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NY State Senate: Redistricting and power, race and family values…

Elizabeth Benjamin at her Daily News blog posts two great articles about the real reason for the coup.

Reason #1: Redistricting

Reason #2 to Reason #100: Outlined by Dan Jenison of Newsday

from Newsday
Circus has serious stakes for GOP
by Elizabeth Moore

With his fragile coalition, Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) is positioning his party for the 2010 State Senate races that could make or break it in New York for the foreseeable future.

The reason: Whoever controls the legislature after 2010 will help draw the boundaries of congressional and legislative districts. And with the Democratic enrollment edge growing fast, Republicans need to help draw those district lines to have any chance of remaining a relevant statewide force.

“Everything going on there now is revolving around control of reapportionment in 2012,” said Desmond Ryan, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island. “In all my years in this business, it’s the one thing people just do not get. Next year’s elections will set the table for the next eight to 12 years.”

Kimberly notes: So, part of the underlying instability in the NY State Senate system was in the way that redistricting occurs. Redistricting is one of those powers that people think is carried out with accountability because it is done in a “bi-partisan” way. But, now we see that bipartisan means that there are Democratic Party leaders and Republican Party leaders who play rough, make deals behind closed doors (keeping reporters waiting for hours), and can be thwarted by switchers in their own parties.

It would be a more fair system, a more democratic system, and probably a more stable system to have a NON-partisan commission or MULTI-partisan commission that creates district lines. “Bi-partisan” is not some wonderful, fair, Holy Grail. “Bi-partisan” by definition refers to the pack of fools we have in Albany, including Republican leaders willing to enlist the help of Democratic officials who are facing investigation and charges.

Redistricting is a good example of where third party voters and independent voters should have more power, but constantly get overshadowed or stifled by the two party duopoly. I have previously proposed having an “independent and third party” ombudsmen at the Suffolk County Board of Elections. Adding someone who represents interests other than the two major parties – and their bosses – would put back some accountability into the system. There should be someone independent and/or representing third parties on any redistricting commission.

In some states, Boards of Elections are civil service jobs, not assigned by the parties. If we had a system like that, the threat of redistricting would not have been a reason for a coup in the chamber which discusses our budget and public services.

also from Newsday
State Senate control has a lot of twists and turns

by Dan Janison

There were more angles and issues in this war for State Senate control Thursday than there were lobbyists in the hallways.

Depending on how you slice it, the outcome – in doubt until next week at the earliest – will hinge on any or all of the following…

[Janison’s list is where the power, race and family values comes in. Worth reading his article…]

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