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Gerald Benjamin

Gerald Benjamin

  • Defeated on Con Con, Gerald Benjamin Plots His Next Move

    Gerald Benjamin SUNY

    Gerald Benjamin


    “It was a devastating defeat,” said Gerald Benjamin, wounds still fresh from a blowout he had, in his seventies, worked very hard to avoid. “The size of the defeat upset me more than the fact of the defeat,” he added, referring to the overwhelming vote against holding a New York state constitutional convention.

    “I really think that this was a major missed opportunity,” Benjamin said by phone Monday, less than a week after New York voters decided 83 percent to 17 percent not to hold a convention to amend the state’s most powerful

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  • What’s The [DATA] Point? 1936

    whats the data point


    What’s The [Data] Point? Episode 16 - 1936, with Gerald Benjamin of SUNY New Paltz  [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    geraldbOn Election Day, November 7, New Yorkers will be asked whether the state should hold a constitutional convention. It is a quesion that appears on the ballot every 20 years, mandated by the

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  • 10 Bold or Bizarre Proposals for a New York Constitutional Convention

    voting constitutional convention


    When New York voters head to the polls on November 7, Election Day, printed on their ballots will be the question, “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?”

    A "yes" vote would trigger a state constitutional convention process that could lead to major changes to the New York constitution.

    While the first New York Constitution dates back to 1777, the version used today was adopted in 1894, with significant modifications made following the 1938 constitutional convention. Of those in support of a

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  • The Evolving Powers of the New York Attorney General

    schneiderman cuomo attorney general

    Cuomo & Schneiderman (photo: The Governor's Office)


    The office of New York Attorney General has recently become one of the most high-profile law enforcement jobs in the country, and a springboard to the Governor’s Mansion, with its own heightened powers and prestige. Both Eliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo jumped from Attorney General to Governor of New York after tenures marked by major prosecutorial victories, and there is plenty of talk that current A.G. Eric Schneiderman -- one of the leading national opponents of President Donald

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  • As Legislative Leaders Warn of Con Con Dangers, Good Government Groups Come Out in Favor

    assembly chamber via wikicommons

    The Assembly (photo: wikicommons)


    While legislative leaders are declaring opposition to a New York State constitutional convention, government reform organizations are trending in the other direction, with some who were wary of the idea in previous years coming out in support or considering doing so.

    Leading up to the November 7 vote on whether to hold a convention, the debate is shaping up around fear of what could be taken away versus hope that the public can take a shot at democratic reform.

    Republican Senate

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  • Constitutional Convention Absent from Cuomo’s 2017 Agenda

    cuomo budget address cameras

    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office)


    Though he has expressed support in the past for a “yes” vote for a constitutional convention on this year’s ballot, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s newly revealed 2017 agenda and 2017-2018 budget provide no indication that such support continues.

    Last year, Cuomo backed a constitutional convention in his lone State of the State speech, which was combined with a budget presentation, and he included $1 million in his spending proposal for a preparatory commission. Yet, this year, the issue is notably absent from Cuomo’s

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  • Calling for Efficiency, Cuomo Pushes Latest Municipal Consolidation Contest

    Cuomo red screen podium

    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office on flickr)


    Since his time as attorney general, Governor Andrew Cuomo has painted a picture of New York as a state cluttered by redundant and inefficient municipalities, attributing the state’s notoriously high property taxes in large part to a bureaucratic web of overlapping government services.

    Cuomo’s latest attempt to detangle the web is an incentivized competition challenging two or more local governments to come up with a bold consolidation plan as a way to cut spending, increase efficiency, and lower property

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  • Does Higher Pay Attract Better Politicians?

    state of the state auditorium standing

    (photo via The Governor's Office)


    After months of deliberating, a commission tasked with recommending salary adjustments for state lawmakers and executive branch employees met for the final time on Nov. 15 and did not suggest raises. The salary of New York state legislators has remained the same since 1999, and could stay unchanged until the commission meets again in another four years, as established by the 2015 law

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  • Recommendations Near, State Pay Commission Constitutionality Questioned

    heastie cuomo flanagan

    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (photo via Governor's Office)


    Recommendations on potential salary increases for Governor Cuomo and members of the state Legislature are due Tuesday, but constitutional questions hang over the effort to increase legislative and executive chamber pay.

    The New York State Commission on Legislative, Judicial, & Executive Compensation is at the center of the issue and an ongoing legal battle over the validity of the process it was put in charge of through 2015 legislation. Created as

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  • Paying the Overhead for Democracy in New York

    voting booths elections campaign finance

    (photo by Peter Duton)


    My dad Ruby Benjamin worked as a professional basketball player, a New York City cop, a hosiery salesman and, for much of the second half of his life, the owner of a liquor store on West 31 Street, between Broadway and Sixth Avenue. He loved his first two jobs, but liked the last one the best (the sales job was another story entirely.) Twelve hours a day, six days a week in the store was grueling. “But nobody tells me what to do, Jerry,”

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  • Should Everything Silver and Skelos Touched Be Reviewed?

    skelos cuomo silver

    Skelos, Cuomo, Silver (l-r) (photo via The Governor's Office, Jan. 2015)


    Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos were each told by their judge during recent prison sentencing that their corrupt actions have increased public cynicism around state government. Their corrupt actions, they were told, make people question what might have been different in the budgets and policy deals they negotiated, government decision-making that impacted millions. Judge Kimba Wood told Skelos we “can’t know” how his budget advocacy would

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