Thursday, February 23, 2012
New York Legislators Say No to Independent Redistricting
Lawmakers Pledge to Reform, But Gerrymandering Keeps Getting Worse (by John Avlon, Daily Beast) In New York, 186 state legislators swore to support non-partisan redistricting efforts when they ran for office in the angry, anti-incumbent year of 2010. Most came down with convenient amnesia when they got back to Albany. The brinksmanship has continued despite promises by Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto nakedly partisan district lines and the efforts of good government group coalitions like ReShapeNY (on which, full disclosure, I serve on the advisory board.) Not only are New York’s redistricting maps still not set, initial glimpses have shown the same old partisan games, with potential rivals drawn out into different districts by incumbents seeking to preserve their power at almost any cost. Mediators and judges are now looming over the legislative impasse. One key dynamic to watch is whether a deal is struck that would at least try to move a state constitutional change forward to create an independent commission in ten years’ time. The principle of short-term self-interest predictably outpaces ethics or honor. New York is one of only two states in the nation to have not yet even voted on lines that will be on the ballot this fall.