2008_10_bloomb06.jpgToday, the NY Times reports that billionaire Ronald Lauder opposes Mayor Bloomberg's and the City Council's plan for legislation to permanently extend term limits from two four-year terms to three four-year terms. But the NY Post reports\ that Lauder, who help fund the initiatives to introduce term limits in the first place, made a deal with Bloomberg where Lauder would "support legislation...in exchange for a guaranteed seat on a Charter-revision commission."

Lauder told the Times, "If there is a permanent change, I will fight it. As far as I am concerned, it’s a one-time only exception. That is it. It took a lot of emotion even to extend term limits this once. I was opposed to even extending it once." And he referred to his somewhat bombshell announcement that he wanted Bloomberg to come back for another term, in spite of his opposition to extending term limits, "For the love of this city, I will do it once, but that is it.” Gee, thanks! But anyway, it seems that changing term limits for one term only might not stand up to the legal challenge.

The Post has this Lauder quote: "I believe we can make a once-only exception. If they try to make it a permanent three terms, the voters, by referendum, would have to vote it back to two terms - and I would put my money behind making sure that happens." And, from the Daily News: "The voters of New York by a margin of 75% want two terms and nothing more. I want Mayor Bloomberg to have a third term. The city needs him."

Maybe City Councilman John Liu put it best, when he told the Post, "Obviously, one billionaire is bending over backwards to get another billionaire on board. Never before have I seen such a vivid exposure of how much control the New York elite still tries to exert." And when the Observer asked political consultant Hank Sheinkopf about the matter, he explained, “Billionaires talk to billionaires in a common language that you and I don’t understand."