Mayor Ed Koch, who died Friday, didn’t limit his activism to the affairs of Gotham; one of his last battles was a statewide push for independent, nonpartisan redistricting. He lost that fight when state lawmakers pledged support for such high-mindedness, only to succumb to the usual, slipshod, politics-driven gerrymandering. Gov. Cuomo let them get away with it.
Two years ago, Koch traveled the state as founder of New York Uprising, the nonpartisan coalition pushing independent redistricting reform. Prior to the 2010 general election, the group secured pledges from candidates who said they would back independent redistricting in time for the 2012 election. He sought to hold legislators accountable when they reneged.
Below is what the former mayor sent to The Journal News/LoHud.com in April 2011.
Re “Keep the pressure on pledge-breakers,” April 13 editorial:
Your recent editorial was superb. Thank you for naming state Sen. Greg Ball,
R-Carmel, a lawmaker who has so far reneged on his pledges, and for
addressing his false arguments head-on. We can’t let him and his colleagues
off the hook.
Let’s continue to remind them of the consequences of their inaction, in
addition to your ongoing ire: Gov. Andrew Cuomo will veto any new lines that
haven’t been drawn by an independent commission, and then the courts would
determine the lines. Then lawmakers will have even less control.