Ed Koch & NY Uprising respond to inaccurate statements made...

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For immediate release: Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 Contact: Adam Riff, NY Uprising, 805-743-3743, adam@nyuprising.org

NEW YORK UPRISING RESPONDS TO INACCURATE STATEMENTS MADE BY DEAN SKELOS
Yesterday on NY1, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos addressed the issue of whether he would take up independent redistricting now that a budget agreement has been reached. He said he would not, and further, made several inaccurate statements. "Dean Skelos has disgraced himself by repudiating his written pledge," said former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, founder of New York Uprising. "After claiming for weeks that the Senate would address the issue of redistricting as soon as a budget was passed, he is now backing out of that promise too. Dean Skelos is foolishly ignoring the mandate which returned his conference to the majority last year: a mandate for Albany reform." The following "myths" are direct quotes Senator Skelos provided in the interview, followed by "facts" provided by New York Uprising. SKELOS MYTH #1 "Appointments were going to be 6 Democrats and 2 Republicans, that's certainly not nonpartisan." (Regarding the nominating committee for the independent commission proposed by the Governor.) Fact: The governor's proposal requires 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans on the nominating committee that appoints members of the commission (which is "double-blind" to preserve independence). Each of the four legislative leaders makes one appointment from their own party, and the Governor makes four appointments of which two are required to be from each party. Governor Cuomo has even agreed to allow Skelos to name the two Republican Gubernatorial appointments, effectively giving him the most appointments of all. SKELOS MYTH #2 "You can't delegate away that authority." (Regarding the constitutionality of creating an independent commission.)

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3/30/11 3:20 PM

Ed Koch & NY Uprising respond to inaccurate statements made...

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Fact: Quoting Mayor Koch's recent Daily News op-ed: "That's merely a diversion on his part. A red herring. Sand in your eyes. It's also a surprising argument from him, since he never raised it during the several times we spoke when he signed the pledge to fight for independent redistricting. Neither did any of his colleagues when I stood with them on the campaign trail. Indeed, last year Skelos sent a letter accompanying his pledge (available at nyuprising.org). It stated: "Our Republican conference supports . . . independent redistricting in line with what your organization is calling for." The pledge is very specific in its requirements for independence. And the pledge is very specific in calling for legislation to pass this year. Virtually every other good government organization supports independent redistricting and believes that it's constitutional. So does our reform-minded governor, who made it a cornerstone of his proposed redistricting legislation, and has said repeatedly that he will veto any proposed redistricting that is not independent." SKELOS MYTH #3 "Congressman Weiner and Senator Schumer have agreed that the Koch proposal is not the way to go." Fact: This one is actually true, and it reinforces New York Uprising's effort as strictly nonpartisan. Redistricting, as it's currently done, isn't about protecting Democrats or Republicans. It's about protecting incumbents -- the ones who follow-the-leader. Good government (which Albany is not known for) requires a level playing field, not one drawn to keep incumbents in power. SKELOS MYTH #4 "That issue is over with." Fact: Governor Cuomo has said he will veto any proposed redistricting that is not done by independent means, and if no new lines are drawn and approved in time for the 2012 elections, the courts will draw the lines for us (that's an independent commission of another sort). Of course, New York Uprising's efforts remain directed toward achieving the independent commission which a majority of lawmakers pledged to support.

New York Uprising, founded by former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, is a non-partisan coalition dedicated to reforming New York's dysfunctional state government. It is led by Mayor Koch along with a Board of Trustees that includes former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former NYS Governor Mario Cuomo, former NYS Comptroller Ned Regan, former US Congressman Herman Badillo, former Ambassador Felix Rohatyn, former Deputy Mayor Alair Townsend, former Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington, former Deputy Mayor Peter J. Solomon and former Deputy Mayor John Zuccotti.

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Ed Koch & NY Uprising respond to inaccurate statements made...

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