New York State must vote against a constitutional convention
MARIA CASTRO | 11/2/2017, 2:19 p.m.
Considering that in past elections, less than 50 percent of the voters delivered blank votes for the referendum calling for a constitutional convention, the organization We the People of the State of New York is conducting a grass-roots effort, urging voters to get out and vote and to vote NO for a constitutional convention and save taxpayers millions of dollars.
Our main purpose is to incite civic engagement in light of the state of political affairs our nation is under and combat voter apathy, to energize “the people ” and entice them to come out and participate in a plethora of volunteering opportunities, whether it be on the phone, talking to people on the streets, canvassing door to door, attending rallies and the like, every day until and including Election Day in hopes that more voters come out to exercise their right to cast their vote.
We the People is conducting phone banks Monday through Friday in centrally located venues in Manhattan, during the afternoons and early evenings and providing door to door, neighbor to neighbor canvassing opportunities. For additional information or to sign up, contact WethePeopleSayNo@gmail.com
In 1967, voters approved a constitutional convention and ultimately voted against the amendments proposed by the delegation.
In 1997, the voting population in New York State voted against a constitutional convention as follows:
14 percent voted YES
22 percent voted NO
64 percent of the votes were left blank
We the People looks to increase the number of voters and of course to win the majority of votes against the constitutional convention.
A NO vote will preserve the New York State Constitution as is and will allow for all government reforms to be conducted under regular legislative sessions, which costs are encumbered in the state’s annual budget. The price tag of the convention alone, which could total $250 million, can leave everyday New Yorkers holding the bag. The salaries for the 204 delegates will be approximately $16 million for the first year, not including the costs for benefits, staffing, office space, office supplies and convention expenditures.
The Rockefeller Institute of Government published a report titled the “Risks Outweigh the Rewards.” The Daily News reported, “It threatens New York workers’ rights.” The New York Post declared, “New Yorkers shouldn’t fall for the constitutional convention con.”
A YES vote has the potential of doing away with the constitutional rights that guarantee us freedom of speech, access to a free education, worker protections, retirement benefit pensions and economic-environmental-judicial-social justice among others.
Despite what the proponents of the constitutional convention say, labor union leaders are making a case before their members urging them to join other civic, community, labor and political leaders in voting NO to protect workers who dedicated their work-lifetime for pension benefits.
“Vote NO to con con and not be ‘conned’ by the rich and powerful that are expected to dominate the convention,” said Robert J. Croghan, chair of the Executive Board of the Office of Staff Analysts Union. And Cesar Vargas, attorney at law said, “The constitutional convention will open a door to an assault against our fundamental rights and liberties, especially by those malevolent interests who seek to debase our environmental protections, labor rights. Needless to say, it creates an unnecessary and expensive bureaucracy. The people of the NYS already have plenty of channels to amend our constitution when we need to expand our rights.”
We the People’s grass-roots effort is designed to reach out to everyone equally. We have Spanish speakers, and volunteers who speak other languages are welcome to assure no voter is left behind.
We the People of the State of New York is made up of civic- minded individuals and a committee filed with the New York State Board of Elections to oppose Proposition 1, calling for a constitutional convention, coming up for a vote on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.
Maria Castro is a business, community, family and political leader of 30-plus years, elected in 2016 as a DNC delegate to the presidential convention and a delegate to the NYS judicial convention. She opposes the convention and is spearheading this effort in conjunction with a group of interns from Baruch College, St. John’s University and local high schools in Manhattan, looking to increase participation of the 21 and under population, as she recently confirmed the voter enrollment for this segment of the population to be less than 2 percent in Manhattan.