TAG | Jay Jacobs
Posted by Brooklyn Young Democrats
You hear right, this weekend (April 9-10), you, the Young Democrats, can get tickets to the New York State Young Democrats fundraiser “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; Planting the Seeds of Tomorrow, Today” (which is happening in our backyard at Brooklyn Brewery) for only FIVE DOLLARS!
If you want to jump on this offer, please register at https://secure.actblue.com/page/nysyd-tree
But just remember, this price is available for this weekend only, so act now. For more information, please go to http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=183607668349945
Posted by Brooklyn Young Democrats
From New Roosevelt Initiative:
A coalition of local and statewide reform activists protest at Nassau Republican State Senator Jack Martin’s district office to pressure the newly elected Senator to live up to signing Ed Koch’s NY Uprising pledge and pass independent redistricting; Koch applauds rally
New York, NY – Democratic activist and New Roosevelt Initiative founder Bill Samuels and a coalition of progressive groups and young activists rallied Saturday afternoon at the district office of newly elected Nassau Republican State Senator Jack Martins demanding that he keep his word to pass Independent Redistricting in the state legislature.
Last summer, Senator Martins signed Mayor Ed Koch’s NY Uprising pledge promising to pass Independent Redistricting if elected. Instead, when presented with the opportunity to pass an Independent Redistricting bill put forth by Governor Cuomo, Senator Martins decided to side with the Republican Senate majority, who are currently unwilling to put the bill to a vote. The move is more disappointing than the failure by Democrats, who last year held a majority in both the Assembly and Senate to take up the redistricting issue since he has promised to pass such legislation.
Nearly a dozen local Long Island and statewide progressive and young activists groups joined the protest including– Nassau County Young Democrats, Nassau Women’s Democratic Caucus, New York Democratic Lawyers Council, New York State Young Democrats, New York Democratic Law Students Council, New York State Young Democrats Caucus of Color, College Democrats of New York, New York Civic, Act Now, Manhattan Young Democrats, Queens County Young Democrats, Brooklyn Young Democrats and New Kings Democrats.
“I applaud all the young activists that have shown an interest and taken on the vital issue of independent redistricting,” said former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, founder of New York Uprising. “Today’s event is about holding politicians accountable to the pledges they took and making sure they know we’re still paying attention. The people of the state of New York expect their legislators to be honorable, and to keep their word. For anyone who signed the Uprising pledge, that means enacting meaningful redistricting reform that will impact the elections next year.”
Samuels, founder of the New Roosevelt Initiative, an organization dedicated to reforming Albany and creating the country’s best state legislature, said he was upset that Martins was siding with the status quo on such a critical to both the voters of New York and to the future governance of the state.
“Martins signing of the Koch pledge was a promise to Nassau voters that he would pass Independent Redistricting reform regardless of which party was in the Majority. Instead with the Republicans retaking control of the Senate, he is proving that he would rather be just another status quo Albany politician. Independent Redistricting reform must be passed this session in order to have an impact in 2012,” Samuels said.
“While I initially advocated for a Constitutional Amendment last session, passing one in this session means no meaningful impact until 2022,” continued Samuels.
“Until a couple of Republicans stand up for what is right and vote for the Independent Districting bill put forth by Governor Cuomo, they are proving that like the Democrats did when they were in charge of the Assembly and Senate, they are only interested in political self-preservation. I would like to see Senator Martins prove everyone wrong,” continued Samuels.
In Nassau County, African American communities, like those in the Hempstead area are currently split between 4 out of the 5 white male Republican Senators from Nassau: Dean Skelos in District 9, Charles Fuschillo in District 8, Jack Martins in District 7, Kemp Hannon in District 6.
At the protest, representatives from a dozen Nassau, New York City and statewide progressive activist groups urged Martins to reconsider his stance and pass the redistricting bill. Each outlined what was at stake.
Jay S. Jacobs, New York State and Nassau County Democratic Chairman said, “I believe voters are tired of politicians who tell them one thing before Election Day and then give them excuses instead of delivering when in office. Jack Martins is the poster child for promises made but not kept.”
Dolores Sedacca, President of the Nassau Women’s Democratic Caucus, said, “The entire Nassau County State Senate Caucus in composed of white, male, republicans despite the fact that the voters of the county are more than 50% female, there are more registered Democrats than Republicans and over 30% of our voters are not white. Gerrymandering has deprived the women, persons of color and Democrats of Nassau County of representation in the New York State Senate.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2009 estimates, Nassau County is 51.2% female and 31.9% non-White with the New York State Board of Elections showing that there are more Democrats than Republicans registered to vote at 38% to 36% as of November 2010.
