October 12, 2014 by JImbo
I know most of you aren’t local or even from New York, but there are over 300 other posts on this blog to read if this bores you. I think I’ve posted 12 times this weekend, so SOMETHING must interest you. Besides, what’s going on here in New York is instructive. The same things are happening everywhere there are corrupt, greedy politicians trying to consolidate their hold on power.
So…. everywhere pretty much.
I was asked by a concerned voter to go over the Propositions on the ballot for New York in 2014. I’m all about education. A lot of times the politicians try to make things intentionally tough to decipher in order to stop you from asking questions.
That’s bullshit, and I think you should know what they’re up to. So, I did a little digging. Turns out either a) I have no clue what the hell is going on, or b) they’re trying to snow you… again.
Which do you think it is? By all means if I’m wrong please tell me. I’m not on an elections board or a law professor or a politician. I don’t even play one on TV. I just look stuff up because I’m curious.
Two of the proposals are pretty straight forward. One takes a bit of explaining… and some head scratching. Let’s go in reverse order shall we?
Without quoting it verbatim, essentially what it says asks is “Do you want to go into debt another $2 billion dollars to put computers in classrooms?” They say “bond” but that isn’t free money. It has to be paid back. Essentially you’re taking out a loan. Which means going into debt.
The answer should be “HELL NO!” Why? Don’t I care about the kids?
Sure I do. I also care that we spend three times as much as we did in 1970… to get LOWER test scores and LOWER graduation rates.
Yes, that is adjusted for inflation. And oddly, it seems “employees” have skyrocketed. Not so much teachers mind you… but “employees.” Meanwhile, the number of students is virtually unchanged.
Hrmmmmmm. Where else in your life do you pay triple what you paid 40 years ago… and get nothing more? In fact, in some areas (say… graduation rates) the results are WORSE.
Does that seem like progress to you? What do you think will happen if toss another couple bucks at it? Massive improvement? ANY improvement?
I’m not gonna tell ya how to vote. You’re smart enough to make up your own minds.
Using just 10% of the wording, this says “We don’t need to actually print our laws before we sign them. We can do it on the computer.” That’s all they say in basically ten times as many words.
They can save paper, but not words apparently. I wonder if maybe this “saving paper” thing could bite us in the rear. With no restrictions on paper and printing costs, people will go on… and on… and on… kind of like this blog.
Anyway, this sounds pretty common sense but… then again the Governor already violated the rule to pass the “S.A.F.E. Act” gun control legislation. Here’s what the NYS Constitution says on the matter:
“No bill shall be passed or become a law unless it shall have been
printed and upon the desks of the members, in its final form, at least three
calendar legislative days prior to its final passage, unless the governor, or
the acting governor, shall have certified, under his or her hand and the seal
of the state, the facts which in his or her opinion necessitate an immediate
vote thereon, in which case it must nevertheless be upon the desks of the
members in final form, not necessarily printed, before its final passage;…”
The Governor wrote that “due to dire safety considerations” it couldn’t be printed and let sit on desks for three days. Then the Democrats dismissed the session. They sent the reporters home. Then they called back just “key people in the majority” to vote at about 2am on the measure.
Yes, it was underhanded. Yes it was dirty. Yes it was totally unethical.
That’s New York politics.
A Democrat judge dismissed the claim that the waiver was legitimate, even when most of the law didn’t go into effect for A YEAR. That’s right. Crime was so bad that they couldn’t wait 3 days… but 365 days was perfectly acceptable.
That’s not even the worst part. Look at the last part of that paragraph. At least ONE copy had to be on the desks before voting. That didn’t happen either. Still the Democrat judges said… “No dice.”
So, back to the proposal. Will it DO anything? Well, not really as long as the Governor is going to simply use his magical pen to waive the Constitution.
Additionally, it may make it even EASIER to cheat the system. Right now it says “printed and on the desks of the members.” They have to have it in their possession. (Unless the Governor waves his pen like a Jedi who is soon to be up on Federal election law violations.)
The new proposal doesn’t say “on the desk” or even “in an email.” It simply says “legislators must be able to print it.” I can just see a bunch of lawyers fighting over that.
I can see some hijinks happening where people aren’t even told “you have mail.” It doesn’t even say it has to be officially posted. So, presumably Governor Cuomo could post it on his cousin’s Facebook page and that counts as “available” since it’s on the internet. Then the Democrats would just say “Well, you just have to Google things better. It’s not OUR fault you didn’t know to go on her Facebook page and look at it first!”
