Three Republicans and one Democrat voted in favor of having the Manhattan district attorney investigate how three of Sheldon Silver's adult children who have homes in Brooklyn, Long Island and New Jersey still vote from his Delancey Street apartment.(1)
Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York said if the press reports are true, "then JCOPE will have failed its 1st test as an independent oversight body."
"This confirms the worst fears which Common Cause New York and others have had, that the Commission is set up in a way that encourages gridlock designed to protect powerful elected officials," she said.
Dick Dadey, the executive director of Citizens Union took a slightly different tack. He did not address JCOPE's structure, but did say a wider investigation is exactly why JCOPE was created.
"If reports are true that JCOPE is only partially investigating the Lopez affair, they may be doing the public a disservice."
As some good-government advocates appeal to Cuomo to keep his promises, others have given up on that
On April 11, The New York Times reported that a group called the "New York Leadership for Accountable Government" was cobbling together rich donors to push for public campaign financing, and targeting four Republican state senators with a barrage of mailers.
Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York, one of the good-government groups that hasn't gone along with the Andrew Cuomo's evolving rationale for possibly signing the legislature's gerrymandered district lines into law for another decade, thinks she knows what the governor is up to.
Negotiations have not been transparent, and Cuomo has demonstrated a willingness, like his predecessors, to fast-track legislation and have it voted on within minutes of being printed by using a Message of Necessity. State Senator Liz Kreuger has warned against using that expedited mechanism to move ahead with any redistricting proposal.
With the clock ticking on New York's redistricting deadline, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn thinks that any hope for reforming the process rests on Governor Andrew Cuomo's willingness to hold the line.
"At the end of the day, as long as the governor is willing to adhere to his commitment to veto any lines that are drawn in a way that doesn't project independence and nonpartisanship, then we have a shot to change the way that the redistricting process is done," Jeffries told me on Tuesday evening, as he mingled with 20 or so guests at the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Art, before a screening of the documentary Gerrymandering.(1)
The making of 'light' reform: Cuomo promised to end partisan redistricting, but now things are getting fuzzy
ALBANY—LATFOR, the legislative task force charged with drawing new district lines for New York legislators and members of Congress in time for the 2012 elections, will have its last hearing Nov. 2.
That’s where the certainty ends. It’s unclear when LATFOR will release draft maps for Congress, where national population shifts are shrinking the Empire State’s delegation from 29 to 27, how much population variation will be allowed between districts and, in the case of the Senate, how many districts there will be.
With the stage set for a redistricting compromise, reformers offer a pointed reminder of Cuomo's promise
With good-government groups suddenly split over what constitutes redistricting reform, Citizens Union and New York Uprising held a press conference this morning reiterating their call for an independent commission that would remove the ability of state legislative leaders to customize districts for partisan advantage.
"We believe that they need to remove the self-interest conflict that they hold in drawing these lines, and turn it over to an independent panel," said Citizens Union executive director Dick Dadey. "Because the power of who controls the pen at the end of this process really draws the lines. It is not the criteria so much as who, in facts, draws those lines, who controls how those maps will look in 2012."