Koch Phone Calls Send Partisan Message

April 14, 2011

Assemblyman Michael A. Montesano (R,I,C-Glen Head) took exception with the tone and content of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch’s blatant partisan attacks on state legislators who refuse to support Sheldon Silver’s politically-biased redistricting plan. Montesano has signed on as a co-sponsor of a truly independent and bi-partisan redistricting measure, while Koch is supporting a bill that would make redistricting a one-party affair.

“Former Mayor Koch’s attacks are just par for the course, and I am not the least bit surprised by his misguided and politically-fueled actions,” said Montesano. “I and many others targeted by Mr. Koch’s pot shots are committed to legislation that takes on redistricting with the primary goal of being truly independent and ensuring that the people of New York State are fairly represented.”

Speaker Silver’s bill would give a lot of control to Majority leaders, allowing them to appoint six out of the eight members of the redistricting commission. This leaves only two nominations for the Majority. Furthermore, Silver’s bill would deny some regions of the state, including Nassau and Suffolk Counties, public comment periods.

“If Mr. Koch wants to truly honor the New York Uprising pledge, he may want to consider supporting other legislation,” said Montesano. “It is obvious to me that Silver’s bill, which gives three-quarters of the nominees to one party, lacks a true independent spirit of bipartisanship. On top of it all, the people I represent will not even be able to give input during a public hearing.”

Montesano also addressed the single-minded focus on redistricting despite Koch’s stated commitment to ethics reform. “I wonder a great deal why the primary focus is on independent redistricting and why no calls are being made demanding that legislators sign onto ethics reform,” said Montesano. “I am doing everything in my power to live up to the pledge I took to enact independent redistricting and ensure fair representation of the people of New York. I signed the pledge for independent redistricting before this politically-biased bill was ever drafted and to say that I am breaking a promise by not signing on is ridiculous. I think Mr. Koch may need to listen to his own message and maybe then he will realize the finger is pointing in the wrong direction as he picks out so called ‘Enemies of Reform’.”