Letter: Constitutional Convention

Do you want to clean up Albany? See lower municipal and county taxes? Now’s our chance! Vote yes on Nov. 7 on the referendum for a Constitutional Convention for New York state.

You’ll see the referendum listed along with two others on the reverse side of the ballot. The proposed Constitutional Convention is a once-in-a-generation chance to enact long-overdue ethics and home rule reforms. It will rectify state gerrymandering, our byzantine court system and out-of-date voter registration laws.

During her 2018 budget presentation, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell noted that Albany’s unfunded mandates gobble up 70 percent of the county’s expenses and all of its property-tax levy. This burden has helped stifle economic growth and prosperity here for too long.

Limiting or ending unfunded state mandates is reason enough to vote yes on the Constitutional Convention referendum. To learn more, watch a video of the NYS Constitutional Convention Panel.

John and Alexandra Ballantine, Brewster

5 thoughts on “Letter: Constitutional Convention

  1. I completely disagree. Vote no on the Constitutional convention. Protections within state laws for health care, education and housing could be permanently changed. Could make things in New York worse, not better, because special-interest groups are in control of it. Also, politicians use this event to grab more power and more money. Organized labor is against it because it could negatively effect state pension deals. The Constitutional Convention is supported mainly by rich, well-organized, arch-conservative groups seeking to capitalize on the decline of public trust in government, to limit the federal government’s role and spending powers. I believe most of us have had enough of this. Vote no!

  2. Very simplistic explanation – the governor just wants to get ahold of the pension fund! That’s how he’ll pay for the stuff he’s supposedly doing in the state — the new Tappann Zee bridge, etc. Vote no!

  3. I wholly agree with the previous two comments.

    While in a perfect world I would like to see a number of changes and improvements to state constitutional law, we are not ready yet. We are too uninformed and misinformed and too vulnerable to midnight legislation, bipartisan compromises and like trickery. The times are far too dangerous; there are many, many critical legal protections of all sorts which can be easily lost — protections which were built up over decades of struggle, typically fought and paid for by the sweat and the blood of ordinary citizens, during the better times (or, at least, the more aware times), mostly during the first middle two-quarters of the twentieth century.

    Just today we hear of confirmation that the Democratic National Committee rigged the 2016 nomination for that party’s presidential candidate? How many other elections can be and/or have been thusly rigged? There is almost no way to know the answer to this one folks. How can one trust this “government”?

    Awareness, education, lessons harshly learned, and a rediscovery of history will be needed first. Although I acknowledge much progress has been made: the Occupy Movement, the 2016 Sanders nomination effort, the somewhat more successful campaign to raise the New York minimum wage, and others, but I am sorry to repeat we are not yet ready for a constitutional convention.

    I wish I had a more hopeful comment. One positive is that some of the needed changes can presumably occur without a constitutional convention, e.g., in regular legislation, though the efforts of third parties, and via insurgent candidacies such as that of Senator Sanders.

    I am willing to hear all arguments and ideas.

  4. Everything mentioned in this article can be changed without opening the constitution. I live in Albany now. It’s all about state retirement pension. Vote no!

  5. There is no evidence to defend these arguments. This is just pushing an agenda by the top 1 percent and corporations to strip away rights from New Yorkers. We can change anything in the Constitution through amendments. A convention would be letting the foxes run the hen house.