I got a text the other day from a retired former state lawyer I know, who lives out-of-state and apparently hasn't kept up with New York news.
"I heard a rumor that Gov. Cuomo is hoping to get a constitutional convention and he hopes in part to roll back some of the retirement benefits in the state system for those already retired. Anything to that?"
Well, where do we start.
There has been so much misinformation, and lack of effort by the public to figure out what a constitutional convention really is, that it seems the proposal to have a constitutional convention is likely doomed.
The public employees unions are against it, out of fear they will lose benefits, and that is usually the death knell in New York. As is often the case in our society these days, people have a myopic view of an issue they don't really take the time to understand.
The truth is, any amendments that are made during a constitution would have to be approved by voters. So nothing could be done without all of us having the final say.
Cuomo, blamed by some for the plan, has been quoted as saying that he's not a fan of the plan as of this summer, according to North Country Public Radio.
There has been a lot of good, in-depth reporting about what a constitutional convention can really accomplish. Here is a link to a good article from Newsday, while this one is also a good read. We ran this article the other day about the environmental group take on it.
There have also been a number of thoughtful endorsements of a convention, such as this one on syracuse.com.
So we have 12 days to really make an informed decision on what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform the state constitution. That's plenty of time to make an informed decision, instead of paying attention to the sign on your public employee neighbor's lawn.
-- Don Lehman