Opinion Editorial on Redistricting
COLUMN: Cuomo turns 'pragmatic' into a dirty wordEditorial Board
They did something and they did it before April 1 and there is something to be said for that.
That’s progress, Albany-style.
Gov. Cuomo has proved he can get things done, but it is more often than not ugly, backroom wheeling and dealing with no attempt to gauge the will of the people.
Ultimately, in an all-night orgy of legislation, everyone got a little of what they were asking for, but Gov. Cuomo may have made “pragmatic” a dirty word when he gave away fair, impartial voting districts in exchange for casino gambling and pension reform for state workers.
The next time redistricting comes up, I may be retired — or dead.
Like so many governors before him, Cuomo used a little loophole in the legislative process called a “message of necessity” to bypass a law that demands everyone have the time to scrutinize a bill three days before a vote.
Assuming that the legislators are all speed-readers, but more likely making an attempt to get his deal done before someone changed their mind, Cuomo pulled the “message of necessity” out of the governor’s handbook of tricks to tame the Legislature.
It is an obvious misuse of power that is a time-honored tradition in Albany. The governor also used it last year to get the vote on gay marriage to the floor.
He was being “pragmatic.”
There’s that dirty word again.
Keeping the redistricting lines the same is actually something that benefits our region and upstate in general.
If the district lines were drawn more equitably, there is a good chance that Republicans would lose their majority in the Senate and upstate would lose any leverage to get upstate problems addressed.
In another time, another era, Republicans and Democrats could reach across the aisle to try to get things done together. Every issue did not have to come down to conservative vs. liberal values. There was middle ground, at least sometimes. When Democrats and Republicans worked together it was not considered spitting in your mother’s face.
This deal in the middle of the night allowed Gov. Cuomo to make some strides with keeping the state pension system in check.
He made tourist areas more competitive by allowing them to have gaming in the future, although that won’t come close to being a game-changer.
What he did do was ensure the political system, the reason for all this dysfunction, would remain the way it is for at least another 10 years.
We don’t expect Gov. Cuomo will be here when redistricting comes up again. But most of the legislators will.
Cuomo has loftier aspirations and it is doubtful Albany is part of his future.
He was pragmatic this week.
He got some things done.
Politicians with an eye on higher office can’t afford to lose. A prolonged battled with the Legislature over redistricting might have harmed the golden boy image.
Gov. Cuomo came out looking good, but we are doomed to the same dysfunctional politics of the past.
Gov. Cuomo was sensible. He was pragmatic. But his eye was on his own future more than it was on ours.