Posts Tagged ‘constitutional convention’

GET EDUCATED ON THE UPCOMING NYS BALLOT ISSUE ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
Featuring
Erika Lorshbough, NYCLU, Legislative Counsel
And
Laura Bierman, League of Women Voters of NYS, Executive Director

MONDAY, OCTOBER 30 AT 6 PM
ALBANY PUBLIC LIBRARY
161 WASHINGTON AVENUE

We will hear the Pros (LWVNYS) and Cons (NYCLU) of voting on whether or not NYS should convene a Constitutional Convention in 2018.

Sponsored by
NYCLU, Citizen Action and LWVNYS

* The event is free and open to the public. *

There’s an article from the Rockefeller Institute of Government called Why New York Needs a Constitutional Convention, which notes:

“Every 20 years, New Yorkers have the chance to vote on whether to hold a constitutional convention (known as a ConCon). The next vote will be held this November. If the voters approve a convention, delegates will be elected in November 2018, and the convention will open in April 2019.”

Here’s the odd thing: I agree with almost everything the writers are saying about a need for a ConCon. Yet I disagree about actually conducting one.

On the affirmative side:
Are you satisfied with the way the state is governed? Surely not.

“New York:
“Has a persistent culture of corruption. Albany thrives on a pay-to-play culture that has seen: four temporary presidents of the Senate since 2008 charged with (and three convicted of) some form of public corruption; the convictions on corruption charges of one of those temporary presidents, Dean Skelos, and the speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, within weeks of each other.” The fact that Silver and Joe Bruno’s convictions were overturned barely mitigates this mess.

“Has close to a 90 percent incumbency rate for members of the state Assembly and Senate. More legislators leave office under indictment, conviction, retirement, or death than by losing elections! District lines are drawn in ways that not only favor one party or the other, but insulate most incumbents from primary challenges as well.

“Does anybody really believe that a legislature benefiting from the current power structure and anxious to retain that power would adopt, or even seriously consider, institutional reforms such as…
an independent redistricting commission that would end political gerrymandering…;
an independent Moreland/Ethics Commission?”

On the other hand:

“…the political insiders and lobbyists… view the convention as a great opportunity to rewrite the current Constitution to their own benefit, while making a huge profit in the process. The constitutional convention takes place over several years—while the taxpayers… are footing the bill for the delegates’ election and salary—at an estimated cost of $200 million…

“Any approved amendments will not take effect until at least 2020 and beyond. Delegates will be paid a salary of $80,000 a year (in addition to their other income). Because delegates are elected to their positions, many will be elected officials or politically savvy insiders who are familiar with the techniques and demands of the political process, such as fundraising and campaigning.” That’s what happened the last time, in 1967.

“The argument that the convention provides an opportunity for ‘fresh eyes’ and ‘outsiders’ to participate in government is not the reality. Instead, the reality is that a constitutional convention would be controlled by well-funded special interests, such as… career politicians, and it will put the ‘”foxes in the hen house.'”

There’s a BIG problem in New York, but the solution might well be worse than the disease.

There has been an annual Tulip Festival in Albany on Mother’s Day weekend for decades in Washington Park in Albany. If I go these days, it’s always been on Saturday, because Sunday involved us driving to somewhere south of here to have dinner with my various in-laws.

But THIS year, my parents-in-law were in Florida that weekend, and since the Saturday weather was pretty rotten, we went after church. We listened to some music; Radio Disney’s version of White Room was OK instrumentally, but not so much with the teenage female vocalist. We ate some food, went to some vendors.

How the city gardener gets the various plants to usually come up at just the right time is impressive. My buddy Chuck Miller took some nifty photos of the flowers here and subsequently.

My favorite part is going to the activist ghetto, where the school district, some religious organizations, environmentalists, and more are set up. In November, New York State is going to vote on whether there shall be a constitutional convention. The NY Civil Liberties Union and others, such as the ad hoc No New York Convention.org against it, noting that the LAST time this was held, about 50 years ago, most of the people selected as delegates were sitting politicians. Plus the ideas they came up with were voted down by the voters.


We saw this scene after the Tulip Festival on the way back to the car, in a window on State Street in Albany, the photo taken by the Daughter. It made us wonder about the back story. Who put up the sign first, and was the second sign in response? Are these adjoining apartments, or posters in the same one?

Which reminded me: My friend Sarah and her husband Darin were recently interviewed as part of series on married couples with divergent political views. The producer was particularly interested in the incident in which she unfriended him on Facebook. “Better that way,” she says, and that is certainly true. Oddly, I’m still FB friends with him, but I usually stick with comments about minor league baseball player Tim Tebow.

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