No one likes how term limits were overturned, not now and not back when City Council Speaker Christine Quinn led the Council to overturn them back in 2008. So it's no surprise that the move has cast a pall on Quinn's mayoral campaign—but there are interesting new details about how it happened.
Quinn had been against overturning limits until she actually overturned them, and rivals Bill de Blasio and Bill Thompson have criticized her for doing so. The NY Times reports, "...A close-in examination suggests that her reversal was an act more of self-preservation than of favor-trading, driven by intersecting motivations: avoiding the wrath of term-limited Council members who could undermine her speakership, distancing herself from an embarrassing scandal over City Council budgeting that had damaged her own mayoral prospects and, above all, protecting a political identity that hinged on a working partnership with the popular Mr. Bloomberg."
And when Bloomberg called Quinn in fall 2008 about wanting a third term, "it was to tell her of his decision to rewrite the law, not to seek her approval beforehand, she said in an interview last week. Ms. Quinn did not object. Asked about her reply to the mayor, she said, 'I didn’t have much of one.'"
Why did Quinn support Bloomberg's push? It was the economy, stupid! She told the Times, "We were in the worst economic recession since the Great Depression and nobody had any sense of how quickly or how long we would stay in the throes of that."
A Council source told the Daily News, "At the time, her feeling was that being seen as Bloomberg’s ‘deputy mayor for the City Council’ was a positive... Even if she loses now, it was a good move for her. Four years ago, she would have lost four years sooner." Ouch.
Anyway, Quinn told the News, "When you make a tough decision as an elected official — one that you know is unpopular — you expect it is going to have repercussions. I stand by it, and I accept the political repercussions." Of course, the repercussions, besides voter mistrust, are getting the endorsements of the three dailies.