Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Redistricting cynicism?

City & State, the only publication in New York devoted solely to covering government and politics in the city and state, has an interesting article about the status and future of redistricting, and it does not seem promising.
This was the year redistricting was supposed to work. Guess what?

Everyone but the winners in New York State’s unfair system of drawing election districts agrees New Yorkers deserve better. This was the year they were supposed to get it. But nothing has changed.

In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one, the Legislature has once again drawn maps that will all but guarantee they have to split the spoils of running the Assembly and Senate.

The lawmakers who promised to do better went back on their word. The governor who promised to veto unfair lines may be going soft. The good-government groups that hoped for change have once again been ignored.


Cuomo and the Senate Republicans will survive the lie, experts predict. Republicans have vastly outraised Democrats in Senate fund-raising, and with the defection of four Democrats from the conference, there is little chance they will regain the majority. Part of an announced compromise could include a constitutional amendment, but many people doubt it will pass.

“It’s a smokescreen,” one prominent Republican said. “They always say ‘constitutional amendment’ when they want a good talking point. It has to pass two consecutive Legislatures and then put it on the ballot. There’s no way that ever happens. I wouldn’t fall for that. That doesn’t happen. That just doesn’t happen.”

Cuomo, he said, will say he did all he could.

“He throws his hands up, life goes on, next issue. A couple of bad editorials come out, the public doesn’t give a damn, and then you’ve got 10 years to recover from it,” the Republican said. “If you polled, you’d be lucky if you got one or two percent of the people that care about that.”

The consultant paused a moment, and then apologized for sounding so cynical, before predicting the way it would go down over the next few weeks.

“It’ll be two days of outrage,” the source said, “and then it’s on to the budget.”
Perhaps, if more people contacted their representatives to express outrage, legislators might be more responsive. You can be one of those people by contacting the Senate switchboard at 518-455-2800 and the Assembly switchboard at 518-455-4100. Feel free to tell someone you read about it here.