Assemblyman Dinowitz Urges Community to ‘Just Say NO’ to Charter Proposals

October 10, 2003

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has called upon his constituency to give a resounding "NO" to three proposals put forth by the New York City Charter Revision Commission. "The three ballot questions, Proposals Number 3, 4, and 5 on the election ballot, would make major changes for the worse in New York City."

Proposal Number 3 would eliminate party primary elections for the offices of Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough Presidents, and City Council. According to Dinowitz, "This is nothing less than a very partisan attempt to grab power. This proposal, which restricts the November election ballot to just two candidates (and possibly only one political party), will severely limit the choice of voters and undoubtedly diminish voter turnout. Just say ‘NO’ to Proposal Number 3."

Proposal Number 4 relates to city purchasing. "This dangerous proposal would eliminate the detailed annual report on city contracts, let the city do procurement contracts with almost no public disclosure or bidding requirements if the mayor says that ‘security’ is involved, and give an unelected ‘procurement policy board’ controlled by the mayor greatly increased power to make rules governing contracts (taking away power from the elected City Council). Just say ‘NO’ to Proposal Number 4," said Dinowitz.

The third question, Proposal Number 5, relates to government administration. "This includes miscellaneous charter changes thrown together; some are very unwise. It would shift authority from the City Council to the Mayor to set rules for administrative hearings. It would let the Department of Consumer Affairs hold its own hearings on violations under its own rules – exempt from any other rules in law. It would raise the maximum penalty for city conflict of interest violations from $10,000 to $25,000. The Voter Assistance Commission is now a 16-member board with 8 appointed by the Mayor and 6 by the Council, plus the Public Advocate and the executive director of the Board of Elections. This would change it to 7 members, 5 appointed by the Mayor and 1 by the Speaker of the Council, plus the Public Advocate. Just say ‘NO’ to Proposal Number 5," concluded Dinowitz.