FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ADDRESSES NEW YORKERS ABOUT TERM LIMITS
The Following are the Mayor's Remarks in the Blue Room as Delivered:
"Good morning. I think the last time we had this many people in the Blue Room it was for J-Lo and Marc Anthony so…
"Let me start out with something that is very tragic and very serious. I was saddened this morning to hear of the death of Lieutenant Michael Pigott from a self-inflected gunshot wound at the NYPD facility at Floyd Bennett Field. The Lieutenant was deeply distraught and extremely remorseful over the death of Iman Morales in Brooklyn last week. Sadly his death just compounds the tragedy of the loss of Mr. Morales. Lieutenant Pigott leaves behind three children, a loving wife, and an admirable career in the NYPD. He served the Department and the citizens of New York for more than 20 years and our prayers and sympathies go out to Lieutenant Pigott's family and friends during this difficult time.
"Let me change the subject a little bit. As everyone knows who's worked side by side with me for the past seven years, I love this city - as a place to raise my family, to build my business from scratch, to give back - and I've loved every day that I have served as mayor. There is no greater honor than being able to make a difference in people's lives and for me that's what public service really is all about.
"Today, our nation and our City, as you know, face unprecedented challenges. As a businessman with expertise on Wall Street and finance, and as a mayor who has balanced budgets and delivered services, I can tell you that the enormity of the challenges ahead should not be underestimated.
"On the national stage, there will be no easy fixes. We can debate forever how our nation got here, but make no mistake about it, the $700 billion bailout is not a magic bullet; it's a badly needed, short-term, stop-gap measure but it will by no means make all our problems disappear.
"This is not a time for fantasy; that's what helped get our nation into the mess we now confront. The consequences for New York City are very real. Some of our largest employers and most established companies are in turmoil - and others don't even exist anymore. The good news is we have planned for a slow down in New York, but we may well be on the verge of a meltdown, and it's up to us to rise to the occasion.
"In recent weeks and months, as you know, I've listened to many different New Yorkers with lots of different opinions on the issue of term limits. But as our economic situation has become increasingly unstable, the question for me has become far less about the theoretical and much more about the practical.
"And so to put it in very practical terms: handling this financial crisis while strengthening essential services - such as education and public safety - is a challenge I want to take on for the people of New York. And so, should the City Council vote to amend term limits, I plan to ask New Yorkers to look at my record of independent leadership - and then to decide if I have earned another term. As always, it will be up to the people to decide, not me.
"In thinking about the challenges ahead, beyond the direct challenge of managing the financial crisis, I have asked myself: do we have more work to do in transforming the schools, greening the environment, building vital infrastructure and record amounts of affordable housing, improving public health, investing in long-term economic growth? And the list goes on. And the answer is: yes, we do have more to do, a lot more.
"Of course, there will always be more to do - I understand that. But there are times when you know a job is done and times when you feel like you're in the thick of major changes that still require hard work and careful management and tough accountability. I care deeply about sustaining the progress we've made - and finishing the job voters elected me to do.
"Now, I also understand that people voted for a two-term limit, and altering their verdict is not something that I think should be done lightly. But as newspaper editorialists and others have pointed out, the current law denies voters the right to choose who to vote for - at a time when our economy is in turmoil and the Council is a democratically elected representative body.
"The Charter allows the Council to change the law - and it doesn't favor one method of adoption over another. Speaker Quinn has always done a great job of soliciting public input and making decisions that may not be easy or popular, but that she believes to be right. And I have directed my staff to work with her staff to produce a new term limits bill. If the Council passes it, I will sign it - and I would plan to run for re-election.
"Given the events of recent weeks and given the enormous challenges we face, I don't want to walk away from a city I feel I can help lead through these tough times. My whole life has prepared me for the challenges ahead and I want to give the voters a chance to decide if they want me at the helm. If voters don't like what they've seen, they will vote for someone else and that's as it should be. But whatever the Council does, I'll remain focused on my job and serving New Yorkers and the city I love.
"I'd be happy to take a few questions if anybody has any."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
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