Posts Tagged ‘Capital NY’
Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York, one of the good-government groups that hasn’t gone along with the Andrew Cuomo’s evolving rationale for possibly signing the legislature’s gerrymandered district lines into law for another decade, thinks she knows what the governor is up to.
Andrew Cuomo has shown every indication, over the past couple of months, of wishing he never promised to pick a fight with the legislature over New York’s awful redistricting process.
He’s rationalized his retreat in increments, from his warning that a court-run redrawing of the lines would result in “chaos,” to the subjective conditions he laid out for an acceptable gerrymander, to his uncharacteristic claim of powerlessness, to his criticism of an independent judge’s congressional map, to his lightly supported characterization of the latest gerrymandered legislative draft-map as “progress” from the previous gerrymandered version.
The Times editorial page comes out against the compromise deal on redistricting, urging Cuomo to “keep his word” and veto the lines drawn by legislators. The independent redistricting process set up under the proposed legislation “would enshrine some of the worst practices in the Constitution” and “almost ensures gridlock,” the editorial says.
Former New York City mayor Ed Koch hopes Governor Andrew Cuomo blocks the new redistricting bill introduced by lawmakers last night because it doesn’t improve the process until 2021.
“I hope the legislators who vote for it are thrown out of office,” Koch told me this morning. “I’m against doing what they’re doing, which is to allow the old fashioned gerrymandering this year with the carrot that 10 years from now they will have a constitutional amendment.”
Should the governor be willing to sign some version of the legislature’s gerrymandered district lines into law in exchange for a commitment from the legislature to take itself out of the line-drawing business forever after?
For declared proponents of redistricting reform, that’s the only practical question left at this point. And it has turned out to be a divisive one.
Ed Koch hasn’t been shy about branding opponents of his independent redistrict plan as “enemies of reform.” But in his latest email to legislators, he is more subtle.
The former New York City mayor has been urging legislators not to accept a compromise whereby they would agree to a permanent change to the traditionally partisan redistricting process in the future in exchange for voting for this year’s maps drawn the old way, under the control of legislative leaders.
Last night, not long after Magistrate Judge and special redistricting master Roanne Mann grilled legislative lawyers about the merits of considering incumbency, she released a set of proposed maps that seems to take the current configuration of congressional districts as a very loose template, but with some significant changes for a number of existing office-holders.
Today is an important deadline for legislative action on redistricting, which so far has been exactly the hacky, partisan exercise it has been in the past, notwithstanding the promise Governor Andrew Cuomo made to reform it this time around. Courts are now poised to get involved.
Colin Campbell collects some quotes from Cuomo showing how his position appears to have softened on the prospect of vetoing whatever district lines resulted from the legislature’s current redistricting process.
Governor Andrew Cuomo sees an inconsistency among the Democrats who are complaining about the redistricting process, but say they’ll vote for the lines anyway.
“I’m dying to see how they vote for the other house’s lines at the same time that they’re so critical and outraged, but I’m sure they’ll figure that out conveniently,” Cuomo said on Fred Dicker’s show this morning.
Next week, state legislators are expected to vote on whether to approve the legislative lines that were drawn by the majority members in each chamber. The process has been widely criticized, particularly by Democrats in the State Senate, where Republicans hold a narrow majority, and plan on creating a new seat near Albany to help them retain it.
But Democrats in the Assembly, who hold an overwhelming majority in that chamber, haven’t generally shared their colleagues’ outrage. This apparently includes some Democratic assemblymembers who have previously been vigorous advocates of reforming the redistricting process.
Roanne L. (Ronnie) Mann, the magistrate judge assigned yesterday to oversee the state’s redistricting process, is a registered Democrat, according to city records, and a “very smart, but humorless jurist,” according to an attorney who spent years dealing with her in one high-profile case.
Mann was appointed yesterday after a three-judge panel denied a request from state lawmakers to dismiss a challenge to their proposed new district lines, which was filed by voters in Brooklyn.
The governor is denying that he’s about to cave on a promise to veto the district lines produced by a legislative task force. Well, sort of.
Unnamed Cuomo aides told Ken Lovett that no deal has been reached with lawmakers that would entail him not vetoing their lines, and that he would veto the district lines they’ve drawn.
Andrew Cuomo has a test coming up, and he’s setting himself up for a deferral. It won’t matter much to him, politically.
That’s because the test has to do with redistricting reform, which is actually a substantive and important part of Fixing Albany (which everyone claims to want to do), but which is actually too esoteric and process-based for most voters to care a great deal about.
Although the legislative task force charged with redrawing New York’s district lines hasn’t released its congressional map yet, a Democratic member of the task force (who is an unreconstructed defender of partisan redistricting) said they’re “months ahead of schedule.”
Assemblyman Jack McEneny, who represents parts of Albany, said he would have liked to see public hearings throughout the state on New York’s congressional districts, and blamed a federal judge for moving New York’s congressional primary election from September to June.
On Fred Dicker’s radio show this morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that “real reform” of the state’s redistricting process would include a constitutional amendment that permanently removes the state legislature from the process.
Senate Republicans, who are currently holding on to a thin majority despite a massive disadvantage in voter registration, have dangled the possibility of a constitutional amendment as a possible compromise, in exchange for a degree of latitude in this year’s process.