Opinion Editorial on Redistricting
Legislators, governor conspire in the darkEditorial Board
The results are in from Albany. They won, you lost.
They would be the majority in the Assembly and the Senate, the people who drew up the most distorted set of election district lines since the original effort by Elbridge Gerry and who managed to then dangle these as bait and got Gov. Andrew Cuomo to bite.
They would include Gov. Cuomo, who will claim that he managed to save the state from ruin with his new pension proposals, save the state from crime with his new DNA databank and save the state from bankruptcy with his new casinos.
The new election districts, including an extra Senate seat to help the Republicans keep their control, were even worse than the plans that the governor had vowed to veto. Because Assembly Democrats get to keep their own distorted districts, they had no reason to object.
Instead of the nonpartisan effort that the governor and legislators promised, we got a hyperpartisan result that will infect state politics for the next decade from people who now know that there is no penalty if you lie to voters. Once you get to Albany, nobody expects you to tell the truth anyway.
The governor now will spend the rest of the year, perhaps the rest of his term, explaining what a good deal New Yorkers got from all of this. But it won't be easy.
With the approval of a Constitutional amendment, a vote that will have to be repeated by legislators and approved by voters, New York is on the way to becoming the gambling capital of the nation with up to seven new casinos on top of the five Indian casinos and nine racinos.
These will have to compete with the old lure of Atlantic City, the new lure of the Poconos and others in nearby states including the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut which is $2.3 billion in debt.
The governor called the new pension reforms "sweeping," the labor leaders called it "politically expedient" and the conservative think tank wondered what all the fuss was about because it did not save nearly as much as the governor promised nor cost workers nearly as much as the labor leaders feared.
The governor promised that the new DNA databank will help solve untold numbers of crimes, but those who worry about such things note that without a lot more funding to make sure that all the tests are accurate and treated correctly, this also is likely to haul in a lot of innocent people and waste much more time for police and courts.
All of this happened while most of the state was asleep, in the early morning hours of Thursday, March 15, with bills that nobody had read and debates that nobody heard.
And just to add that touch of irony that Albany leaders love, this was Sunshine Week in the Empire State, the time put aside to celebrate the right of the public to watch their government at work.
This week we learned, as if we did not already know it, that there is no sunshine in Albany at 2 a.m., or at any other time.