Our Leaders Need A Pledge
Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer merits our thanks for signing, along with more than forty of our state legislators of both parties, the "Pledge for Change" endorsed by the good government groups, Common Cause, Citizens for Better Government in New York, League of Women Voters, Interfaith Alliance of Rochester, and New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG).
The pledge calls for four major changes that would end politics as usual and help to restore the people's faith in government.
1. Make elections fair by adopting (as we have already done in New York City) the funding of candidates who agree to abide by spending limits and not to accept additional money from special interests.
2. End "gerrymandering" (legislators planning election districts regardless of neighborhood needs to assure a majority vote for themselves or others in their party). Have redistricting done objectively and independently.
3. Restore faith in New York State's government. Establish an independent ethics commission with investigative and enforcement authority.
Require open meetings on bills
with opportunity for the public to testify and be heard.
4. Our representatives who believe in establishing high ethical standards and working for the good of the people have already signed the pledge.
So far, our State Senator, Malcolm Smith, has not signed one. As Senate Majority Leader (with the possibility of becoming the Majority Leader after the election), he, especially, should add his name to those who will work for true reform of our state's government. We look to him, not only to affirm his support of the goals of the pledge, but as a leader in the movement.