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Term limits choice flawed, CB 12 chair tells residents

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The head of Community Board 12 in southeast Queens is urging voters in her district not to approve the term-limits measure that is going to be put on the ballot this November because it fails to repeal the term limits extension enacted by the City Council in 2008.

During the board’s monthly meeting at the Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center in St. Albans Sept. 15, Chairwoman Adjoa Gzifa said she was disappointed with the Charter Revision Commission’s final decision on term limits for City Council members, borough presidents, the city comptroller, the city public advocate and the mayor.

Under the plan, any elected official who assumes office after Nov. 5, 2013, will be limited to two consecutive terms and under no circumstances would that limit change. Incumbents elected before that date, however, can legally run for three consecutive terms.

Gzifa, who attended the charter revision commission hearings during the summer, said she was appalled by the grandfather clause and implored the commission to roll back the term limit extension for sitting officials.

“I think the charter revision has to reconsider what it’s saying. If the law is limited to two terms, they should institute it for all members,” she said last Thursday after the meeting.

The proposal is set to be on the ballot for the Nov. 2 election. Voters twice approved two-term limits on the elected officials in public referendums, in 1993 and again three years later.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, citing the recession and a need for stable leadership, pushed for a measure in the Council to extend term limits for himself and Council members. He and several incumbents went on to be elected to third terms in the 2009 election.

Gzifa said residents in southeast Queens were displeased with the 11th-hour decision to change the limits because they wanted new leadership. The voters in the area shared this mindset, according to election results, as Bloomberg was outpolled by his Democratic rival William Thompson in most of southeast Queens last year.

“They did not take into consideration what people wanted, and they just appeased the mayor and his cronies,” Gzifa said of the charter revision commission.

The chairwoman said the best way for people to get their voices heard was to go to the polls again and vote against the proposal. She said she would like the commission to revise its plan and bring it to another vote.

“I encourage you to read the charter revision’s notes and understand what the question is asking,” she told the board.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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