Kyle Strober, Vice President of Nassau County Young Democrats and Hempstead resident said, “A person’s word, especially from an elected official, should stand for something. It’s apparent that Mr. Martins’ does not. Numerous residents voted for Mr. Martins because of his stance on redistricting. Unfortunately, Nassau County residents have grown accustom to politicians promising the world while campaigning then doing the opposite once elected. Nassau County government as one such example. Long Island’s future generation needs leaders who keep promises and do what they believe in, not what they are told to do. That is why we are standing here today, to ensure that we hold our elected officials accountable for the promises they make.”
Kevin Lawrie, New York State Young Democrats President and Niagara Falls Resident said, “The district lines that get drawn not only affect those that have drawn them but often those who hold office after them. Fair redistricting is not about partisan politics. It is about giving the future generations of elected officials a chance to govern fairly and give voters the chance to select their representatives, not the other way around. I live in a Senate District that is only “contiguous” at low-tide and my district is just as bad as many other around the entire state. With districts drawn to favor the elected officials and not the people, how can young activists ever hope to influence positive change when incumbents use partisan gerrymandering to silence our voices? Independent redistricting must become a reality now and we will continue to hold Senator Martins and all his other flip-flopping colleagues accountable for misrepresenting themselves to their districts.”
Nick Roloson, President of College Democrats of New York, said, “College Students are a frequent victim of unfair redistricting. Campus communities, dormitory residences, and off-campus housing are frequently split up with the intention of disenfranchising student voters. We need to work together to ensure fair and equitable redistricting across New York State to give all student voices the opportunity to be heard in government. The College Democrats of New York will not rest until an independent redistricting proposal is brought to an immediate vote in the Legislature. It is time to make this long-time dream a reality.”
Robert Donovan, Co-Chair of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council said, “Redistricting reform is now more critical than ever. The census numbers are in and redistricting must move forward. We must get real reform now before the gerrymandering games go on.”
Ted Anastasiou, Chair of the New York Democratic Law Students Council said, “One of the first lessons that a law student learns is that voting, once afforded to the electorate, is a fundamental right protected under the Constitution. It does not take a constitutional law expert to see that when politicians choose their own voters instead of the reverse, it results in less competitive elections that effectively compromises this vital right as well as grossly undermines the very principles of democracy our nation was founded upon.”
Heather Roberson, Board Member of Act Now, said, “For those of us at ACT NOW who have been chipping away at Albany dysfunction for years, one politician at a time, non-partisan redistricting is going to be a real game-changer.”
Lincoln Restler, State Committeeman and District Leader for the 50th Assembly District and New Kings Democrats Board Member said, “Jack Martins promised to end the backroom gerrymandering process once and for all, but he cares more about his own political future than the people of Nassau County. Keep your word, Jack, and pass the pledge!”
Amanda Pizzuti, President of the Brooklyn Young Democrats said “The census data released this week said that Brooklyn’s population has only grown by less than 40,000 in the past decade. Yet over 70,000 new homes have been built in Kings County. Downstate New York is expected to lose two congressional seats which translates to less representation for more people. Redistricting is not just about diluting a person’s vote, it is more importantly about having a say in our democracy.”
Costa Constantinides, District Leader for the 36th Assembly District and President of Queens County Young Democrats said, “This is about honesty, integrity and living up to the promises you make. When an elected official outright lies to their constituents, it hurts our system of government. Shame on you Jack Martins. This isn’t partisanship, it’s what is right.”
From Act Now:
We just returned from a fantastic rally in Nassau for non-partisan redistricting. With ralliers from ACT NOW, New Roosevelt Initiative, New Kings Democrats, NYS Young Democrats Caucus of Color, and many other groups, the event underscored that fair elections are not just a “wonky” issue. This is a question of democracy.
If you want to learn more about non-partisan redistricting, Heather’s fantastic Q&A is the place to start.
Jack Martins’ so-called pledge
The people of Nassau County aren’t going to forget the dishonesty of Republican State Senator Jack Martins. Martins committed to support non-partisan redistricting in his 2010 campaign. (You can even see his pledge right here. Yes, that’s his signature.) Now we’re seeing his true colors, as he — along with the entire Republican caucus — breaks his promise.
Claiming to be a reformer, Martins defeated the Democratic incumbent in 2010 by just 320 votes. We hope that he knows how vulnerable he will be in the 2012 elections, when Democratic turnout for the presidential year will be higher. If Martins betrays the people of Nassau County by continuing to support Republican election-rigging, we’re going to make sure that his constituents know it.
Many thanks to Bill Samuels, Ben Kallos, and the NRI, who covered the cost of transportation and of the delicious local pizza afterward!
