Gov. Cuomo must stand firm against Legislature's moves toward the same old partisan redistricting

Michael Gianaris

July 11, 2011

The Daily News editorialized on the need for passage of an independent, nonpartisan redistrcting panel.

Defying one of Gov. Cuomo's key goals for reforming Albany, the Legislature is gearing up to shamelessly gerrymander election districts so as to protect incumbents and preserve power.

In his winning campaign, Cuomo rightly backed nonpartisan redistricting as critical to breaking the bossism that cows individual lawmakers and makes them less accountable to voters.

But now, as the time approaches for drawing the lines based on the results of the 2010 census, the Legislature has set up a commission that is steamrolling toward doing the job its way.

The panel is going ahead even though lawmakers overwhelmingly vowed in writing during the campaign to oppose gerrymandering. Among those who signed a pledge devised by former Mayor Ed Koch was one of the legislative panel's chairmen, upstate Republican Sen. Michael Nozzolio. His co-chair, Democratic Assemblyman Jack McEneny of Albany, postured as a reformer by co-sponsoring Cuomo's reform bill.

Their credibility, at this point, is shot.

And the question of the moment is how much Cuomo's word will be worth in the end.

As in the past, the governor last week said that he would veto any gerrymandering plan submitted by the Legislature. But here's how he framed the ultimatum: "I will veto a plan that is not independent or a plan that is partisan."

There's giant uncertainty in that little word "or." Would he veto the Legislature's work if he found that it kind of seemed fair? Who knows?

Read the full article here.