New York City Council Members in the Progressive Caucus announced their opposition to Proposal 1, a redistricting constitutional amendment that will be on the November 4th ballot in New York State.
Proposal 1 would create a 10-member Redistricting Commission where eight of ten members would be appointed by legislative leaders, the final 2 being chosen by the committee. The Caucus agrees the amendment offers cosmetic changes, which don’t protect voters affected by current unfair partisan redistricting practices. If Prop 1 passes, NYC is stuck with what supporters admit is an inadequate system, and any attempt to augment it would require two consecutive votes from the legislature and another voter referendum.
If Prop 1 is defeated in November, other states and even some NY counties with impartial redistricting procedures can serve as models for New York. The Progressive Caucus looks forward to working with the Administration to craft and advocate for such model legislation. Full Release
WHAT PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS MEMBERS SAY:
“Caucus members understand that Proposal 1– if passed – would lock a flawed redistricting plan into the New York State constitution for decades to come,” said Caucus Co-Chair, Council Member Donovan Richards. “We have a responsibility to communities to establish a process that is more equitable for New Yorkers without the weak principles and political controls that Prop 1 offers.”
“Proposal 1 sets up a system that will institutionalize into our state constitution the cracking and packing that has divided Latino and African American communities in New York, resulting in under representation in the State Senate,” said Caucus Co-Chair, Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “To make progress on issues important to my community, like preserving affordable housing and stronger renter protections, we need real redistricting reform, That’s why I am voting no on Proposal 1 on the back of the November 4th ballot.”
“New Yorkers have an important choice to make this year on Prop 1, which should not be adopted. Prop 1 would enshrine in the constitution a commission whose independence the courts have already questioned and a final loophole that would leave redistricting in the hands of the legislature,” said Caucus Vice-Chair for Policy, Council Member Ben Kallos, who served as founding Executive Director of New Roosevelt, a good government group that was an early opponent of the measure.
“Proposal #1 is a setback in the effort to achieve a redistricting process that is both fair and impartial,” said Caucus Vice-Chair for Budget, Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “This proposition does little to dilute the partisan grip of party leaders on how district lines are drawn, and fails to measure up to the kind of reform our public has asked for and deserves.”
“While Prop 1 may look like a step forward, it is really worse than the current system. It sets a dangerous precedent by adding to our state constitution a committee whose rules change based on the party in power,” said Council Member Brad Lander, District 39. “I am worried that this plan takes away the will of the voters to choose their elected officials. We need a real redistricting reform plan, not Prop 1.”
“As a state judge rightly ruled last month, you can’t label these so-called redistricting reforms ‘independent’ when they do not eliminate the fundamental problem: legislators should not be allowed to draw their own districts. In fact, Proposal 1 is so weak that it would be a huge setback for our cause,” said Council Member Mark Levine, District 7. “We must demand better from Albany. I’m strongly urging all New Yorkers to go out and vote “No” on 1 this November 4th.”
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