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Why Progressives and Unions were Bamboozled into Voting Against the NYS Constitutional Convention

I always say, when republicans and democrats agree on something you have to look and analyze it carefully. Unfortunately, for the New York voter this was the case with the Constitutional Convention.

The Constitution of the State of New York establishes the structure of the government of the State of New York and enumerates the fundamental rights of the citizens of New York. Like most state constitutions in the United States, New York’s constitution’s provisions tend to be more detailed and amended more often than its federal counterpart.

State law requires the question of a constitutional convention be put to voters at least once every 20 years and this past Nov. 7th; we failed a chance for real reform in our political process and true voting equality in the state of New York. Thanks to many misinformed Unions, so-called progressives, and organizations who were bamboozled by the political status quo.

There is an old saying “Trust but Verify” Unfortunately for the masses of the average worker and voter our union leadership failed to verify the information.

Many of the unions, especially the law enforcement unions claimed that the Constitutional Convention would lead to the decimation of state pensions. Either they were misinformed, or didn’t do their homework because they were entirely wrong. The fact of the matter is, A Constitutional Convention cannot change the pensions of current employees of State and local retirement systems. They are protected by both the U.S. and State Constitutions.

The U.S. Constitution specifies things that states cannot do. One of them is to “pass any law impairing the obligation of contract.” This is known as the “Contract Clause.”

The State Constitution provides that membership in a public retirement system “shall be a contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

By declaring membership to be a contractual relationship, the New York Constitution made public employee pensions protected by both the State and U.S. Constitutions.

About future public employees – but not current ones – the Legislature already has the power to alter pension obligations, and it has done so on several occasions.

A Constitutional Convention has never been needed to do that. Both the State and U.S. Constitutions allow changes in pension rights for future employees.

The status quo has used these same unions that suppose to protect the rights of the people to protect the rights of politicians. They failed to understand that their current pension protection because of the 1938 Constitutional Convention, which made membership in the State and local retirement systems a contractual relationship which may not be diminished or impaired.

New York Politics, it’s not about the people it’s about the two major political parties remaining in control.

The fact is, New York does have some of the worst voting laws in the country.

New York has no early voting (unlike 37 states), no Election Day registration (the state constitution requires voters to register no later than ten days before an election), and excuse-only absentee balloting (voters have to prove they’ll be out of town or have a disability.)

Every year 3 million registered New Yorkers are not able to vote in the state’s primary because they are not affiliated with the Democratic or Republican parties. So in most New York elections is a political scam because an overwhelming number of people that do not vote.

New York’s restrictive voting laws have had a devastating effect on younger voters.  “Thirty-seven percent of voters under the age of 30—aren’t registered to a political party in New York City,” A Constitutional Convention would have given millions a New Yorkers a right to take part in a real political process through open primaries.

The Constitutional Convention would have created more accountability in our New York State political system. The state legislature has failed to represent the need for the people for at least 30 sessions, and two generations of governors. We have elected those that do not have the testicular fortitude to pass common-sense state legislation such as term limits, reforms in ethics, campaign finance, budget preparation, initiative, and referendum. If any state legislator proposes these type of legislation, they already know it won’t pass, its just symbolism without substance and good read meat for the so-called progressive base.  But Nov 7th, the people HAD a chance but was bamboozled by the same progressive leaders that claim they wanted change but was nothing but Benedict Arnolds for the Status Quo!



About Damon K. Jones (223 Articles)
Damon K. Jones is an Activist, Author, and Publisher of Black Westchester Magazine, a Black-owned and operated newspaper based in Westchester County, New York. Mr. Jones is a Holistic Health Practitioner, First Aid in Mental Health Practioner, Diet, and Nutrition Advisor, and Vegan, Vegetarian Nutrition Life Coach. Mr. Jones is a 31 year Law Enforcement Practioner, New York Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America. Mr. Jones has been a guest commentator on New York radio stations WBLS (107.5 FM), WLIB (1190 am), WRKS (98.7 FM), WBAI (99.5 FM), and Westchester's WVOX (1460 am). Mr. Jones has appeared on local television broadcasts, including Westchester News 12 “News Makers” and Public Television “Winbrook Pride. You can now hear Damon every Wednesday at 830 AM on WFAS 1230 AM, Morning with Bob Marone Show.
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