Collins Proposes Something He Should Have Proposed in 2008.

12 Jul

Yesterday, this happened:

Erie County Executive Chris Collins today proposed legislation creating a non-partisan, independent redistricting commission. This new approach to redistricting in Erie County, to be finalized and submitted to the legislature this week, will establish an impartial citizen reapportionment committee with comprehensive community representation in order to draw a new, realistic map for County legislative districts.

This legislation will not impact the current redistricting process, but if passed will affect the next redistricting which occurs every ten years in line with the United States Census.

“The taxpayers of Erie County have a right to a fair and non-partisan redistricting process, and I think that is exactly what this new approach will accomplish,” said Erie County Executive Chris Collins. “The current redistricting process has not adequately served our taxpayers, and this will serve to avoid any and all potential future conflicts.”

To ensure compliance with state and federal election regulations, and to guarantee fair and non-partisan representation, the commission would be comprised of seven citizen members recommended by the following organizations:

the University at Buffalo Law School

the Buffalo Urban League

the Erie County Farm Bureau

the Association of Erie County Governments

the League of Women Voters

the Buffalo Niagara Partnership

and the Buffalo AFL-CIO Central Labor Council

“By including representatives from all of these significant organizations, the taxpayers of Erie County will feel comfortable knowing that they are fully represented and the most logical map will be drawn in their best interests,” Collins continued.

This legislation will outline four key criteria any new plan must meet, including:

Equal representation – This new legislation will minimize disparity among each legislative district and propose districts as equal in population and representation as possible.

Communities of interest – It will ensure that communities of interest are kept together and protected, so the unique characteristics and nature of Erie County’s diverse communities are adequately represented in the legislature.

Urban and rural communities – It will minimize vastness and protect the interests of urban and rural areas to ensure proper representation in each district for its residents.

Compact and efficient districts – To increase efficiency and completely eliminate the opportunity for political advantages for any one party, the new legislation will call for the creation of the most compact, least gerrymandered districts as possible.

“This bill will benefit residents and ultimately make the process much more efficient,” continued Collins. “It will establish what I believe will prove to be a truly fair, independent and non-partisan committee.”

Finally, Collins proposed measure would ensure a true citizens committee, by requiring the named organizations to designate members who have not:

held previous elected office in the last 3 years been the spouse of or directly related to an elected official served in an official capacity within any political party

In order for this piece of legislation to be approved, it must first be introduced as a local law and passed by the Erie County Legislature. Upon approval by the Erie County Executive, this new approach to reapportionment will amend Section 210 of the Erie County charter which pertains to the Advisory Committee on Reapportionment. It will then require approval at a referendum.

“This is a real attempt at taking politics out of the process completely and making it the fairest plan possible for everyone who will benefit – the taxpayers of Erie County,” Collins said.

Ah, but it’s too late for this to affect what Collins wants now out of redistricting.

How convenient. If Collins was such a proponent of independent redistricting, he’s had four years to propose this legislation. His sudden conversion on this issue is all very nice, but it’s also too late to help now, and is instead a transparent campaign ploy to make him sound like a proponent of good government when he is, in fact, the most divisive and reactionary figure in regional politics.

5 Responses to “Collins Proposes Something He Should Have Proposed in 2008.”

  1. wolfpack July 12, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    It serves everyone’s benefit to look like theperson who wants to play fair and give taxpayers their representation. It is posturing and when the actual lines are drawn people want to protect their own job or party. The example of fair play is usually centered on Iowa where they have some independent districting and straw polls (lots of straw there).

    It should work like any RFP or job posting. You would apply with a letter on-line in 200 words why you would be a good candidate. That never happens. You might want to check with the Governor’s office on how he fills those 80 or so jobs on boards and agencies that was in a NEWS article.

  2. Ward July 12, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    So … Collins proposes something Pundit approves of–but for evil reasons.

  3. Hapklein July 12, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    I dislike the constant cynical posturing of Chris Collins in all matters political but I would encourage any action that can result in removing overt political influence in the arrangement of voting districts It seems to me even his proposal is rife with possible influences by one party or another but gee whiz we have to start somewhere.
    Maybe even Erie County County can be saved from itself.

  4. Mr. F.N. Magoo July 12, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Anyone who can’t see the point of this post and the obvious hypocrisy of Collins’ timing is just as dopey as he’s always seemed.

  5. Warrey July 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    I really don’t believe that the groups he is proposing are “non political”. There is probably no such thing. At least 3 of the groups right off the bat would be considered Republican leaning organizations. They are the Erie County Farm Bureau, the Association of Erie County Governments and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. Two would be considered Democratic leaning. They would be the Buffalo Urban League and the AFL-CIO Council. That makes it 3-2 Republicans. The wild cards would be the UB Law School and the League of Women Voters. The Republicans need 1 out of 2 and the Democrats need both of them. I feel that the UB Law School might shift toward the suburban Republican philosophy because that’s where the money is and that makes “Game Over.” Collins and the Republicans win.

    Once again it looks like the fate of the county is in the hands of lawyers. That is a horrid scenario.

    Another con job in the making.

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