Former Democratic New York City Mayor Ed Koch is continuing his fight against two local state legislators.
Last week, both Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Con-Chautauqua County, and Sen. Catharine Young, R-Con-Ind-Olean, were called out for supposedly reneging on a campaign promise by New York Uprising - a group headed by Koch. Koch named 42 state lawmakers - 31 from the Senate and 11 from the Assembly, and all but one of whom are Republican - stating they don't supporting independent redistricting because they didn't supported a plan created by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and introduced by Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Both Goodell and Sen. Young said the plan was unfair, giving too much power to New York City politicians and to the Democratic Party in redrawing district lines for the state Senate, Assembly and U.S. Congress.
However, Koch disagrees with both that the plan favors any side or region in the state. In a statement to The Post-Journal, Koch said Cuomo's plan would create a bipartisan independent redistricting commission in time for next year's elections. He said Sen. Young supported a bill that kicks in 10 years from now and not by next year's elections.
''There is a way to accomplish redistricting reform right now,'' Koch states. ''It has the support of the governor, and it had the support of Sen. Young too, until it became convenient for her to switch her position, now that Republicans are once again the majority party in the Senate.''
Sen. Young, in a statement last week, said her pledge and promise to support an independent redistricting commission was fulfilled when she voted for the bill that was passed by the Senate earlier this year that meets all criteria.
''Unfortunately, the proposal that Mr. Koch is pushing now doesn't even meet his own criteria that he was advocating last fall,'' Sen. Young stated. ''It would violate the state Constitution, which is very clear about the redistricting process.''
Koch said Goodell's claim isn't correct that the nominating committee for the commission would favor the Democratic Party. Goodell said six of the eight members for the nominating committee would be selected by the Democratic party. Cuomo's plan states that the two party leaders in both the Assembly and Senate would select one member each while the governor would select four members - two from each party. Goodell said this would give the Democratic Party the ability to select a more favorable committee even though there would be an equal number from both parties.
''Cuomo would appoint two registered Republicans, but that doesn't mean they represent the Republican Party,'' he said.
However, Koch said that problem has been fixed by Cuomo reaching an agreement with state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Koch said the agreement would allow Skelos to select the two Republican committee members that Cuomo will appoint to the nominating commission.
''This effectively gives Skelos the most appointments of all, and it bolsters the requirement already spelled out in the statute: an even, bipartisan split on that committee of four Democrats and four Republicans,'' Koch said.
Koch said the true ''Hero of Reform'' is Cuomo for introducing the bill New York Uprising supports.
''(The governor) has also pledged to veto any redistricting map that doesn't come from an independent commission,'' Koch said. ''If that happens, the courts will get to draw the maps (that's an independent commission of another sort, and one the legislature has even less control over).''