“The new plan, unveiled at Republican and Democratic caucuses Monday, would for the first time give voters the final say over a new district map for the Ulster County Legislature.” Reading this in Freeman’s article sounds good, doesn’t it?
Wow, give control to the people! What a novel idea! But how realistic is such a plan?
Did anybody check to see how many people know their own Legislative district? What about Election or Congressional, or State Assembly districts? Check for yourself, you’ll die laughing…
For various reasons, voters are uninformed. Why give them power over the work of a tasked Redistricting Commission which reaches its decisions after considering huge amounts of data – from sources not readily available – and the input of experts?
As proven by the recent Federal Primary of June 26, 2012, record low turnouts are the norm. What makes the Legislators believe that voters would beat down the doors of the polling places to vote on something they don’t really care about?
In our Legislative District 21, voters don’t know who is representing them, let alone the district’s boundaries. Our own “legislator” Terry Bernardo does her best to keep voters NOT informed. She never corrected her website and her information on record with the New York State Board of Elections. As recently as July 2012 she still filed financial disclosures reports for District 1 (Saugerties).
Leadership is about finding solutions, not playing ping-pong with issues. When becoming Chair of the Legislature, Terry Bernardo promised repeatedly “excellence in service.” Probably as in “Her Excellence, Terry Bernardo.”
Throwing the hot potato to uninformed voters is avoiding responsibility. In Madam Chair Bernardo’s immortal words “Instead of us saying ‘It’s a bad map,’ (voters are) putting it on the ballot and letting the public say it’s a bad map.” Huh?
First step in educating voters is to make them active participants – via public hearings – in the redistricting process. The Redistricting Commission would then incorporate the conclusions of such meetings in their decisions and the voters would have their voices heard.
– Jon Dogar-Marinesco