Citizens Union Continues to Back Cuomo on Redistricting *Update*
February 24th, 2012
Former State Attorney General and Citizens Union President Robert Abrams made the argument in a press conference today that Gov. Andrew Cuomo should use his veto threat as leverage to get the legislature to agree to a constitutional amendment to reform the state’s redistricting process. Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation the sister organization of Citizens Union.
“We need permanent reform, instead of repeating the predictable cycle of outrage that only ends with the poisonous partisan redistricting system still intact,” said Abram in a statement. “Even if this year’s lines are vetoed, we face an uncertain outcome in the courts. At best, we may win the redistricting battle but will lose the war because the courts will not change the redistricting process for the future. That’s why it’s essential we obtain permanent change to redistricting now through an amendment to our state constitution.”
Citizens Union released a letter to Cuomo yesterday asking him to use his veto threat to get a constitutional amendment. Critics, including former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, say that future legislatures could wiggle their way out of any agreement on an amendment because it must be passed by two successive legislatures.
City and State reported this morning that Spitzer called on Cuomo to actually veto the lines during at an appearance at Columbia University. “The pretense that we’ll pass a constitutional amendment to require it or pass a law that will change it – the law can be repealed and the amendment won’t go through,” Spitzer reportedly said.
A deal on redistricting where the currently proposed lines would be altered and a promise for a constitutional amendment for permanent reform has been discussed in Albany for the last few months.
Cuomo has expressed his hesitance to actually follow through on his promised veto of any lines that LATFOR might deliver and Citizens Union seems to be backing him up by insisting the veto should be used as a threat to achieve permanent reform.
*Dadey says that this is a “mischaracterization” of Citizens Union’s position and the group is not providing Cuomo “cover.”
Dadey was asked if he had a litmus test for how much the lines must be changed from where they are now. Dadey pointed to recent testimony by CU but said that the lines would have to pass, “the smell test,” and be accompanied by a constitutional amendment.
Citizens Union Executive Director Dick Dadey was grilled on CU’s position on a 63rd Senate seat as Cuomo recently said he was not particularly concerned about the addition of a district that appears designed to help Senate Republicans retain a majority. Dadey said that CU sees legal reasons for and against the district and does not have a position–again seemingly positioning CU with Cuomo.By David King on February 24, 2012, 12:53 pm
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