Redistricting Court Aftermath: New Yorkers are Blind to How Albany Weakens Their Voice - The Jewish Voice
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Monday, July 4, 2022

Redistricting Court Aftermath: New Yorkers are Blind to How Albany Weakens Their Voice

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By: Gary Tilzer

As a result of the 2022 redistricting New Yorkers will be voting on Assembly Districts that are illegally drawn, and in two different primaries, which assures lower turnout and less challengers to elected officials already in office. Candidates only have five days from the time the new Congressional and State Senate lines were released on Monday, to start collecting petitions, not an easy task for challengers. Only incumbents and political insiders have the funds, political resources, and experience to quickly put together a quick campaign and successful petitioning effort. The maps just released by the courts shows major changes coming to NY’s congressional delegation, but unless a red wave hits the state and the State Senate is again controlled by the Republicans, or if three New Yorkers win their lawsuit to redraw the Assembly lines this year, Albany will continue to operate in its same dysfunctional, disconnected and pay to play way.

Albany, which is increasingly known for giving breaks to those who violate the law, now includes illegal redistricting that violated the will of the voters who voted in 2014 for a Constitutional Amendment calling for independent redistricting. Elected officials who voted for the illegal districts, have a better chance of getting reelected because of the lower voter turnouts expected by holding two separate primaries, favors incumbents. The added primary on August 23rd is needed to give the federal court time to independently redraw the unconstitutional Congressional and State Senate lines. In 2012 when the court ordered the redrawing of the Texas redistricting lines, that state legislature did what Albany refused to do, schedule a single primary to give the voters a fair voice at electing their choice for congress. Albany won’t move the June 28th primary to August 23rd because it would give challengers additional time to organize their campaigns.

Sharing the shame and blame for this year’s election chaos with Hochul, Heastie and Stewart-Cousins are Assemblywoman Latrice Walker chief sponsor of the no bail law, and State Sen. Zellnor Myrie who ran as a progress promising to change Albany, both legislators are chairs of their houses election’s committees. They all wag a finger at states that block voter access to the polls while giving the finger to voters in their own backyard.

The Daily News Editorial wrote: “Albany insults democracy: Even Texas had the good sense to consolidate primaries when a gerrymandering court ruling set different primary dates. The Texas legislature made sure their voters didn’t end up with a split primary, a nightmare scenario wasting public money and discouraging voter participation, which in NY means the elected officials who voted for the gerrymandered lines will be helped by the low turn-out which always helps incumbents. . . Heastie’s lawyer told the court that it doesn’t matter that the proposed Assembly lines — which the state’s highest court said were the product of a rotten process that violated the will of the people — remain in place for the next decade. Is this a banana republic?”

A decade ago, New Yorkers were quick to attack Texas Republicans redistricting plan as an attack on that state’s democracy. This year NY’s elected officials are going after Florida clear voter suppression of minority congressional districts.

Sadly, the media, whose members are mostly liberal, have not explained the real effects of the illegal Democrat controlled redistricting on New Yorkers. As a result, most of the voters are clueless that elected officials used redistricting to weaken their voice. However, not as much as they wanted thanks to upstate Steuben County Republican Judge Patrick McAllister and four of the seven Democrats judges on the Court of Appeals, who prevented gerrymandering of the Congressional and State Senate line. Supreme Court Justice Patrick McAllister closely read the state Constitution, which apparently no one in Albany had. The Court of Appeals ruling did not apply to Assembly Districts because the Republicans who brought the suit had not formally challenged them.

 

They Say Everything’s Bigger in Texas, But Hypocrisy is Bigger in New York

The absence of outrage from community leaders who apparently do not understand that the cause they are organizing for is becoming less likely to succeed, because Albany incumbents used redistricting to give themselves more power. New Yorkers simply do not understand that elected officials are intentionally weakening their say in government, to better their chance at reelection. The media covers when the primaries are being rescheduled or the shape of the new districts but does not investigate why unconstitutional district lines were drawn and the results of what those gerrymandered lines do to the voters and interest groups and their ability to influence their elected officials.

There was no discussion by anyone, including the media, on how to use the 2022 redistricting to fix NY’s broken dysfunctional undemocratic election system and disconnected government from the voters. Albany got away with ignoring that over 65% of the city’s residents and the mayor wanted changes to the bail laws. The power of safe districts from past political redistricting lets legislators win without fixing the crime crisis. The Albany gang was confident they could get away with gerrymandering because progressives who promised power to the people when they won elections, have joined the incumbent protection party, by voting to pass unconstitutional redistricting to become law that cheats the voters of their full voice over government.

 

In the Past Town Halls Ran Government, Today It Makes Someone or Interest Groups Feel Good Giving them False Sense of Accomplishment

Elon Musk calls Twitter posts the new Town Hall. Twitter posts by issue activists or concerned New Yorkers does not affect elected official’s reelection chances. Its chief value is that it makes one feel psychologically good to promote your beliefs, issues, and distain for politicians you disagree with, or think are incompetent. You would hope that those environmental leaders fighting to save the trees from de Blasio bulldozer in their eastside Manhattan park, who wanted their elected officials to save the 419 oaks, 284 London planes, and 81 cherry trees, would speak out against the unconstitutional redistricting which took away their ability to pressure the lawmakers, nope. The only comment about the redistricting tweets from the “save the trees” groups was one that questioned why the NY courts who declared the congressional gerrymandered lines unconstitutional, did not stop the cutting down of their park’s trees.

