.

"This decision is not one that I take lightly and has come with a great deal of deliberation, dialogue and debate," she said. "We are facing a global economic crisis that has led to unprecedented challenges for our city. Indications are those challenges will continue to grow more severe."

Avella replied that "every dictator used this excuse." And Councilman John Liu said: "The world is not falling apart that we need to change the rules at the 11th hour."

The fact that he compared Bloomberg to a dictator is exactly why Avella is not ready to be mayor. As Liu said: Although the world is not "falling apart," Wall Street is, and this is having a tremendous impact on the city and state budgets.

At the hearing, former Mayor Ed Koch defended the concept of a third term. He has nothing at stake in this race and speaks from experience.

Although some potential candidates will make worthy opponents, we think there is a lot to be said for keeping an experienced, steady hand on the wheel in these difficult times. Whether or not Bloomberg runs again or is re-elected, we think allowing officials to run for a third term is in the city's best interest.

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