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Feedback 10/22 

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No to prop 1

You recently advocated voting yes on Proposition 1 in a well-written opinion arguing that it would lead to more competition in legislative races. While this is a desirable outcome, the process proposed in the proposition is hardly likely to accomplish that end.

The process does move the redistricting one step further away from the clearly conflicted interest of the legislators and leaves it in the hands of their proxies: Republican and Democrat operatives. Worse yet, the two additional commission members would be selected by those proxy members.

Surely they would arrange it so each would sympathize with one of the major parties. Therefore, we would have 5 vs 5, instead of 3 vs 3, and they likely would divvy up the responsibilities so that the two legislative houses' proxies would redistrict their house.

The extreme danger here is that the focus on reform will be lost and the two parties will declare victory for reform! Reject proposition 1.

Stuart Berger

former President of the Citizens for a Better NY

Lawrence ducking debates

In a recent letter to the Democrat & Chronicle, Irondequoit Republican Committee Leader Jesse Sleezer denied that GOP candidates systematically duck debates. He apparently hasn't heard Republican NY State Assembly candidate (134th District) Peter Lawrence's recent WXXI radio interview in which Lawrence stated that he has no plans to debate Democrat Gary Pudup, nor does he even want to debate. Pudup has repeatedly invited Lawrence to debate, and Lawrence has refused.

Why is Lawrence afraid to face his opponent in a debate? Why does he fear the questions of a moderator and the citizens of his district? Voters should wonder why.


Funke's embrace of women's issues

In a TV ad, State Senate candidate Rich Funke insinuates that his support of equal pay for women is an extraordinary act for a politician. This issue was decided generations ago. What kind of daring can we expect next from him — voting rights for women?

What about the right to choose an abortion? What about a minimum wage a single woman can live on? What about health care for any woman who needs it? What about a job for every woman who wants to work? What about a ban on fracking so women will have safe water to drink?


Climate deniers learned from Big Tobacco

Readers who saw the letter by Tom Harris ("No Evidence of Humans Causing Climate Change,") should be aware that the organization the writer heads is among many front groups that receive donations in the millions of dollars for spreading untruths about climate change, primarily funded by the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil.

Some of them — Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, Heartland Institute, American Legislative Exchange Council, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and American Enterprise Institute are well-known extreme right-wing groups.

Many others have "greenwashed" their names, like this one — International Climate Science Coalition.

Harris spoke in 2008 at a conference hosted by the Heartland Institute: "We need regular high-impact media coverage of the findings of leading scientists," he said. "We can take the same piece and submit it to newspapers all over North America and Europe." Of course "leading scientists," according to Harris, are climate deniers.

According to Robert F. Kennedy Jr., these groups have taken a page out of the tobacco industry's playbook, whose watchwords were "create doubt." The anti-climate change movement contains some of the same PR advisers who worked for Big Tobacco to sow doubt about smoking risks.

Today's "doubts" are about the overwhelming consensus of scientists who conclude climate change is moving even faster than they originally thought it would.

The only way to keep the planet from reaching a point of no return is to stop taking oil, gas, and coal out of the ground and replacing it with renewable energy technologies. It won't be easy, but will actually force us to repair our decaying infrastructure and create the many jobs that our deregulated economy in its current form is not set up to provide.

These anti-science organizations are populated not by scientists, but by corporate lobbyists and special interest representatives who stand to gain financially by wrecking the planet's ability to sustain life.


On our endorsements(News):

I'll vote for anyone who will repeal the NY SAFE Act. It does NOTHING to make NY safer and it was rammed through for Cuomo's political aspirations. Liberals are afraid of open and honest discussion and debate to find common ground as the basis for common-sense legislation.


If Funke does not have a better plan than the SAFE Act, then he has nothing at all. Heaven knows the Safe Act is far from good legislation; however I give credit to those who decided to do something instead of doing nothing at all.



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