It was not only “save the trees” activists that were silent on redistricting, other groups did not seem to understand how unconstitutional redistricting, empowering incumbents, hurt their chances to gain support in government for their cause. Groups fighting crime and bail laws, the people from SoHo and other neighborhoods trying to stop real estate zoning, and parents fighting UFT’s lobbyists and campaign contributions for better schools, don’t seem to understand the loss of power redistricting caused to pressure elected officials.

 

The NYS Legislature is Bypassing Voter’s Needs By Hostage-Taking of Mayoral Control of City Schools and Traffic Cameras 

Even the Mayor is hurt when Albany elected officials who face easy reelections do not feel the need to listen and protect the voters who put them in office. Nobody who cares about the future of our city’s children would believe it is an option to return control of the schools, to the corruption and education failure of the old Board of Education. Yet the Albany legislature does not want to renew control of NYC schools to the mayor, without strings attached. The strings are meant to give hidden control to the teacher’s union. Do the elected officials in Albany represent parents who elected them, who want their children to have good education or the UFT, which contributes to their campaigns and whose lobbyists run their reelection? Every school parent knows the sad answer to that question.

Despite clear evidence that speed cameras have proven to reduce driver speeding, 21-year-old NYU student Raife Milligan was killed last week by an intoxicated driver. Albany still refuses to end its requirement that the intersection where Milligan was hit and scores of other deadly intersections throughout the city, cameras must be shut off at night or do not have permission to operate at all. The vast majority of deadly crashes occur during times of day or locations where cameras are not permitted, according to DOT’s analysis. The head of Transportation Alternatives, Danny Harris, who lobbied Albany to turn on the cameras 24/7, is another one of the city’s issue leaders that was silent during Albany’s incumbent protection redistricting power grab, which made the legislators less likely to listen to his group’s demands to make our streets safer.

The Albany one-party redistricting gang got tripped up by the state’s court because of language included in the Constitutional Amendment that said, “redistricting lines cannot be drawn to discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents.”

The Albany spin machine led by elected officials, lobbyists, and other insiders who do each other pay to play favors, blasted Adams’s State Capitol representatives as being unorganized. The media stenographer the spinners press releases, blaming the mayor’s Albany operation for the cameras continuing to be shut off at night and a delaying renewal of mayoral control of the city’s schools. You would think the media would be suspicious of any political spin or ask themselves are elected officials serving the needs of the voters who elected them, by not making the streets safer and schools better?  How come the media never considers the UFT (the union pushing for the string to protect its members) who contributes to the incumbent reelection campaign and whose lobbyists run PACs that work for their reelections? Sadly, the media is easily fooled by insider spin designed to protect insider special interests’ control over elected officials: NY Post May 10th ‘Not a well-oiled machine’: Critics slam Adams’ Albany efforts on city priorities.’

@ZackFinkNews Twitter: @NYCMayor wants more speed cameras, but his Albany strategy for getting them has fallen flat.

 

How Albany Swamp Intentional Gerrymandering Was Calculated and Well Planned and Showed Their Competent for the Public

In 2014 after the outraged caused by the 2012 legislature political redistricting of the Assembly and State Senate lines, the “three men in the room,” Cuomo, Silver and Skelos wrote the language of the Constitutional Amendment for an Independent Redistricting Commission, that was so full of holes, it was easy for the 2022 elected leaders to bypass the commission to write the lines that protected its favored members.

Want more proof of the depth of Albany’s swamp war against the voters who put them in office?  Republican Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay made a deal with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to protect his incumbent members, because he told the Court of Appeals he wanted to keep the gerrymandered Assembly lines.

NY Daily News: “Judge McAllister was right to ask if there was a Heastie-Barclay deal, as the state Constitution says that “districts shall not be drawn to discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents.”

In the past when the Democrats and Republicans shared power in Albany, the late journalist Sid Zion wrote that our “state government is controlled by two parties against the people.” Zion understood that elected officials only care about one thing, getting reelected, and they will use anything, including government funding to friendly nonprofits and redistricting as their main tools to create safe seats for their incumbent members.

 

Redistricting to Cut Out Competition, Debate, and Our Democracy

Political redistricting map drawers cut out areas of elected officials’ district, which do not support them, assuring them easy reelection, even if they ignore their districts problems and the needs of their district’s voters. Judge McAllister is already overseeing new maps for Congress and Senate. To allow time for the drawing, he moved those primaries from June 28 to Aug. 23. Let’s hope the voters somehow learn how their elected officials tried to steal their democracy, get as “Mad as Hell,” and come out to vote in two primaries and show “They are not Going to Take It Anymore.”

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the Southern District of NY denied the national Democrats’ lawsuit and ruled to stop the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee request to use New York’s tainted unconstitutional maps, because it was too late to fix them. Citing his father, a Ukrainian refugee, the federal judge warned that agreeing with the Democrats’ arguments “impinges on the public perception” of free elections.

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