DEMS LEADER CALLS FOR GUBERNATORIAL VETO (plus some other tidbits of breaking news).
Displaying a marked frustration with the troublesome reapportionment process, State Senator John Sampson (Brooklyn) today called for Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the proposed lines being pushed by the legislature’s redistricting process.
Sampson said that after 15 years in the legislature, he has seen enough of this charade. In a telephone interview, he suggested: “in the future, there ought to be an independent panel or a non-partisan commission, empowered to deal with redistricting and the overall reapportionment process”. He claims that unless this is done, we will be right back here doing this dance again. He also said that should the lines end up being drawn by federal judges then so be it. He thinks those lines would probably be fairer than the ones being proposed anyway. “Every census we come right back to square one and voters must be tired of this by now”.
Sampson’s remarks comes on the heel of threats being made by Governor Cuomo, to veto any lines he sees as being drawn mainly to offer incumbency protection, rather than being sensitive to the changed demographics of this state and other political/geographic realities. It is no secret that for decades now, both Democrats and Republicans have engaged in a form of party-protectionism, in order to maintain the status-quo. Thus they have drawn lines totally insensitive to demands from minority racial, ethnic, religious and nationalistic groups for empowerment, inclusion and respect.
In the past, legislative panels have unfairly manipulated population margins -relative to legally allowed deviancies- in order to pack members registered in one party or another into districts that offer high chances for party-election-success and power-maintenance.
Over the weekend, news reports suggested that the congressional lines will not be released this week (as promised), even though a federal judge has set a June primary date. This puts insurgent candidates at a tremendous disadvantage if aiming to challenge incumbents; and this totally undermines the integrity of the democratic process.
In Brooklyn there seems to be lots of congressional election-action. In the eleventh congressional district, the word on the street is that attorney Sylvia Kinard (ex-wife of Bill Thompson) is challenging three-term incumbent Yvette Clarke. Where is Darlene Mealy in all this?
In Brooklyn’s tenth district, veteran congressman Ed Towns is facing two challengers (Charles Barron and Hakeem Jeffries). This is probably the race of the year in Brooklyn. It will be a donnybrook. Congressman Ed Towns is in the fight of his political life folks.
There is speculation that veteran congresswoman Nydia Velasquez will also face a challenge. The name being mentioned as her adversary is NYC council member Martin Dilan jnr.
There is word that the biggest redistricting fight is over the repositioning of lines for Congressman Charlie Rangel’s Harlem-based district. Hispanic political leaders are putting heavy pressure on the process, in order to have this district drawn favorably to their demographics. It’s a black versus brown struggle folks. There has been some ethnic political in-fighting going on uptown for years. Many black district leaders -both male and female- have been taken out via elections and replaced by Hispanics, as population shifts have pocked the landscape over time.
From uptown Manhattan to the Bronx, blacks have been on the run. Hispanics have been demanding a bigger piece of the political pie for some time now. With each passing year they seem more and more emboldened; someone with stature -and acceptable to both communities- needs to broker out a resolution to this situation. For the sake of the so-called “black and brown alliance”, saner heads need to prevent things from getting more volatile.
Expect Charlie Rangel to be challenged again this year. Both Charlie Rangel and Ed Towns need to seriously consider retirement in this go-around or the next; coming to think about it: any elected who has been in office for more than a dozen years should consider retirement. What could be on Charlie or Ed’s personal political agendas that they haven’t accomplished in three decades or more? Can anyone tell me? Their supporters will never tell it like it is: “you got to make way for the young folks”. You may not like it but that’s life.
It’s time for a term-limits law that gives New Yorkers relief from these entrenched electeds -many of whom end up in prison for corruption anyway. It is time for a 12-year limit on electeds at all three levels of government. New York should lead the way on this.
In Queens, Congressman Greg Meeks is expected to be challenged by council member James Sanders. Some time aback, a Washington, DC-based newspaper called Meeks the most corrupt member of the House of Representatives. Ouch!!!!
As much as I welcome challenges to incumbents for the health of the political system, I wonder how much of an upgrade is Sanders. In 2002, he started off promisingly as a freshman council member; but since then he has only flattered to decieve. Relative to really serious issues facing blacks and other minorities in this naked city, James Sanders has been missing in action for years. I wish Ruben Wills would have tackled Meeks again. Despite Ruben’s past youthful indiscretions, I suspect that he will be more effective in Congress than both Meeks and Sanders combined. Ruben has shown lots of promise folks. He will mature more and more with time. He is worth an investment; let’s hope he doesn’t disappoint us. He ought to run.
Last month, Brooklyn-based attorney Brian Figueroux made an interesting observation when discussing the brouhaha over the redistricting process. Figueroux bemoaned the fact that every ten years, “blacks in NYC, seem to be argue, fuss and fight over new district lines; only to send more and more ‘duds’ to Washington, Albany and City Hall”. OUCH!!!!
Stay tuned-in folks: a twelve-year term-limit for all electeds in this state is an idea whose time has come.
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