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County Exec Critical Of Legislator
April 6, 2011 - Dunkirk OBSERVER
Posted by Nicholas L. Dean
Originally posted online at www.post-journal.com on April 5, 2011.
County Executive Greg Edwards wrote about Saturday's reapportionment commission meeting in his Monday Morning Memo yesterday.
The Monday Morning Memo is a digital newsletter written weekly by the county executive.
In the April 4 edition, Edwards wrote about the "unprecedented" events of Saturday -- what went into the meeting, what happened at the meeting and what resulted from it.
The piece can be read in full by clicking here.
Also yesterday, Edwards spoke with The Post-Journal about Saturday's meeting and about some of what has happened since.
In conversation with the newspaper, Edwards reiterated much of what he wrote in the Monday Morning Memo, but also alleged that Minority Leader Rudy Mueller, D-Lakewood, is "going back on his commitment to redistrict."
What follows is the full text of The Post-Journal's conversation with Edwards from yesterday:
"I remain encouraged by the work that was completed on Saturday. And that was a long day. But I cannot overstress the reaction from this professional from Schenectady.
He's a professional in the redistricting business, and that's at the federal, state and local government level, who felt compelled to call me after Saturday's meeting. He said, 'Hey Greg, I've just got to tell you, I'm driving home from this meeting' and he used the word 'unprecedented.'
He said, 'I've never seen that approach before,' where the minority party, in this case the Democrats, led by Rudy Mueller, had a series of questions about the plan that was being presented and the majority -- Fred Croscut, Larry and Dave -- said 'Sit right down here. Come sit with the guy we're paying to consult with us on our maps and the redistricting here to make sure they're done legal and effectively. Sit down, make your suggestions.'
And over the two hours of time spent right there with Rudy making the requested changes and many of them being implemented into the plan that was finally developed, to then have a 5 to 0 vote to approve it... I share the opinion that that's good work, well done.
Now, as you, I'm sure, are aware, throwing cold water on that to some degree is Rudy's now about-face and his going back on his commitment to redistrict.
And so while I thought it represented Chautauqua County well on Saturday, I'm frustrated by what I've seen (since then).
Now remember, I'm forever the optimist and believe that from their joint efforts they came up with a good plan, obviously supported across party boundaries if you get a 5-0 vote.
So I'm encouraging legislators to go forward with this good work and bring this plan to completion and get it to the full legislature so that they can review it and vote on it because the only way those of us who support the potential for a fewer number of legislators -- and I've been out there, 19 has always been a number that I've thought was a practical one.
But the only way that happens is if this plan goes forward and it's voted on on the 20th and 13 legislators from whatever background they come from believe that this is a good start.
And so I'm nervous about what I hear. But I guess the takeaway for me was that I thought that this was a good process, one that the Republicans have said for two years that 'This is what we will do.' I think Fred, Larry and Dave did exactly what they said they would and so I was encouraged by that and I think it's a plan that we need to go forward with. But this is a legislature decision and all I can do is, just like any other taxpayer, encourage."
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County Executive Greg Edwards is pictured here at JCC in this P-J file photo from 2009