Cuomo says he “lost” redistricting battle
The usually confident Governor Andrew Cuomo is not known for taking “no” for an answer. From taxing Indian smokes to legalizing homosexual marriage, the first term chief executive has shown that he is confident in taking on controversial, even contentious issues. That is why it was a great surprise when he caved to political pressure today and signed a heavily gerrymandered state legislature map into existence, thereby perpetuating New York’s Byzantine representation scheme for another ten years. During his campaign for governor and during the past two years of his tenure in that post, Cuomo had vowed to set up an independent redistricting committee. Such a committee, the governor argued, would prevent legislators from feathering their nests by using their authority to redistrict to consolidate power. When asked about the independent committees he had promoted Cuomo was frank. “I supported an independent commission for these lines. I lost,” he told reporters after signing the district maps into law.
Although the governor and the legislature seem ready to move on to other matters, government watchdogs are not. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch blasted the proposed lines and called the governor’s compromise a setback for all New Yorkers. “While the governor worked hard to produce a better outcome, and while there are glimmers of hope for reform in the future, this puts off reform for a decade and forces the voters to endure 10 more years of the undemocratic way the Legislature’s district lines are drawn,” Koch said.
New lines will not be drawn again until 2022, when the new Census data will help to restructure all legislative districts. The governor’s signature last night does not affect the redistricting of Congressional districts. That decision now rests with a federal judge.
Today rain is likely, with a high around 70. Tonight, partly cloudy skies with a low near 50.