Former Mayor Koch and his group New York Uprising, convinced numerous state lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, to sign a pledge during the last election campaign, saying that, if elected, they would pursue non partisan redistricting reform.
Now, Koch says, Skelos is breaking that promise because Senate Republicans prefer to pursue a constitutional amendment to reform the drawing of legislative and congressional district lines. That process would not be completed until well after the 2012 deadline for the new lines, meaning there would be no end to gerrymandering for another decade.
“At this moment, he is an enemy of reform who has betrayed his integrity by refusing to carry out his written pledge agreement,” Koch declared.
Koch says he will begin robo calling voters in as yet- unnamed Senators’ districts, just in time for the start of spring break, when legislators will be home to face questions about the calls.
“They’re very cheap,” Koch said.
Senator Skelos, in a pre-emptive letter sent to Koch, says the GOP has made an “honest” attempt to fulfill their pledges, and says Senators have constitutional concerns about passing law without a corresponding change to the state’s constitution. Skelos says he’s disappointed that Koch’s “well meaning crusade” for public reform has “devolved into a series of increasingly bitter personal and partisan attacks”.
The Senate Leader points out that during the two years the Democrats controlled the Senate chamber, they never acted on a redistricting reform bill at all.
- Karen DeWitt