Former Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV told The Politicker he doesn’t really think Mayor Bloomberg will go to jail, but he’s still outraged about the maneuvers the mayor made to secure a third term. Mr. Powell also discussed his future political plans.
Last week, Mr. Powell said Mayor Bloomberg would be sent to prison in an El Diario roundup of year-end political predictions. “Bloomberg won’t finish his third term. He’ll be charged and sent to jail, and Bill Thompson will win a special election for mayor,” Mr. Powell said in remarks translated from the original Spanish.
Mr. Powell clarified his comments in a conversation with The Politicker this afternoon.
“Another prediction–I’m going to go to Albany and lobby this year so they can enact a new charge in the penal code called obstruction of democracy for getting himself a new third term and for the eviction of the Occupy Wall Street protesters,” Mr. Powell said before quickly adding, “Obviously, I’m kidding about all this.”
Though he doesn’t actually think the mayor will be charged with anything, Mr. Powell thinks it was unforgivable for the mayor to pursue a third term.
“I have never, in my 25 years of politics and government, I have never seen something so undemocratic as what Bloomberg did to change the charter to allow himself to run a third time by saying the city was in tough economic times and ‘I’m the best one to do it,’” Mr. Powell said. “That’s so arrogant and undemocratic.”
In 2008, Mayor Bloomberg got the City Council to sign off on an extension in the city’s term limits law that allowed him to seek a third term because he said his expertise was needed due to the financial crisis. At the time, Mr. Powell backed a proposal that attempted to block Bloomberg’s third mayoral bid by requiring a public referendum before extending term limits in New York City. However, Mr. Powell said he’s not personally opposed to getting rid of term limits.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m against term limits, but this is what the people asked for twice,” Mr. Powell said.
Voters initially upheld a limit of two four year terms for city elected officials in a public referendums held in 1993 and 1996. The extension of the term limits law that allowed Mayor Bloomberg to win his third term in 2009 was eventually reversed by another public referendum in 2010.
In addition to his thoughts on Mayor Bloomberg, Mr. Powell also discussed his political future with The Politicker. Mr. Powell gave up his Assembly seat in 2010 to mount an unsuccessful primary challenge against Congressman Charles Rangel. Mr. Powell previously attempted to unseat Congressman Rangel in 1994. Congressman Rangel also defeated Mr. Powell’s father, civil rights leader and former Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., in 1970.
In the past, Mr. Powell has expressed interest in running for Congressman Rangel’s seat again, but with the congressman not planning to retire, Mr. Powell doesn’t think he’ll enter the next election.
“I’m not saying 2012, I prefer waiting. You never know what’s going to happen with the lines, they’re being drawn as we speak,” Mr. Powell said. “Rangel’s already made mention he’s going run. I’m not going to challenge him.”
Though he probably won’t throw his hat in the ring in 2012, Mr. Powell left open the possibility he’ll make a run for Congress again further down the road.
“Most likely, I won’t run, but in two years, four years, we’ll see what happens,” Mr. Powell said.