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February 25, 2013 - 6:05pm

Hawley promoting talking of two-state solution for New York

posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, new york.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) is carrying out a number of interviews to garner support for his legislation that would allow New Yorkers to answer the question “Do you support the division of New York into two separate states?”

Hawley has participated in, and scheduled future interviews with, high-profile outlets such as Capital Tonight, Talk 1300 Radio and WBEN Radio to highlight Assembly Bill 391, which would help Upstate and Western New Yorkers make their voices heard in state government by allowing counties to put the aforementioned question to a non-binding voter referendum.

“Due to the fact that much of New York’s population is concentrated Downstate – primarily in New York City – the vast majority of statewide legislative leaders are not from Upstate or Western New York. As a result, many local families feel their needs are ignored in state government,” Hawley said.

“I have been promoting this legislation across New York to garner support for this measure, which would allow the people of this state to decide for themselves if they would be better represented in the Capitol if New York were split into two separate states. This legislation is meant to give our local families a voice in state government, and I will continue fighting to make our voices heard in all corners of this great state.”

Hawley cited two examples of statewide policy advanced by New York City-area legislators that has drawn the ire of Upstate and Western New Yorkers -- gun control and Medicaid spending.

“We have seen time and time again that one-size-fits-all is not an effective way to approach government,” Hawley said. “When Downstate politicians tax and spend our economy into peril and infringe on our Constitutional rights, our communities are the ones that suffer. We deserve a voice at the table, and that’s what this legislation aims to achieve.”

Jason Post
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I severely doubt New York state as a whole would ever vote to divide itself. I rather doubt even the non-binding question will make it to the ballot. But I would still love to see what the answer is.

Matt Hendershott
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Agreed Jason, however that is because of the population of the other side. However, we shouldn't need their consent to separate as far as I'm concerned. That would be like trying to get a tapeworm to vote with its host toward its own removal.

Don Lovelace
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LIKE

Kyle Slocum
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Howard, I think you have a poll question for tomorrow...

Free New York!

Gary Spencer
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could we survive without them (NYC)?
I've heard arguments for both sides.
This has come up in the past, never gets futher than
"I have an idea!"

Robert Brown
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What are the conditions of "survival"? Who would like to actually work on the analysis and strategy? I'd help!

Timothy Hens
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We couldn't survive if we lived by the same laws prior to any division--we would need their tax revenue to do so. Part of going on your own is that you get to start from a blank slate and decide what laws and taxes you want to have.

I would say if we governed ourselves in a fashion that more closely represented reality for upstate we would be fine.

Heck--just reducing the options on the Medicaid program would be enough to save us.

Dave Olsen
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Much smaller state government, simpler tax system, More local county and municipal say. The opportunity would be very intriguing to say the least.

Greg Olsen
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Amen and thank you Mr. Hawley. I too seriously doubt that we will see it happen, but it SHOULD. We are politically dominated by an area that is geographically and culturally removed from our way of life. Turn on the power and water meters to downstate and we won't miss their tax revenue!

Brian Graz
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This is a measure that I have long supported... and do now more than ever.

Yea, I've heard the argument that upstate and wny could not survive without downstate revenues... ? I'm no expert... but in light of the current onslaught [under the radical Cuomo/Bloomberg machine] of Constitutional freedoms and liberty being trampled and "Infringed", that reaches to ALL parts of NYS, who cares?!!! I'd gladly take my chances that we'd figure out a way to survive.

Just ponder for a minute that as of 2010 numbers the Total population of New York State is 19.4 million, and the population of NYC and the surrounding burroughs [aka: downstate] is 12.4 million! Besides NYC and downstate in general are continuing to grow in population while the rest of NYS is either static, or decreasing [such as WNY is]. So basically the NYC area [downstate] has 2/3 of the Total population of the whole state... and a recent poll I just saw [I know who believes polls? problem is they are generally fairly accurate] stated that 80% of downstate supports Cuomo and Bloomberg.

Couple this with all the unfunded mandates that we have been shackled with and where does that leave us? I'll tell you, we are on the floor, under the table waiting for a few crumbs to fall. With the latest Cuomo onslaught of the un-Constitutional gun-grabbing law, there has NEVER been more reason to embark on a concerted effort to create our own state independent of the noose of downstate NY.

Most of the current signers of Resolutions of opposition to the SAFE Act should be willing to embrace this movement also. It'll take some work, but let's get behind this effort and stay the course, and get it done.

Timothy Hens
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The disparity in representation is astonishing. There are assembly members from NYC that literally represent one city block. Our assemblyman represents two entire counties. Some other upstate assembly members represent up to 4 or 5 counties.

