A Discussion 
About Democracy in New York




                               1 
WEʼRE FROM MYD

•  Local chapter of the Young Democrats of
America


•  We had approximately ~200 dues-
paying members in ...
BEFORE WE GET STARTED….


     •  When is the next election? 

     •  How many people represent you?

     •  Do you know...
THE BIG PICTURE


  As a New Yorker, theoretically it will be your civic duty to
  cast an informed vote for no less than ...
WHEN IT COMES TO VOTING, 
LIFE MIGHT BE BETTER AS A CANADIAN



  If you lived in Toronto, youʼd cast your vote only thric...
TOO MANY ELECTEDS, TOO LITTLE TIME 
= CORRUPTION


   Matt Yglesias @ Think Progress: 



    New Yorkers donʼt have five t...
TODAY, WE WANT TO DISCUSS CORRUPTION IN 
THE STATE LEGISLATURE



                          Who “represents” me? 



     ...
REASON #1:

ALBANY MATTERS


  Many of the issues young people in New York City care about
  canʼt change without someone ...
REASON #2: 
ALBANY TAKES OUR MONEY

     Example of NYC residents getting screwed, from this yearʼs
     proposed Executiv...
REASON #3: WE WANT DEMOCRACY



  Wikipedia definition for ʻdemocracyʼ: 

  Even though there is no specific, universally ac...
THE NY STATE LEGISLATURE 
IS NOT A DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTION



  It fails on both democratic principles: 

  1.  Not all cit...
#democracyfail 

PART 1: ACCESS TO POWER



  In 1994 and again in 1996, the Brennan Center for Justice
  at the NYU Law S...
“THREE MEN IN A ROOM” 




  Only three men matter in New York State when it comes to
  passing legislation that will affe...
WHY RULES MATTER



 1.  Leaders control the chamber floor. Only bills that will
     pass are brought to the floor. 

 2.  ...
AGAINST SUCH POWER, 
THERE CAN BE NO RESISTANCE


Why donʼt individual members stand up and change the rules?


         O...
#democracyfail 

PART 2: EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW




                                   16
ETHICS ISSUES ABOUND IN 

THE STATE LEGISLATURE



Legislative Ethics     LEC was established by members and is made
Commi...
PEDRO ESPADA JR. 




                     
State Senator Pedro Espada Jr

                                               ...
A LONG HISTORY OF ALLEGATIONS

•  Allegedly lives in a $700,000 house
   outside of his district.


•  Allegedly uses his ...
IT ALL BEGAN WITH TWO MILLION DOLLARS…



   
In 2009, Pedro tried to get $2 million in member items
    for Bronx groups ...
A ONE-VOTE MAJORITY AFTER 50 YEARS OF
REPUBLICAN CONTROL OF THE SENATE




   
32
                    
30
                ...
IF YOU WERE PEDRO, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? 



 (a) Run for Governor of Illinois

 (b) Realize that maybe you shouldnʼt be enri...
PEDRO AND HIS CO-CONSPIRATOR 

FORMER SEN HIRAM MONSERRATE JOINED THE GOP




               Pedro + Hiram




 Oh, !@#$
 ...
WHAT PEDRO WANTS, PEDRO GETS



  The June 8 coup consumed six weeks of the legislative session
  in which absolutely noth...
OUR FAVORITE SENATE COUP MOMENT


  With the chamber tied 31-31 after Monserrate returned to the
  Dems, Pedro argued he c...
AND ITʼS NOT JUST PEDRO



Assemblyman 
       •  10 years in prison for embezzlement, fraud and
Brian McLaughlin
   takin...
…YUP, THEREʼS MORE



State Senator 
         •  Convicted of Class A misdemeanor for allegedly
Hiram Monserrate 
      sl...
THE HEART OF THE MATTER



  There are many ethical, diligent and hard-working
  elected officials throughout New York. 

 ...
WHAT CAN YOU DO?



   •  Learn about your elected officials – you can find
   information about them on government websites...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

MYD | A Discussion About Democracy in New York State

525 views

Published on

MYD, the Manhattan Young Democrats, explain key causes behind corruption and dysfunction in the New York State Legislature, with a particular focus on the State Senate. We explore the story of the June 8 Coup and the relevance of Albany to the lives of everyday New Yorkers.

There's also a short video version of the presentation available here: http://vimeo.com/11553305

0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
525
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
9
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

MYD | A Discussion About Democracy in New York State

  1. 1. A Discussion About Democracy in New York 1 
  2. 2. WEʼRE FROM MYD •  Local chapter of the Young Democrats of America
 •  We had approximately ~200 dues- paying members in 2009
 •  Our mission is to welcome, inspire, educate, and activate the youth of New York City into the political scene 2
  3. 3. BEFORE WE GET STARTED…. •  When is the next election? •  How many people represent you? •  Do you know who your elected officials are? •  Name the last elected official who was accused of corruption •  Who heard about the June 8 coup in the New York State Senate? 3
  4. 4. THE BIG PICTURE As a New Yorker, theoretically it will be your civic duty to cast an informed vote for no less than 15 elected officials. Who “represents” me? FEDERAL STATE CITY •  President •  Governor •  Mayor •  US Senators •  State Senator •  City Councilperson •  US Congressperson •  Assemblyperson •  City Comptroller •  State Comptroller •  Public Advocate •  Attorney General •  District Attorney •  Borough President 4
  5. 5. WHEN IT COMES TO VOTING, LIFE MIGHT BE BETTER AS A CANADIAN If you lived in Toronto, youʼd cast your vote only thrice: Who “represents” me, eh? FEDERAL PROVINCE CITY •  Parliament member •  Parliament member •  City Councilperson 5
  6. 6. TOO MANY ELECTEDS, TOO LITTLE TIME = CORRUPTION Matt Yglesias @ Think Progress: New Yorkers donʼt have five times as much time in their day to monitor the performance of elected officials. Instead, New Yorkʼs elected officials simply arenʼt monitored as closely. That creates more scope for corruption. 6
  7. 7. TODAY, WE WANT TO DISCUSS CORRUPTION IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE Who “represents” me? FEDERAL STATE CITY •  President •  Governor •  Mayor •  US Senators •  State Senator •  City Councilperson •  US Congressperson •  Assemblyperson •  City Comptroller •  State Comptroller •  Public Advocate •  Attorney General •  District Attorney •  Borough President But why should young people in NYC care about what goes on in the state legislature in Albany? 7
  8. 8. REASON #1:
 ALBANY MATTERS Many of the issues young people in New York City care about canʼt change without someone signing something in Albany. ISSUE WHY ALBANY MATTERS Marriage Equality State controls marriage licenses The MTA State controls funding Taxes State must pass law Public Schools State must pass law Healthcare State issues a lot of regulations 8
  9. 9. REASON #2: ALBANY TAKES OUR MONEY Example of NYC residents getting screwed, from this yearʼs proposed Executive Budget % of state revenues from NYC: 50% % cut in revenue-sharing % cut in revenue-sharing for NYC over last year: for other NY localities: 100% 1-5% Source: Mayorʼs Testimony to the State Senate Finance and Assembly Ways & Means 9 Committees: http://www.scribd.com/doc/25771993/Mayor-s-Budget-Testimony-1-25-10-2
  10. 10. REASON #3: WE WANT DEMOCRACY Wikipedia definition for ʻdemocracyʼ: Even though there is no specific, universally accepted definition of ʻdemocracyʼ, there are two principles that any definition includes: equality and freedom. 
 These two principles are reflected by: 
 1.  All citizens having equal access to power 2.  All citizens being equal before the law 10
  11. 11. THE NY STATE LEGISLATURE IS NOT A DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTION It fails on both democratic principles: 1.  Not all citizens have equal access to power. 2.  Not all citizens are equal before the law. = #democracyfail 
 11
  12. 12. #democracyfail 
 PART 1: ACCESS TO POWER In 1994 and again in 1996, the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU Law School found New Yorkʼs legislature the most dysfunctional of all 50 states. Why? “New York Stateʼs legislative process is broken” and “deprives citizens of full representation in Albany” 12
  13. 13. “THREE MEN IN A ROOM” Only three men matter in New York State when it comes to passing legislation that will affect 20 million New Yorkers: 1. The Speaker of the Assembly 2. The President of the Senate W00T 3. The Governor Well, !@#$ 13
  14. 14. WHY RULES MATTER 1.  Leaders control the chamber floor. Only bills that will pass are brought to the floor. 2.  All discussion on bills is done behind closed doors. 3.  Committees and sub-committees are inactive, rarely holding hearings or discussions. 4.  Conference committees between the two houses, as in the US Congress, do not exist. 14
  15. 15. AGAINST SUCH POWER, THERE CAN BE NO RESISTANCE Why donʼt individual members stand up and change the rules? One word: MONEY. Which means: 1.  Member items 2.  Money for offices and staff 3.  Committee assignments 4.  Housekeeping funds 15
  16. 16. #democracyfail 
 PART 2: EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW 16
  17. 17. ETHICS ISSUES ABOUND IN 
 THE STATE LEGISLATURE Legislative Ethics LEC was established by members and is made Committee is a joke up of members. Self-policing doesnʼt work. Undisclosed Legislators are “part-time” and can have “outside income” outside income that does not necessarily have to be made public or reported to LEC “Pay-to-play” and Unlike in New York City, there is no public ludicrously lax funding for State elections. The contribution campaign finance limits for individuals, lobbyists, and organizations laws are also much higher. 17
  18. 18. PEDRO ESPADA JR. State Senator Pedro Espada Jr
 Majority Leader of the New York State Senate 18
  19. 19. A LONG HISTORY OF ALLEGATIONS •  Allegedly lives in a $700,000 house outside of his district.
 •  Allegedly uses his personal non-profit, Soundview Health System to direct money to himself and family members. •  Racked up over $60k of fines in various campaign finance shenanigans, and in some campaigns never filed disclosures at all. 
 •  "In past prosecutions of Pedro or his underlings, he has walked and they've taken the fall for him, rewarded with getting back their jobs.“ (Daily News) 19
  20. 20. IT ALL BEGAN WITH TWO MILLION DOLLARS… In 2009, Pedro tried to get $2 million in member items for Bronx groups connected to him and that in some cases looked like they had just been created especially to receive the money. The State Senate leadership thought it looked too fishy even for Albany, and said no. Unfortunately for everyone else in New York State, ʻnoʼ was not an acceptable answer for Pedro… 20
  21. 21. A ONE-VOTE MAJORITY AFTER 50 YEARS OF REPUBLICAN CONTROL OF THE SENATE 32 30 21 
  22. 22. IF YOU WERE PEDRO, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? (a) Run for Governor of Illinois (b) Realize that maybe you shouldnʼt be enriching yourself, family, and/or friends out of taxpayer funds (c) Join the Republicans to get what you want ✓ (d) Blackmail the Democrats to get what you want ✓ 22
  23. 23. PEDRO AND HIS CO-CONSPIRATOR 
 FORMER SEN HIRAM MONSERRATE JOINED THE GOP Pedro + Hiram Oh, !@#$ =32! 23 
  24. 24. WHAT PEDRO WANTS, PEDRO GETS The June 8 coup consumed six weeks of the legislative session in which absolutely nothing was accomplished for New Yorkers. A couple weeks later into the coup, the Democratic caucus welcomed Sen Monserrate back into the fold. They even gave him his committee chairmanship, along with the $12K “lulu” back. Yup. The coup came to a close when negotiations with Pedro led to his return to the Democratic caucus. For his efforts, Pedro received the title of Majority Leader and the trappings of the office. He also got his $2 million member item. 24
  25. 25. OUR FAVORITE SENATE COUP MOMENT With the chamber tied 31-31 after Monserrate returned to the Dems, Pedro argued he could cast not just one vote but two – one as the Senate President and another as a regular Senator 25
  26. 26. AND ITʼS NOT JUST PEDRO Assemblyman 
 •  10 years in prison for embezzlement, fraud and Brian McLaughlin taking bribes •  Stole from a Little League team in Queens. Assemblywoman 
 •  2-6 years in prison for demanding a developer Diane Gordon build her a house in exchange for govʼt land State Senator •  Faces up to 20 years in prison for conviction on Joe Bruno two federal felony corruption charges 26
  27. 27. …YUP, THEREʼS MORE State Senator •  Convicted of Class A misdemeanor for allegedly Hiram Monserrate slashing his girlfriend. •  Expelled from the Senate by his colleagues – the same ones who let him return after the coup. Former State Senator, •  Indicted in 2010 on 13 counts of extortion and Councilman 
 fraud. Larry Seabrook •  Now famous for his $177 bagel + coffee. State Senator 
 •  Indicted for diverting over $400,000 in funds Efrain Gonzalez meant for a community group to his own personal accounts. 27
  28. 28. THE HEART OF THE MATTER There are many ethical, diligent and hard-working elected officials throughout New York. But a broken, undemocratic legislature is keeping them from doing their job – and the issues the people care about arenʼt being addressed in Albany. We need to elect more people who will fight to restore democracy to New York. 28
  29. 29. WHAT CAN YOU DO? •  Learn about your elected officials – you can find information about them on government websites (e.g., NYSenate.gov •  Read the news and stay informed about what your elected officials are doing. •  When you turn 18, register and turn out to vote. •  If youʼre not happy about something, join a campaign or an organization that supports your political views. 29

×