In ‘The New York Times,’ Cuomo’s redistricting commission loses its independence

Cuomo in the Times. ()
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Governor Andrew Cuomo has two things to say about what happened to redistricting in New York: One is that he won, and another is that he lost.

In a video message to New Yorkers that Cuomo posted online yesterday, the governor essentially claimed victory on five different fronts, including pensions, teacher evaluations, casino legalization and the expansion of a DNA database.

On redistricting, he said, "we fundamentally have reformed the process once and for all" and helped "create an independent and bipartisan panel [to] ensure a fair and objective process."

In explaining what happened with redrawing this year's lines in an independent manner, he said, "If I had vetoed the lines this year, as some suggested, a court would have passed them. And from past experience, I believe the lines would have been substantially the same."

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The Cuomo who came across in an interview with the Times, where presumably such statements would have been met with follow-up questions, was considerably more tempered in his assessment about what he and the legislature had in fact achieved.

"The governor struck a humble and pragmatic tone," the article said, and quoted him saying that his earlier position on redistricting was "asking for the moon," before settling for an imperfect solution.

The Times notes that Cuomo "backed away from repeated veto threats," a fact that isn't perfectly clear from the governor's "as some suggested" construction in the direct-to-the-people video.

The Times also refers to the redistricting commission Cuomo's deal sets up for future redistricting processes only as "bipartisan" and not, as the governor did in his video, as "independent and bipartisan."

That's because, as the Times notes, it  "would operate under the purview of the Legislature, unlike more independent redistricting commissions in Arizona and California."