Category Archives: Commentary

Why I’m voting “No” for a NYS Constitutional Convention

This Tuesday, Election Day, when you go to vote for me (and all the other Green Party candidates on the ballot), don’t forget to turn the ballot over and vote “No” on the proposition question of the call for a constitutional convention. While this may seem like a positive pro-active idea, the process for electing delegates is as subject to money and influence as the election system in general.

Here are some considerations (all with which I agree) that a friend of mine posted recently:

  • “First, if this proposal were to pass the convention would cost hundreds of millions of dollars including a minimum salary of $79,500 for each of 204 delegates for a total minimum salary cost of $16,218,000.
  • Second, these delegates would be elected after running for these seats in the ConCon. Corporations and other special interests could spend millions to have their lobbyists elected to the ConCon.
  • Third, Albany insiders, politicians and their families could double-dip on their salary and pensions. Each delegate would receive pension credit.

Now for what could be affected by a constitutional convention:

  • although proponents of this proposal say pensions are safe from meddling by these delegates because they are contracts and protected by the US Constitution, if the ConCon nevertheless makes changes to the pension system someone would have to take it to court to declare the change unconstitutional. Pensioners would hope the court sees it their way.
  • the “forever wild” provision of the NYS Constitution, creating the Adirondack Park, could be changed or abolished.
  • access to a quality public education is currently guaranteed by the state constitution.
  • election and voting rights are currently protected in our state constitution.

The last constitutional convention produced proposals for amendments to the state constitution. The voters rejected all of them.

New York State already has a legislative process to amend the state constitution which doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything.

A ConCon seems too risky given how it would be conducted.”

 

 

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Political corruption

In light of the indictments of elected county and town officials in Oyster Bay both the legislatures have not gone far enough to stamp out corruption. Unfortunately, the causes are from pay to play and kickbacks from campaign contributions. The recent law passed that any elected official convicted of corruption relating to their positions does not go far enough. The recent convictions of Silver and Skelos, unfortunately, are going to be overturned based on the recent US Supreme Court decision that overturned theĀ former governor of Virginia’s corruption conviction. The unanimous decision made by the US Supreme Court made it more difficult to charge, yet alone convict someone of corruption. The only way to restore the confidence in NY politics is to, use the Arizona and Maine model Clean Money / Clean Elections of no private funds for candidates. These funds are to be public only, and also to push for ranked choice voting and instant run off voting.

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