Yes that would be Underhanded, Unethical and violating the spirit of the law. However, LEGAL yes. That’s just how NY politicians love it.
So, again judge for yourself. What is more honest? Having a written document on the desk to review? Or having it “available in some fashion to the member electronically?”
Your call which way to vote on that. I don’t notice any shortage of paper in Albany.. or hot air.
This is the biggie. This is where I’m scratching my head too. Maybe someone out there can help me out here.
There’s a fairly good summary on ballotpedia.org. Yet, I’m still a bit confused.
Briefly, the old rules are supposedly bad because the legislators just “draw their own districts up.” This obviously benefits them as they just include the voters they want (Democrat or Republican, etc) and exclude the rest into another district.
I know it happens. I’m not doubting that. Just look at Louise Slaughter’s 24th District.
What part of that is “convenient” or “compact” from the NYS Constitution? What the hell do the folks in Kenmore have to do with the folks in Fairport? Some are even worse.
Clearly they’re already violating the Constitution. So does it matter if I ALSO bring up that I can’t find anywhere it says Legislators get to draw those lines?
I’m gonna post there relevant section here (Article III, Section 5a).
You need to see it.
In any county entitled to more than one member, the board of supervisors,
and in any city embracing an entire county and having no board of
supervisors, the common council, or if there be none, the body exercising the
powers of a common council, shall assemble at such times as the legislature
making an apportionment shall prescribe, and divide such counties into
assembly districts as nearly equal in number of inhabitants, excluding aliens,
as may be, of convenient and contiguous territory in as compact form as
practicable, each of which shall be wholly within a senate district formed
under the same apportionment, equal to the number of members of assembly
to which such county shall be entitled, and shall cause to be filed in the office
of the secretary of state and of the clerk of such county, a description of
such districts, specifying the number of each district and of the inhabitants
thereof, excluding aliens, according to the census or enumeration used as the
population basis for the formation of such districts; and such apportionment
and districts shall remain unaltered until after the next reapportionment of
members of assembly, except that the board of supervisors of any county
containing a town having more than a ratio of apportionment and one-half
over may alter the assembly districts in a senate district containing such
town at any time on or before March first, nineteen hundred forty-six.
There are two important things you need to get from this:
“Board of Supervisors” of the County
“convenient and contiguous territory in as compact form as
I can find NOWHERE in there that says that the politicians get to draw their OWN districts, or that they can make them some weird irrational shape just to connect two big Democratic cities in one district.
Again, you can clearly see that they’re breaking the law already. Is ANOTHER law they’re going to ignore making things better? How about enforcing the damn NYS Constitution we have ALREADY?
The “Yes” camp says that appointing an “Election Commission” fixes this problem that the politicians themselves caused by breaking the law.
Hold on, here’s the kicker. Freshen up your coffee cups. This is gettin’ good.
To fix their illegal ignoring of the Constitution, those same legislators propose to create a “Redistricting Commission.” Sounds fair doesn’t it?
Well at first they wanted to call it an “Indepdentent” commission, but then they got sued for lying…. sorry “misrepresentation.”
“Judge Patrick McGrath ruled that the word “independent” must be struck from the measure’s text. He said, “[T]he commission cannot be described as ‘independent’ when eight of 10 members are the handpicked appointees of the legislative leaders and the two additional members are essentially political appointees by proxy.”(Rochester City Newspaper, Sep 17, 2014)
Yes, all ten members of the committee would be political hacks appointed BY those legislators. Let’s see. You work FOR the politicians you are “regulating?” Naw, I’m sure THAT isn’t a conflict of interest!
The solution to politicians breaking the law is making a rule change that allows people the politicians appoint to break the law FOR THEM.
Why isn’t it just “enforcing the existing laws instead, and letting the County Board of Supervisors do it for each county?”
Am I wrong? Is that not what it says? At the VERY least, how about they let the Board of Supervisors appoint a true Independent Commisssion? Then it would actually be… kinda… ya know… INDEPENDENT?
I hate to sound cynical here, but it ALMOST sounds like politicians want to change the Constitution to suit their backhanded power grab. It ALMOST sounds like they KNOW what they’re doing is wrong and want to fix it before they get called on it. It’s ALMOST as if they’re corrupt as hell and are about to get sued.
Then again, what do I know? I’m just a concerned citizen.
I’m not a professional politician. I’m not a lawyer. I’ll leave it up to you to decide how to vote on that one. I have faith New Yorkers (if educated) will vote the right way on this issue. I just have no faith that anyone will explain it to them.
Kinda defeats the purpose doesn’t it?
Oh, and so you can do your own research: