Green

Elections '17: Statewide Proposals Round Out Area Ballots

This Election Day, when voters go to the polls, they will not only be asked to choose their representatives for local and county offices, they will be asked to approve or reject three statewide ballot proposals.

Here’s the gist:

Proposal 1: Convening a Constitutional Convention 
New Yorkers have a big decision to make on whether to overhaul the state constitution. New York’s constitution requires that every 20 years, voters be asked to decide whether they want to rewrite the state’s foundational document. Fourteen other states have similar mechanisms in place to periodically ask voters about convening a convention to revise their state’s governing charter. 

Sign Up for E-News

The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) said the collective decision on whether to convene a convention will likely turn on two issues: (1) how New Yorkers feel about the state of their state; and (2) how concerned they are about provisions that could be put at risk if a convention is convened. If voters are unhappier with the direction of New York than they are worried about jeopardizing current constitutional provisions, then they’ll vote yes.

Proposal 2:  Allowing for the reduction or revocation of pensions of corrupt public officials
This proposed amendment to section 7 of Article 2 of the state cnstitution would allow a court to reduce or revoke the public pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony that has a direct and actual relationship to the performance of the public officer’s existing duties. 

Public officers include state and local government elected and appointed officials and staff. Under current law, public officials can put their pension at risk if they are convicted of corruption only if they took office after 2010. Under New York’s constitution, public pensions cannot be altered once the individual is in the system. Therefore, under current law, changes can only be made for future public employees— those entering the pension system post-2010. Proposal 2 would allow for the reduction or removal of a public pension from a public official who was in the system prior to 2011 if that individual was convicted of a crime relating to his or her public office. If approved, the amendment applies to any crimes that occur on or after Jan. 1.

Proposal 3: Creation of a land bank in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves 
The proposed amendment will create a land account with up to 250 acres of forest preserve land eligible for use by towns, villages, and counties that have no viable alternative to using forest preserve land to address specific public health and safety concerns. 

The proposed amendment also will allow bicycle trails and certain public utility lines to be located within the width of specified highways that cross the forest preserve while minimizing removal of trees and vegetation. 

If approved, the land bank would allow local governments in these areas to request the use of land in the forest preserves for development projects in exchange for the state acquiring 250 acres to be designated for parks. The reason this question is on the ballot is because the Adirondack and Catskill park forest preserves are protected under the “Forever Wild” clause of the New York State Constitution, which limits development in these areas to protect their natural wilderness character. As a result, the parks are protected as wild forest land, thus prohibiting the lease, sale, exchange, or taking of any forest preserve land. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

North Salem

Upcoming Events

Thu, January 18, 12:00 PM

Thunder Ridge Ski Area, Patterson

North Salem Fun Day at Thunder Ridge - NS ...

Arts & Entertainment Sports

Sat, January 20, 10:00 AM

Jefferson Valley Mall , Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Indoor Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Sat, January 27, 10:00 AM

Jefferson Valley Mall , Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Indoor Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Arctic Blast Purifies

Nothing like a bomb cyclone winter storm followed by days of bright sunshine while temperatures plunge into arctic cold to start the year off beautifully. 

The first day after the cyclone bomb I was out in the early morning watching to the east as dawn slid her rosy colored fingers upon the virgin snow. To the west, the near full-moon shone luminescent, still high in the lilac-gray sky a ...

An age of partisanship

Sadly, we live in an age where everything made public is now at risk of being dragged down into the mud of rank partisanship and politicization. That’s one downside of the web. News everywhere is instant and it travels the world over in the blink of an eye. People turn passionate, get angry, form partisan opinions–which is often just confirmation bias–before all the facts are ...

It’s the hypocrisy, stupid!

Last week, just as I was musing on a topic to write about, there was breaking news in The New York Times about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman, with his brother, of the Weinstein Co. Unknown to the general public (but well-known to many in Hollywood), he has led a 30-year career of routine sexual harassment of actresses and other women he employed, several of whom have sued him ...

Say hello to the dark

This year, the official end of autumn arrives on Dec. 21st, seven weeks hence. However, the real turn of the year toward the oppressive darkness of winter always arrives for me with a bang when daylight saving time ends and darkness begins to descend late afternoon, creeping earlier and earlier, day by day, until it feels we have almost no time at all before nightfall.  This year, daylight ...

For Journalists, Dangerous Days

I have recently learned that I am practicing a most dangerous profession, journalism, which took the lives of 81 reporters all over the world in 2017.

I learned about this danger to my life and health in an Associated Press News article printed in a small newspaper, The Monitor, which circulates in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

According to The Monitor’s annual “Kill ...

Timeless Holiday Tale

“A Newspaper Christmas,” by Herbert Geller, originally ran in our Dec. 22, 2016, edition. It’s a holiday favorite around here. Although it is a bit belated, we hope you enjoy it.

We were not Catholic or Protestant or anything but Jewish, but we always had a good time at Christmas. After all, who were the people who began to celebrate Christmas? They certainly were not ...

Churchill saved the world

I really felt involved in the movie “The Darkest Hour,” which I saw while visiting Mission, Texas. It’s a true story about how British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (played by Gary Oldman) saved Britain and the world from Adolf Hitler and the Nazis beginning in the summer of 1940. Churchill’s relationships with those around him at the time, such as with his wife, ...

Time Management for Reaching New Year's Goals

As the year winds down just before New Year’s Eve, time seems to slow. Activities may be centered on the home and family and if you can plan it, you may have an hour or two to do some goal-setting for the year ahead. Judith, a colleague of mine, annually schedules a retreat on New Year’s weekend. It's great because it accomplishes two things: It allows her to measure where she has ...

Talkin' 'Bout Our Generations

People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

Just because we get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

—Peter Townshend (The Who)

I’ve become obsessed of late with generations. Well, what ...

Farewell, Sad Old Year… Hello, Happy New Year

I’ve started reading a page-turner of a book. It’s not by J.K. Rowling or Dan Brown or even E. L. James.

The book’s sexy title is “Modern Ethics in 77 Arguments,” by Peter Catapano and Simon Critchley (Liveright, 2017). As I thumbed through its pages at the library, I was intrigued by the chapter titles alone, some of which are listed at the end of this ...

A Post-Apocalyptic House Cleaning

I’m usually pretty good about keeping track of what’s in my fridge. But over the course of a few weeks, the food containers seem to multiply and take over. By the time I get around to realizing that some items have been in there too long, the contents of the containers way in the back of the refrigerator either look like a science experiment gone awry or a refrigerated toupee.

This ...

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Grudge

Contrary to what I generally tell people, the happiest moment of my life was not the day I got married, nor the final push when I gave birth to either of my two kids. It was the day a driver tailgated me relentlessly for five miles and then sped away… until he got pulled over by a state trooper.

Although I know it is better to forgive and forget, I am just not one of those people who is ...