It was with great disappointment that I read your publication's editorial endorsing a "no" vote on the constitutional convention. Although the paper certainly has a right to endorse positions it believes appropriate, the reasoning provided was incomplete and inaccurate.

In particular, you argue that the best argument in favor of a "no" vote is the pension stripping amendment on the ballot. That amendment, while appealing to the public, addresses a symptom of the problem, not the cause. If the possibility of a lengthy federal prison term has not been sufficient to prevent legislators and other officials from committing crimes in office, it is naive to think that the possibility of a pension loss will be the tonic that keeps them on the straight and narrow. Moreover, since the convictions of public officials are often overturned (Joseph Bruno, Dean Skelos, Sheldon Silver), the amendment will likely not snare nearly as many pensions as anticipated. So while the legislature will be able to congratulate itself if the amendment passes, the amendment will do NOTHING to: stop the accumulation of unchecked power through devices such as term limits; limit the influence of money in politics by adopting meaningful campaign finance reform; create competitive elections by forming a truly independent redistricting commission (not the purely advisory commission established by the 2014 election); or isolate from political pressure a truly independent ethics commission. To use your word, it would be "delusional" to think any of these things would come from a legislature that hasn't provided them for decades. Contrary to your assertions, constitutional conventions are not the same as legislatures. They are unicameral bodies composed of a mix of statewide and local delegates that bring widely varying perspectives to their task. Delegates are there for a singular purpose, there is no re-election to the position and everybody has equal seniority. There is a reason why conventions have historically achieved reforms that have eluded the legislature. Even the 1967 convention, whose work was ultimately rejected by voters, proposed a forward looking constitution that included a truly independent redistricting commission and made social welfare programs the responsibility of the state (i.e., eliminated unfunded mandates) — reforms we haven't seen from the Legislature in the intervening five decades.

The government of New York is broken, and the only possibility for meaningful change is through a constitutional convention. For these reasons, I urge New Yorkers to vote "yes" on Question One.

Christopher Bopst

Lancaster

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