We’ll have more to share on upcoming events in the next few days. In the meantime, here are some photos from the great event.
Jessica at a photo shoot…we mean the Redistricting Rally
Frieda looks awfully hip
Carolyn, the happy fighter
Pizza is cut into equal slices — why not election districts?
Fair election districts? Even I get that.
Bill Samuels recognizes Heather as a Democratic Tiger — grrr!
From State of Politics Blog:
New Roosevelt Initiative founder Bill Samuels made good on his pledge to target GOP senators (well, one anyway) in their home districts in hopes of pressuring them into submission on the issue of redistricting reform.
Samuels and a host of reform-minded Democrats traveled by bus out to the Nassau County district of freshman Sen. Jack Martins to protest outside his district office and highlight his renegging on the NY Uprising reform pledge promise that called for creation of an independent redistricting commission in time for the 2012 elections.
(Recall that the Senate GOP passed a constitutional amendment bill that would change the way lines are drawn in the long term, but only if two independently elected Legislatures vote “yes” on that measure and it then passes in a public referendum. All that cannot possibly happen by 2012).
Among the speakers at the protest was Brooklyn District Leader Lincoln Restler, of the New Kings Democrats, who started out with a joke.
“We from Brooklyn, we know a little something about corrupt leadership,” Restler said. “We thought Jack Martins was going to be different.”
“He signed a pledge. He made a promise to you and to me and the people in Nassau County that things were going to be different. That he was going to support a fair redistricting process, an independent redistricting process. But in just three months he has demonstrated loud and clear that this is a man who cannot keep his word.”
Martins told Long Island Business News: “I fully and unequivocally support redistricting reform and voted in favor of the most recent constitutional amendment that was passed by the Senate…Unfortunately, there are still those who would have the very process of reform turned on its head to become a bitter, partisan one.”
A group of about 30 protesters staged a small rally outside of the office of New York State Senator Jack Martins, R-Mineola, Saturday over the boundaries of state election districts.
The group, primarily made up of picketers from outside the 7th Senatorial District including Brooklyn and Queens and various state-wide Democratically-affiliated organizations such as the Nassau County Democratic Committee and Brooklyn Young Democrats, arrived via a chartered bus to stage the noon time demonstration against Martins, whom protesters say has not fulfilled a promise when he signed a pledge to pass independent redistricting.
“Signing a pledge means something,” Dolores Sedacca, President of the Nassau Women’s Democratic Caucus and former mayor of East Williston said.
Martins as well as his opponent in the 2010 election, former Sen. Craig Johnson, had signed onto former New York City Mayor Ed Koch’s NY Uprising pledge to pass independent redistricting, which would place the task of redrawing district boundaries into the hands of an independent redistricting commission. Koch also endorsed Johnson, who ended up losing to Martins in the recent election.
Bill Samuels, founder of the New Roosevelt Initiative, said that Martins was specifically targeted because of his freshman status as senator.
“We were very hopeful that a new state senator wouldn’t be like the Democrats that have been there for years or the old Republicans,” he said.
This year the New York State Senate passed a constitutional amendment for and independent redistricting plan which would create an independent, non-partisan commission as called for in Koch’s plan.
The commission, consisting of five members, none of which may have held or are current public officials or involved with a political party, would redraw legislative and congressional district every 10 years in conjunction with the results of the U.S. Census. The New York state constitution charges the Legislature with the responsibility of redistricting, necessitating a constitutional amendment to change the practice.
Strangely, Samuels seemed to agree and be an advocate for the council, saying “what we don’t want is the politicians in both parties drawing their own lines. We want an independent council that puts people on that are real experts but are neutral, that really think out how to draw the lines.”
According to the bill, the size of the districts would also be relatively equal, within a 5 percent deviation of one another, reportedly down from the current 10 percent, a sticking point for Samuels who pointed to minority communities in Nassau as having been split amongst the five senate districts in the county.
“It’s just fundamentally wrong,” he said as the practice in his view places more power in rural areas than in cities as opposed to Federal guidelines which mandate districts must be about the same size.
In a statement, Martins said that he “fully and unequivocally” supports redistricting reform, voting in favor of the constitutional amendment passed by the Senate. “It’s a fair and solid piece of legislation that creates an independent, non-partisan panel that provides both parties the opportunity for input on how district lines would be determined,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are still those who would have the very process of a reform turned on its head to become a bitter, partisan one.”
Samuels called the bill a “meaningless gesture,” because it would only take effect in 2022. “It ensures Martins and (Sen. Majority Leader Dean) Skelos a gerrymandered state senate, a gerrymandered Nassau for 10 more years,” he said. “We’re concerned about 2012, 2014, 2016. The Democrats when they were in power absolutely did the same thing Republicans are doing now, both parties are guilty.”
