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Koch emails legislators: Don't take a deal on redistricting

Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - 10:27 AM

Former Mayor Ed Koch with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (Colby Hamilton / WNYC)

Former New York City mayor Ed Koch launched the latest salvo in the deal-or-no-deal redistricting battle. Koch, who pushed lawmakers during the last election to sign pledges supporting an independent redistricting process, is calling on them now to reject any sort of deal that would see a promise to pass a constitutional amendment in exchange for Governor Andrew Cuomo's signing the lines into law.

"A constitutional amendment is worthy of support on its own, of course, but not at the expense of improved lines now," Koch writes. "That is only good for the people who are counting on Albany staying exactly the way it is for another decade, but most New Yorkers think that's far too long. Voting for anything less than a 2012 independent commission would violate the pledge that so many lawmakers signed and campaigned on.

"We know there is a lot of pressure on you to support such a deal, or there will be. But if you still stand by your original pledge, as we hope you do, you should oppose it. And if it passes anyway and Governor Cuomo vetoes it, we hope you will sustain that veto."

Koch, of course, has been burned before by those who promised an independent process this time around. This might be more of a shot across the bow of those senators and members of the assembly who signed the NY Uprising pledge during their campaign and who Koch now labels "Enemies of Reform."

The full letter is after the jump.

Dear Senator/Assemblymember,

I write you today as one of the 138 sitting lawmakers who signed the New York Uprising redistricting reform pledge in 2010. Together, we raised the profile of an issue that will impact our state for the next decade.

Now that issue is coming to a head.

There have been many discussions of a deal, wherein the same old gerrymandering will be allowed to impact our state for at least ten more years. In exchange, the process would begin for passing a constitutional amendment that would govern the next round of redistricting in 2022.

I urge you not to support this deal. A constitutional amendment is worthy of support on its own, of course, but not at the expense of improved lines now. That is only good for the people who are counting on Albany staying exactly the way it is for another decade, but most New Yorkers think that's far too long. Voting for anything less than a 2012 independent commission would violate the pledge that so many lawmakers signed and campaigned on.

We know there is a lot of pressure on you to support such a deal, or there will be. But if you still stand by your original pledge, as we hope you do, you should oppose it. And if it passes anyway and Governor Cuomo vetoes it, we hope you will sustain that veto.

I hope you will oppose the deal and/or sustain the Governor's veto if given the opportunity -- please let me know.

All the best.

Sincerely,

Ed Koch
Founder, New York Uprising

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