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Will it be the people's choice?

October 21, 2008 1:50:18 PM PDT
The voting deadline is now set in what has become a political hot potato. (Or "hot potatoe" if you're Dan Quayle.)

New Yorkers have voted to enforce term limits on elected City officials, and yet this Thursday, the New York City Council will vote on whether to set aside that vote and discard the term limits law. (Read more)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pulled out all the stops trying to get council members to back his bid for a third term in office. And he's made it clear that if the issue is put to a referendum for voters, he'd not run again.

And the problem is?

What appears to be happening is a backlash among New Yorkers -- according to a Quinnipiac University poll. 87% say the issue should be voted on by the general population. Yet the vote's been called for Thursday by the Council Speaker, Christine Quinn. And it seems unlikely she'd call for a vote if the Mayor didn't have enough people behind him.

We'll have the latest on Mr. Bloomberg's campaign to try for a third term, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, ABC News has a new poll out today with a startling stat: First-time voters favor Barack Obama over John McCain by 47 points -- 73-26. By contrast, first-time voters went for John Kerry over George W. Bush four years ago by 7 points.

Meanwhile, Obama is taking a time out from personally campaigning on Thursday and Friday - he'll fly to Hawaii to visit his grandmother, who virtually raised him. She is apparently "seriously ill" after breaking her hip. She is out of the hospital, and will celebrate her 86th birthday on Sunday. She was a huge figure in his life, and he talks about her, and the way she sacrificed, in his books and on the stump. You'll recall that during his "race speech" last spring, Obama said he could no more disown Rev. Jeremiah Wright than he could disown his own "white grandmother."

We'll have the latest on the campaigns, tonight at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Marvell Scott (in for Scott Clark) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

One more note: If you or someone you know has an analog TV set - the ones with rabbit ears or a rooftop antenna - and are not connected to cable or satellite, you're going to be hearing a lot about the "DTV transition." Come Feb. 17, 2009, analog signals will stop, and if you have an analog set, you simply won't get a picture after that date.

The only way to get the new digital signal, short of getting a new TV set, is to buy a converter box. The federal government is offering coupons to help pay for most of the cost of these converters. There are about 300,000 homes in the greater New York area that have these analog sets - it's a low percentage, compared to the rest of the country, but it's still a lot of households.

To help people enter this new digital age, we at WABC-TV are holding a series of town hall informational meetings - and the first one is tomorrow, at the West Side Y, 5 W. 63rd St., in Manhattan, at 10:30 a.m. I'll be there, along with some technical brainiacs from our station to answer any and all questions.

BILL RITTER


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