|Thomas J. Mazur - District 8
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2009
DOWNSIZE WITHOUT DISTRICT REDRAWING PLAN?
I remember when I was in high school and it was mandatory for all of us to take Latin. We had this to say about it: "Latin killed the Romans and now it's killing us." It's funny though how certain information sticks with us while other stuff seems to float away forever. As I was thinking about an issue to write about today, this Latin quote surfaced, "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tre." It means: all Gaul is divided into three parts.
What prompted this thought process in me was probably that I was thinking about an upcoming vote that I will have to make this Thursday. The legislature passed a resolution downsizing the legislature from 15 members to 13 members, but also extending the term of office from two years to four years.
The county executive vetoed the resolution because he felt the downsizing and the length of term should be separate referendum items on the ballot instead of a package deal. So on Thursday, we as a body can vote to override the executive's veto or allow for the law to stay as originally passed. If it stays, then come November the voters of Erie County will vote on downsizing the legislature to thirteen members and, beginning in 2013, lengthening the legislators' term to four years.
If there will not be sufficient votes to override the county executive's veto, then the issue goes back to the drawing table. That wouldn't bother me at all for two reasons. First and foremost I am concerned about how districts will be cut up once there is a decision to downsize. Many folks don't realize that the Town of Cheektowaga is divided so that currently it is being represented by five different legislators. Gosh, that's greater divide than Gaul.
Granted, I may represent the largest portion, but I believe that before you bring the proposal to the voters, we ought to at least be transparent enough to show them what their new district would look like up. For all you know, after you vote to downsize, your district may be half Cheektowaga and half Amherst or Depew might be part of a district comprised of Lancaster, Alden and Marilla. This may mean absolutely nothing at all to you, but let me tell you, geography may sway who comes out to run for a legislative seat that now represents you. In the long run, you may be getting less representation than you have now.
As for the length of term, I really don't mind a two-year term. I'd rather let you, the voter, decide that. But please, carpe diem (seize the day) by getting out and voting.
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