Assemblyman Hawley has a postcard of NY with all of the representatives on it geographical matched to their district. There isn't enough room at the bottom right corner of the postcard for all of the representatives!!

Rural upstaters are as close as it gets when it comes to taxation without representation.

Raymond Richardson
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Whoever gave Gary a negative vote, should really do some research into this as it has come up in the past, many, many times, and he's correct. It never gets past the "I have an idea" stage.

Brett DeKruger
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I don't see a 51st state happening, although I'd sure like to see it, but what would happen if NYC became a district, like DC?

Dave Olsen
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edit, didn't make sense, sorry.
Ray and Gary are right, this has a long, long road, with a lot of obstructions ahead of it. Love the idea. I think we could survive very well without downstate, but as Tim wrote, not with the same style of government. Which would be a good thing

Dave Olsen
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I think the only way it works, Brett is with a clean break. A 51st state if you will. I know it's not simple to do, but I think the support is stronger now than ever. It really is an interesting prospect

David Horning
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Lately I feel we should sucede from the entire Union.

Mark Potwora
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Just think how being the 51ST state would effect presidential elections..We would be more apt to become a red state..We would split our electoral votes..Putting us more as a swing state..Its all a nice dream but i think that there are sources outside of New York State who wouldn't want to see it..Meaning the national Democratic party..We would also have two senators who probably be Republican..

John Woodworth JR
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This is the best idea I have heard in a long time. As long as they go by counties and not people, it could happen. If, they go by individual votes then the city as usual will vote us out.

Dave Olsen
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Well, gee Mark, I am hoping we could be a Libertarian State.

And it's time for the electoral college to go away anyhow.

Mark Potwora
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Dave i see a Libertarian governor..

Dave Olsen
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I like it, Mark. Also, I'm thinking a sales tax only instead of income and property taxes which would be collected by the counties and held until the state submitted its budget and the voters approved it before forwarding the state's portion to them. That would keep the size of the state from getting to big, stop the mandate BS and reduce the opportunity for corruption some. Like I said, intriguing.

Kyle Slocum
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Dave,

No Electoral College would mean that presidential campaigns would be restricted entirely to major metro areas. There would be as little point in campaigning on issues of importance to any other area of the country as there currently is to campaign for president in Upstate NY. You realize that the only time you see a presidential campaign ad on WNY TV is when it's part of a news story, right?

I can think of no better way to ensure the further neglect of non-urban areas and issues than to empower the metros to choose our presidents without our input. That is what the Electoral College prevents, because it ensures that even the smallest state has some say in the matter.

Dave Olsen
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Good Point Kyle, but I don't agree that the metro areas would choose our President. Most of their campaigning is done in "swing states" and early primary states. NY is rarely one of those. Besides in this day and age of available information on the internet, anyone can research any political candidate pretty easily. Also, I think there has been a lot of corruption in the electoral process, I just don't trust the system anymore. Us hicks aren't so removed from the rest of the world anymore, unless we want to be.

Dave Olsen
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Kyle; After thinking about this a couple minutes, I'd like to also point out that, if you as a NY voter don't vote for the winner, your vote doesn't count. Same for most states. Only a few proportion their vote. Without the electoral system, EVERY vote counts. There are libertarians, conservatives, moderates, & liberals, plus whatever other political philosophy you can think of, living everywhere in the USA. It's probably the only way to break the 2 party (actually 1, they're both almost the same) stranglehold and let other, better ideas in. One American - 1 vote. I believe we can do it and the time has come.

Charlie Mallow
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I always wondered why NYS Senate districts where not broken up by county to make legislation more fair. This works for the country as a whole.

http://www.nysenate.gov/districts/map

Kevin Volk
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Mr. Olsen,

Not to sound clueless, but if we went to a direct election system, how is it that things would change? It would seem that in any election, if you don't vote for the winner, then your vote doesn't count.

The electoral college adds an extra step to that process, in the sense that you're electing a slate of people to vote for the presidential candidate you support and against the ones you don't. If I'm not mistaken, that is much like the representative system we have with legislators, since we elect them to vote for the laws we support and against the ones we don't; a direct election for the president is, therefore, not unlike a referendum. That doesn't change the essential winner-take-all nature of the election; you're either using winner-take-all or winner-take-all-once-removed.

Fair representation in an office occupied by one person seems almost a contradiction in terms; the best one can hope for is either a president who is fair as a matter of personal integrity or a fairness in representation shown over time and over several presidents. Unless the nature of the election process itself changes, I don't see anything better occurring. Winner-take-all systems always reduce to two parties. It's a mathematical certainty. If you don't support either of those parties, then your vote never counts--except temporarily and under extraordinary conditions.

