Andrew Cuomo appeared on Fred Dicker’s radio show this morning and had some gentle teasing for the good government groups that have been decrying this year’s redistricting process.
“What people forget when they get all hyped up about it–the legislature has the legal authority to draw the lines. It is in the Constitution. The good government groups forget that when they do their tirade about how terrible the lines are,” Mr. Cuomo said over the audible snorts of Mr. Dicker. “Constitutionally the legislature has the right to do it.”
Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch said he’s fine with the fact Andrew Cuomo hasn’t included nonpartisan redistricting as part of his state barnstorming tour.
“From a personal point of view, I’d like him to include it, but I have no problem in understanding why he hasn’t,” said Koch, who founded New York Uprising last year to push the issue.
signed the Uprising pledge sent a letter of support during his gubernatorial campaign, but the governor has not made redistricting part of his recent push to fulfill a few remaining items on his legislative agenda: a property tax cap, ethics reform, and a same-sex marriage bill. [A reader points out Cuomo did not technically sign the pledge, but sent a letter echoing its aims, which was good enough for Koch to consider him a "Hero of Reform."]
“There’s a limited number of issues that the governor can talk about it,” Koch told me this morning.
The former mayor has done his own barnstorming–traveling to legislators’ home district to brand them enemies of reform–but he conceded it’s “a very esoteric issue,” and suggested what might happen if Cuomo tried to implore constituents to write their legislators about redistricting.
“They’ll yawn,” he said.
In private meetings, Koch said Cuomo has indicated the issue is a priority. And, according to Koch, the governor has agreed to appear at a joint New York Uprising-Citizens Union event focused on the issue–to be held sometime before the end of the legislative session–and that the press will be invited.
Roll Call names Congress’s “top 10 power brokers in redistricting” this morning, and there’s one New Yorker on the list: Long Island Congressman and DCCC Chairman Steve Israel.
With Albany likely to trim one seat from each party, it might be news to Republican Congressman Peter King — and, for that matter, State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos — that Israel is “in the driver’s seat in the delegation in determining which Republican-held seat will get eliminated,” but it does seem right that he’ll have an outsize influence on which Democratic representatives might be in danger. That fight is likely to take place in Israel’s backyard, with most experts expecting Long Island to get squeezed by the new lines.