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Archive for February 24th, 2012


Common Cause Weighs in (Gotham Gazette)

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Susan Lerner, Executive Director, of Common Cause/NY, says a constitutional amendment to change the redistricting process in the future is not enough and that real reform must be made to the system this time around. Lerner has much more confidence in the courts’ ability to redraw district lines if Gov. Andrew Cuomo does go ahead with his veto threat than Citizens Union.

Here is Lerner’s full statement:

Read More: http://www.gothamgazette.com/blogs/wonkster/2012/02/24/common-cause-weighs-in/

Gardner: Gov. Cuomo should veto the maps (Newsday)

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James A. Gardner is vice dean for academic affairs and a professor of civil justice at SUNY Buffalo Law School.

‘No man,” wrote James Madison, the father of our Constitution, “is allowed to be a judge in his own cause.”

That very sensible prohibition on self-dealing is reliably violated during the once-a-decade spectacle of redistricting, when elected officials get the chance to draw their own districts.

Self-dealing of any kind is bad enough, but the scale on which it has been practiced by the New York State Legislature is in a class by itself. For all but two of the last 40 or so years, a corrupt deal between the major parties has kept the Senate in Republican hands and the Assembly under Democratic control — in a state where registrations run Democratic by nearly 2 to 1.

Read More: http://www.newsday.com/opinion/oped/gardner-gov-cuomo-should-veto-the-maps-1.3555481

Former AG Abrams: Gov, use your veto for a ‘permanent solution’ to partisan redistricting (WNYC))

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Calling the process poisons for democracy, former Attorney General Bob Abrams told reporters on a conference call that Governor Andrew Cuomo was in “a unique moment in the state’s history” when it comes to the decennial process of redrawing legislative district lines.

“Governor Cuomo in the campaign as candidate for governor made a pledge about vetoing lines that would be drawn in a partisan way,” Abrams said. “We have for the first time some lever of power of the legislature.”

Read More: http://empire.wnyc.org/2012/02/former-ag-abrams-gov-use-your-veto-for-a-permanent-solution-to-partisan-redistricting/

Ex-AG Robert Abrams: Fix Redistricting For Good (NY Daily News)

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Former state AG Robert Abrams weighed in on the State’s redistricting issue this afternoon — and says Gov. Cuomo’s clout should come into play.

Bill Hammond and I report:

“We need a permanent solution,” Abrams said of the once-a-decade procedure that “contaminates the democratic process.”

The ideal method, he said, would be for Gov. Cuomo to use his leverage for government reform. Should the legislature improve the current maps, give passage to a constitutional amendment and pass a reform law that takes place immediately, Cuomo should do away with his veto vow and reach an agreement with lawmakers.

Read More: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2012/02/ex-ag-robert-abrams-fix-redistricting-for-good

NY GOP senators dropping prisoner redistricting appeal (Thomson Reuters)

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A group of Republican state senators has decided to drop an appeal of a decision upholding a New York state law requiring prison inmates to be counted in their home communities for the purposes of redistricting, according to a spokesman for the lead plaintiff.

The group, led by Senator Betty Little, a Republican from Warren County, filed a lawsuit last year claiming the 2010 law was unconstitutional. The state senators, whose upstate districts include prisons, wanted to reinstate the old method of counting prisoners where they are incarcerated, a practice opponents call “prison gerrymandering.”

Read More: http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/Legal/News/2012/02_-_February/NY_GOP_senators_dropping_prisoner_redistricting_appeal/

Give voters a voice in redistricting (Times Union)

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The redistricting plans for the state Legislature designed by its own leaders set a new low in the sordid history of gerrymandering in New York.

Cobbled together behind closed doors in total secrecy, the district lines would fragment neighborhoods and sprawl across counties and cities, in disregard of local concerns and communities. To entrench themselves in office, the majority party in each chamber created these districts to avoid competition and force incumbents of the minority party to run against each other.

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Give-voters-a-voice-in-redistricting-3357371.php