Thursday, January 11, 2007

Gov. Spitzer serious about redistricting Editorial

"After only a few days in office, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is already preparing for an important political battle with Albany's most powerful Republican, Senate majority leader Joe Bruno.Way back in 2005, Spitzer unveiled a proposal to establish a nonpartisan commission to re-draw the lines for legislative districts.
He reiterated that stance last week and has vowed to veto any proposal created without an independent commission.The process of determining legislative districts is presently left to the whims of the majority parties. Republican senators, therefore, and Assembly Democrats have been allowed to establish districts that include a greater number of registered voters supporting their party over the other.The system - while determined to be legal - gives an unfair advantage to incumbents, who are very rarely voted out of office in the state.Bruno, of course, will try to protect himself and his fellow Republicans. Since Republicans have controlled the Senate since 1965, they will do whatever they can to keep the current system in place.And the same may be true for Assembly Democrats. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has said he's open to talking about redistricting, but we predict he'll find plenty of fault with legislation aimed at establishing a nonpartisan commission.An independent commission on redistricting is the right thing to do.Too many voters are being left with no power because of the district lines incumbents have carefully placed around them.Legislative districts should be comprised of geographic areas encompassing cities and towns with common needs and goals, not developed solely on the population of registered Democrats and Republicans.While the next mandatory redistricting is still several years away, it's clear that Spitzer is serious about making it a more fair process. And we'll continue to question the motives of anyone who stands in the way." This is going to be one hell of a battle between Spitzer and the Legislature........fasten your seat belts...heavy duty political turbulence ahead......andy

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