For those readers still wanting to read about the con con, J.H. Snider of the New York Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse has posted a wrap up of articles, although many more are sure to appear.
From the Clearinghouse:
“Copied below are links to some news articles on the defeated state constitutional convention referendum. Of particular note may be my own post-mortem analysis, which significantly differs in both length (longer) and substance (more academic) from the ones below.
- McKinley, Jesse, New York Voters Reject a Constitutional Convention, New York Times, November 7, 2017.
- Blain, Glenn, New York State voters reject constitutional convention, approve proposal to seize pensions of corrupt politicians, New York Daily News, November 7, 2017.
- Velasquez, Josefa, Ballot Measure Authorizing State Constitutional Convention Fails, New York Law Journal, November 7, 2017.
- Campanile, Carl, and Kirstan Conley, NY voters shoot down constitutional convention proposal, New York Post, November 7, 2017.
- New York voters reject constitutional convention, Associated Press, November 7, 2017.
- Zremski, Jerry, New York voters nix constitutional convention, vote to reform pensions, Buffalo News, November 7, 2017.
- New York Voters Reject Ballot Measure Calling For Constitutional Convention, CBS Local, November 7, 2017.
- Runyeon, Frank G., Constitutional Convention and New York’s 2017 Ballot Proposal Results, City & State, November 8, 2017.p
- Campbell, Jon, Constitutional Convention: Landslide defeat shows labor union strength, Poughkeepsie Journal, November 8, 2017.
- Constitutional convention rejected in New York, WCAX, November 7, 2017.
- Statement of Mario Cilento, New York State AFL-CIO, November 8, 2017. “
As reported in the Times Union by Matthew Hamilton, Governor Cuomo will vote no on the con con question tomorrow. In a statement, his office said “(t)he Governor is voting no on a constitutional convention because the current delegate system does not offer enough protections to prevent the status quo and special interests from governing.”
His ex-wife Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, said she was supporting the con con.
Former State Senator Seymour Lachman weighs in on the need for a con con from his perspective as a legislator who ended up on the wrong side of the leadership on redistricting. Read his Daily News column here.
As I have written on these pages before (“City Bar’s Support of Constitutional Convention is Flawed,” June 14, 2017), in 1997 I was in favor of a constitutional convention but this year I am persuaded that the risks are greater than the opportunities. I also believe that the delegate selection process, long criticized by even those who support the convention, is sufficiently flawed that it would probably lead to a convention that looks and feels like the Albany morass so many abhor. Undoubtedly, there will be sitting legislators and their staff running for such positions (and collecting a second salary).
The nub of the convention proponents’ position was embodied by one of the panelists at the recent New York County Lawyers forum described in the New York Law Journal’s “Bar Associations Push for Constitutional Convention” (Oct. 31): Greenberg Traurig’s Henry Greenberg opined “This is the last best hope for fundamental reform.” Seriously?
There are limits to what cities and towns can do, but the state’s Municipal Home Rule Law, for example, allows voters in each of our 62 counties to amend City Charters to reform certain laws (see my suggestions in “Fixing government from the ground up: Say no to a constitutional convention and focus on local reform,” NY Daily News, Oct. 20). Utilizing this statute, voters in New York City enacted the most robust campaign finance reforms in the nation; term limits for municipal office holders; and liberalized ballot access requirements. New York City can go further: early voting; easier registration and enrollment procedures; and no-excuse mail-in ballots. Other important reforms, such as streamlining the judiciary, would require state legislation or an amendment to the state constitution—difficult to achieve, but worth the effort. A 2 Instead of giving up on the legislative process, New Yorkers across the state can enact reforms locally and continue to press for statewide changes. I take the long view and remain optimistic. A convention, on the other hand, creates the wrong kind of opportunity, especially in uncertain political times.
The New York Times comes out today against the con con at the same time as a new poll shows the measure may fail at the polls.
From the editorial: “(w)e feel obliged this time to recommend a “no” vote. It’s not because we fear change. On the contrary, the concern is that the likelihood of a con-con yielding the most desperately needed reforms is disappointingly low, and the possibility of its accomplishing nothing at significant cost, or, worse, setting New York back even further, is worrisomely high.”
A Siena poll released this morning informs us that “by a wide margin, 57-25 percent, likely voters say they will vote ‘no’ on the Constitutional Convention proposal on next week’s ballot. By a similar 60-29 percent margin, likely voters say it ‘will be an expensive waste of time,’ rather than a ‘once in a generation opportunity to bring our State Constitution into the 21st Century,’ according to a new Siena College Poll of likely 2017 New York State voters released today.”