The Senate Democratic minority is out with a news release touting results of today's Quinnipiac poll that shows three out of four New Yorkers would prefer a change in the way the state redraws its political boundaries.
Half of respondents said they wanted the state to create an independent panel to draw district lines (districts are supposed to have roughly equal population, so every 10 years the state has to go back to the drawing board to account for population changes). A quarter said they wanted an independent panel with legislator input. Only 13 percent said that they favor the current method: letting lawmakers decide on the lines.
Critics argue that legislator-drawn districts favor incumbents at the expense of logical lines.
“The results of this poll make it clear that New Yorkers are sick and tired of politicians who will say one thing to get elected and do another once in office," said Senate Democratic spox Mike Murphy in a news release. "Now is the time to make it clear that we will put the needs of the public before the interests of the political elite. The Senate Democratic Conference stands ready to go back in session and immediately pass independent redistricting. The Senate GOP must honor their promises to the voters of New York.”
That promise that Mr. Murphy is alluding to, by the way, came in the form of a pre-election pledge circulated by former New York City Mayor Ed Koch. Sens. Joe Griffo and Patty Ritchie, and Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, all Republicans, signed the pledge, which said they'd change the way New York draws its boundaries. But when the time came for the Senate to pass a law that would have taken the power out of the hands of the Legislature, they balked, saying that they'd prefer to change the law via a constitutional amendment — a time-consuming process that wouldn't take effect until 2012.The about-face prompted Mr. Koch to call them all "bums." (Assemblywoman Addie Russell, a Theresa Democrat, was already a bum, in Mr. Koch's eyes. She never signed the pledge.)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he'll veto legislator-drawn lines, but he hasn't invested a terrible amount of political capital into this issue (in fairness, the governor did have an ambitious agenda, including passing gay marriage and fixing a $10 billion budget gap).
The old way of legislators drawing the lines is moving full steam ahead, by the way.
On hydrofracking, the poll found that the slight plurality of voters — 47 percent — wanted the economic benefit from hydrofracking, despite fears over the harmful environmental damage. Forty-two percent said the inverse. Nobody's going to be fracking in the north country (that I know of), but Watertown once treated fracked water at its facilities.