Citing the need for a constitutional convention, Sedacca said that “everybody knows that that’s really a waste of time,” referring to the bill. “It’s a way of stalling, saying its not constitutional.”
Only two members of the protest present were known to be from Martins’ district: Noah Sheloff of Franklin Square, and Mineola resident Jean Falabella.
“I’m in the same district as a friend of mine who lives in Roslyn,” Sheloff said, believing district lines should be more “neatly drawn.” Franklin Square is divided among three senate districts with Skelos and Kemp Hannon, R-Garden City, representing the other two sections. “If you look at the actual lines of certain districts, they’re pretty ridiculous,” Sheloff said. “I think to have one state senator would be appropriate.”
Falabella said of Martins: “He signed the pledge and then he voted for something different.”
Samuels said that the group’s next stop would be upstate and that he was “focused on the new state senators.”
Act Now, Amanda Pizzuti, Bill Samuels, Brooklyn Young Democrats, College Democrats of New York, Costa Constantinides, Dolores Sedacca, Ed Koch, Heather Roberson, Jack Martins, Jay Jacobs, Kevin Lawrie, Kyle Strober, Lincoln Restler, Manhattan Young Democrats, Nassau County Young Democrats, Nassau Women’s Democratic Caucus, New Kings Democrats, New York Democratic Law Students Council, New York Democratic Lawyers Council, New York State Young Democrats, New York State Young Democrats Caucus of Color, Nick Roloson, Queens County Young Democrats, Robert Donovan, Ted Anastasiou
Posted by Brooklyn Young Democrats
Thanks to everyone who braved the elements last night and made it to our January meeting. This blog post is meant as a follow-up about what we discussed and what we plan to do moving forward.
Recently, the New York State Young Democrats (the parent organization of the Brooklyn Young Democrats) launched a podcast. The first episode features NYSYD President Kevin Lawrie interviewing New York Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs about various things ranging from an average day in the life of a party chairman to the interaction between the national, state, and county Democratic committees to the recent tragedy in Tuscon (you can download the first episode at http://www.nysyd.org/podcast/Podcast-01-20-11-edited.mp3). You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nysyd-podcast/id415978706 or at http://www.nysyd.org/podcast/nysyd-podcast.xml.
Also, NYSYD recently created a RSS feed of its blog, to which you can subscribe at http://www.nysyd.org/rss/rss.php.
If you wish to start receiving emails from NYSYD. You can do so by going to http://www.brooklynyds.com/join-us/join-nysyd-mailing-list/.
The Young Democrats of America will be having their 2011 Winter Meeting will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada from February 25 – 27, 2011. Regular registration will then open and remain open until February 11, 2011 and can be done online at https://yda.wiredforchange.com/o/720/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=13240. At that time pre-registration will close. After February 11, 2011, you may only register on-site for a fee of $75.00.
Furthermore, the YDA 2011 National Convention will be held July 27 – 30, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky. For all of the latest updates, please go to http://www.yda2011.org/.
As we go into our first full year as an officially chartered young democrats chapter, we need to start focusing on what type of chapter we will be: what we will do, advocate, teach, etc. However, we cannot start to build that framework without your input. That is why we ask that you go to http://www.brooklynyds.com/events/were-open-for-new-ideas/ and submit your ideas in the comment box at the bottom of the page. If you wish to get notifications about further responses and/or you want to start a dialogue with other people that also submit ideas, please check the box where it says “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.”
We will be having our elections on February 23, 2011. The positions that you can run for are President, Executive Vice President, Northern Brooklyn Regional Vice President, Central Brooklyn Regional Vice President, Southern Brooklyn Regional Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The requirements to be eligible to run and/or vote in our elections is that you must have paid your dues and have been to one previous meeting in the past year. Our dues are $5/year/member, however, an extra $5 donation is suggested (bringing the dues up to a whopping $10). Please pay your dues at our next meeting.
Once the details regarding our elections are finalized, the details will be emailed to all of you and posted on our website.
Enjoy the snow!
Brooklyn Young Democrats
Posted by Seamus Campbell
Our friends at the New York State Young Democrats (NYSYD) have debuted their brand new podcast. The first episode has NYSYD President Kevin Lawrie interviewing New York State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs.
The link on the NYSYD blog can be found at http://www.nysyd.org/blog/nysyd-podcast-a-discussion-with-jay-jacobs-42/, but if you want to hear it directly, please go to http://www.nysyd.org/podcast/Podcast-01-20-11-edited.mp3.
The podcast is also coming to iTunes in the next coming days. When it is live, I will post a link for you to signup for it on iTunes.