A “Politicians’ Convention” that opens up the entire state constitution for change could have disastrous consequences for every single citizen of New York, no matter their background, their occupation, their politics, who they are, or where they live.
At Risk: Free Public Education
Did you know, for instance, that our right to a free public education is guaranteed in our state constitution? It is. That means that every parent, every educator, and every student who has gone through or will go through New York’s public schools has a stake in this issue. But even if you or your family or your friends don’t have a direct connection to our public schools, those schools still have an impact on you. Quality public schools have been proven to improve the economy, to raise property values in a neighborhood, and to impact crime and public safety. The deterioration of our public schools would negatively affect every single community and person in New York, one way or another…and eliminating our constitutional guarantee to a free public education would seriously endanger the quality of our public schools. That is reason enough to be wary of this “Politicians’ Convention”.
At Risk: “Forever Wild”
Or did you know that some of New York’s most environmentally sensitive areas—places like the Adirondacks and the Catskills—are safeguarded under the constitution’s “forever wild” protections? During a “Politicians’ Convention”, greedy and wealthy developers could use their influence and money to push to undo these safeguards in order to open up and exploit these valuable natural resources for their own profit. Why would we give them that opportunity?
At Risk: Balance of Power
The New York constitution establishes the basic organizational structure for state government as we know it. It governs the relationship between state and local authorities. It sets the most important policy goals for the people of New York State. And any changes to that constitution would affect every other law in place in New York, as well as future statutes. Some would argue that all those things need a serious overhaul, but whether you believe that or not, do you really believe that the politicians, Albany insiders, and corporate special interests who would be in charge of a “Politicians’ Convention” would really implement the changes that we believe we need…or would they simply consolidate their own power and influence and sell of our constitutional guarantees to the highest bidder?
If we really need to change the constitution, we can utilize the process that we have used 200 times since the last major rewrite of the constitution: a process that provides us with more checks and balances, that gives regular people a bigger voice, and that costs absolutely nothing. Let’s not gut our constitutional guarantees! Turn over your ballot in November and vote NO on the “Politicians’ Convention”!