It's unfortunate that the League of Women Voters of Nassau County chose to schedule its debate on a night I was scheduled to speak to the Long Island Society of Italian Americans ["Candidates duck debates, hurt voters," Letters, Oct. 17]. My campaign shared this information with the league right from the beginning. It's disappointing and confusing that the league's co-presidents would not seek to reschedule, but rather to grandstand over a scheduling conflict they've known about for weeks.
If the league were truly interested in "nonpartisan, informative and fair candidate debates," it should be demanding to know why my opponent, Kathleen Rice, has stopped responding to inquiries from WABC-TV for a debate that would be televised to thousands of neighbors. I have agreed to this debate.
Bruce A. Blakeman, Long Beach
Editor's note: The writer is running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence ballot lines for the 4th Congressional District seat.
Redistricting plan is worth a 'yes'
Newsday urged its readers to reject Proposal 1 on the Nov. 4 ballot because it does not do enough to improve New York State's corrupt and broken redistricting process ["Reject proposal on election maps," Editorial, Oct. 16].
To the contrary, the League of Women Voters believes that Proposal 1 represents a real improvement to the current system. We have been fighting for decades for redistricting reform, and this is a unique opportunity to take back power from the legislature in a state that does not have laws allowing voter-initiated referendums or initiatives.
This reform would put us ahead of the game compared with the vast majority of states where the legislature draws lines directly. Even in those few states with citizen -- non-legislator -- commissions, legislative leaders and elected officials almost always have a say in selecting members.
Proposal 1 bans the practice of legislators drawing electoral maps to favor incumbents or parties by establishing a politically balanced commission charged with drawing fair district maps. Proposal 1 requires the commission to release extensive information and conduct 12 public hearings throughout the state, ensuring greater transparency.
We cannot wait any longer for Albany to fix itself.
Sally Robinson, Albany
Editor's note: The writer is the president of the League of Women Voters of New York State.
Libertarians are the selfish party
I read with great interest "Two other choices for NY governor" [Opinion, Oct. 15]. I appreciated seeing my views on Libertarians confirmed. They basically represent an "I've got mine, too bad for you" position.
Yes, let's do away with the state income tax. That would only leave a huge hole in the budget to be filled by regressive taxes and fees. And nothing so illustrates Michael McDermott's callousness than his stance on health care: Let people "have the freedom to pay for health care as they see fit."
I'm reminded of a statement by a friend of mine -- there are no poor Libertarians.
Joe Squerciati, Hicksville