College students who held a mock session in the state Senate chambers this weekend proved they have the whole routine down pretty well.
The CUNY and SUNY students debated the redistricting bill that narrowly passed the Republican-controlled State Senate. Mirroring the real-life debate, students representing Republican districts controlled the chamber, and pushed for a constitutional amendment. Students representing Democratic districts said the G.O.P. bill would not fix the problem in time for the 2012 redrawing of legislative lines.
At 23:00 minutes, Marybeth Melendez, representing Democrat Senator Adriano Espaillat’s district in Manhattan, introduced the use of props.
She waved maps that she said were gerrymandered. Then, she reached for a walking stick on her desk, and said, “I know I’m blind, but I know you’re not. Does this look like a fair [district] to you?”
At the 1:33:30 mark, a student from Republican Charles Fuschillo’s district on Long Island, said “Let us recall that the Democratic Party had the majority for two years. And what did they accomplish? Nothing. They failed to gain support for independent redistricting,” and their colleagues in the Assembly “refused to face these problems at all.”
This student, whose first name is Evan but his last name was inaudible in the audio, said Democrats were “disorganized” on the issue. “Take a look at us Republicans. We stand united under one bill.”
At the 1:35:00 mark came the student standing in for the dangerously passionate Democratic State Seantor Kevin Parker, of Brooklyn.
“All 32 of you, I repeat, all 32 of you! Signed the New York Uprising pledge which calls for fair legislative redistricting reforms now!” the student said.
“Look at this chamber,” the student added, “Look! Your representatives are betraying you!”
I’m told the G.O.P. legislation passed, with some student Democrats breaking with the party and realigning more along SUNY/CUNY divisions.