Mr. Mallow,

Not to cast too dreary a pall over the discussion, but if history is any guide, the reason the State Senate doesn't divide districts by counties is because it's much harder to gerrymander that way.

Brian Graz
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The Electoral College is getting off topic, but since it has become part of the discussion I would simply offer that there is an intelligent and concerted effort well under way to fix the inequity with the Electoral system without abolishing it. Almost half of the electors have signed on so far...

See - http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/

Dave Olsen
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Mr. Volk, you surely don't sound clueless. However i do disagree with you. We saw a President elected by the Electoral College who did not win the popular vote in 2000. It was not the first time it happened, although admittedly it's been rare. Voter turnout in my opinion is poor usually less than 50% nationally, it was a bit better this last time, but it is my belief that a lot of the voter apathy comes from the belief that your vote doesn't count much, like say if you are a republican voting in a heavy democrat state, or vice versa. Removing this extra step would help voter turnout and then everyone's vote counts. I will never agree that our process will always become a 2 party show. The system is rigged that way and freeing it up along with some other moves that can and should be made, will help more candidates actually compete and more voices heard and more people will feel represented. Breaking up NY is a good place to start, plus I think all of our lives in Genesee County would be improved. I appreciate your sharing your opinion and also, thanks Brian for the link.

Mike Piazza
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Wouldn't there be a downside if we split from downstate? After all, isn't the US Census of each state based on the size of a population used to allocate Congressional seats (congressional apportionment), electoral votes, and government program funding? We need to be careful for what we wish for.....on a side note, if it does happen(highly unlikely), would that mean if our president visits/campaigns the newly created state, he has visited 58 states?(ONLY kidding:)

Brian Graz
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What advantage do we here in upstate and wny get from the apportionment based on the number of population, when 2/3 of that population is "uptown" liberal leftwingnuts and so to then are their congressional representatives?

I think it might be understated how well a separate West NY, would do unbridled by the welfare/entitlement scourge of the NYC/Albany idiots.

Our new West NY would revamp/reduce welfare/medicaid/handouts and then we could all watch in amazement how the users/abusers would go scurrying to the other side of the new state line, to the old state of New York where all the socialist liberals live, who believe in social welfare and rewarding those who don't want to work or provide for their own existence. Only now we in West NY won't be helping foot the bill.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... relief at last.

Kevin Volk
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If we were to separate from New York, then I'd be for calling ourselves New Sunderland. It's literally and geographically accurate; Sunderland is north of York, and the meaning of the name is rather poetic.

Regardless, Mr. Olsen, though it is true that direct representation would allow one's vote--provided that that vote is for one of the major parties, especially in a state that leans heavily the other way--to, if I may coin a term, 'not count less', it may be premature to assume that it would increase voter turnout, or that such an increase would have a notable statistical effect on the proportions of the election. While I concede the point that there may well be many frustrated Republicans in New York who do not bother to vote, it may also be true that local democrats do not turn out in large numbers for national elections because downstate can and will carry them. Furthermore, anyone who supports a third party is still effectively unrepresented, except insofar as the major parties are willing to throw bones and other political table scraps.

I'm not saying that direct representation is wrong, mind you. I must admit to quite a bit of suspicion regarding any strictly democratic process; it may be crass to say, but gang rape is democracy in action. A million people shouting with one voice may be the voice of reason and justice, or it may be, with equal likelihood, the bleating of a million well-trained sheep. But that's beside the point. I'm saying that I have no reason to believe that direct representation is right.

To answer a question about the census and congressional representation, the truth is that we'd end up with more representation in the Senate and less in the House. In terms of the larger picture, we'd get two Senators all to ourselves, and though the number of our state's Representatives would decrease from the total that New York currently enjoys, so would the number from New York City. Furthermore, representation in the House is fixed at 435; that number could change temporarily if a new state were to be added, but for now, what really changes are the proportional sizes and boundaries of the various districts and the number of districts (and representatives) assigned to a state. Because every state is guaranteed at least one representative, small states are typically somewhat under-represented, though the amount of under-representation changes depending on the state. Wyoming has one representative for about 750,000 people, which is close to the national average, whereas Montana has one for nearly a million people. The reason for this is because of the formulae the House uses to assign seats; once the Constitutionally-guaranteed seats are assigned, other states get seats in a 'batting-lineup' sort of method that heavily weights by population, but also reduces the weight once a seat is assigned. What this means is that the largest four or five states go first, go back for seconds, thirds, and possibly fourths, and only then do the weights drop to something that gives other states a chance to get in the mix. By the time the small states come up in line, there are no more seats, the game is over, and it's time to go home--and that is why the small states get their one representative each and are stuck with that.

John Bergener
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You should check out our web site http://www.newamsterdamny.org/ for a plan that can work.

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