Earlier this week, former mayor Ed Koch announced that he would begin to robo-call legislators who violated a pledge to back non-partisan redistricting.
Most of the renegers were Senate Republicans, and one, an Assembly Republican, reneged on his reneging decided to in fact support the reforms once Koch started calling his district.
But Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is not sure that the robo-plan is working, mainly because the public is ill-informed about redistricting.
“We are operating now,” he said at an afternoon news conference in Lower Manhattan about the 9/11 Memorial. ”"We are not in a political mode. I don’t know what the impact of that is. I really don’t. I don’t think the public really understands what the whole process he is talking about is.”
Silver at first ignored Koch’s redistricting push, and threw a few barbs Hizzoner’s way, including, at one point, remarking, ”I respect the elderly and I think it is, as my former congressman and my former mayor, someone who supported him many times, I respect his position in life now,” but as recently signed on as a supporter of redistricting reform.
Still, this afternoon Silver seemed in no hurry to push redistricting reform, arguing that it would, like term limits, lead to popular incumbents being forced to give up their seats.
“I think there is a certain degree of the public [that] generally wants to maintain many of their elected officials,” he said. “So I am not sure what the impact [of the robocalls] is.”
Adam Riff, a spokesman for Mayor Koch, passes along the following anecdote told to him by the mayor in response:
“Shelly, a friend of forty years, told me that when we labeled him an ‘Enemy of Reform’, he was accosted at a neighborhood store while shopping, and someone he did not know walked up to him and said ‘Are you Shelly Silver?’ Shelly said, ’Yes. The accoster said: ‘You are an enemy of reform!’ Shelly told me he was very much chagrined by the incident.
“I wish Shelly a sweet Passover.”