Do As I Say, Not As I Do--Dysfunctional Legislators Protect Themselves Again

March 18th, 2012


 

By Don Glynn

Niagara Gazette

Column by Don Glynn — Sometimes the lawmakers in Albany convey the impression that they dont’ mind being called dysfunctional.

Take the thoroughly shameful scheme the legislative leaders in both parties concocted as part of their commitment to redraw  districts to conform to the new Census.

That federally-mandated population count, of course, was taken in 2010 but the lawmakers, as you might expect, waited until last week to meet the deadline they faced all along.

It’s reminiscent of a junior high school student starting a major class project less than eight hours before it’s due.

The current system for redistricting is inherently weak and partisan. And while the politicians themselves proposed the reshaping of the new legislative districts, it quickly became obvious that the self-serving maps were drawn to protect the incumbents and strengthen their support for re-election.

In a word, its’ blatant gerrymandering, an effort to rig the boundaries to gain an advantage. That’s also a sure way to weaken the vote of racial or ethnic groups.

If you recall, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo began his second term in January, he made a passionate plea for “independent redistricting,” noting that many other states refuse to permit their elected representatives decide what their districts should look like.

 In the same breath, the governor had made it clear that as part of his reform agenda, he believed it was imperative that “an independent redistricting process” produce new district maps for the state after every census” and that he would veto any lines not developed by that process.

     

At the time, countless New Yorkers agreed with their governor, that independent redistricting would help restore public trust in government.
 Late Wednesday it was still unclear whether Cuomo would follow through on his promise to veto the proposed redistricting plan that obviously does not meet his conditions.  It is common knowledge that Cuomo isn’t known for backing down.  If he does veto the new maps, then the courts will assume the challenge, a long and tedious task that will only further erode the public trust in their lawmakers.


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