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Authorities with an agenda: Cops using police vehicle to advocate against constitutional convention

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New York’s Finest are bucking convention.

Cops in the 79th Precinct are using a police van to illegally sway residents to vote against a holding constitutional convention, infuriating reform-minded locals.

“It sucks to see public resources being spent to keep our system broken,” said Williamsburg district leader Nick Rizzo.

The politico noticed the van adorned with a bumper sticker that read “Vote No!” and “Constituti­onal Convention = More Taxes” in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Thursday. Following the last convention in 1967, pols passed legislation mandating New Yorkers vote every 20 years in November’s general election on whether or not to send delegates to Albany with the power to revise the state’s constitution.

But in placing the sticker on the van, police broke local laws that prohibit public servants from using government resources to “support or oppose a particular ballot referendum question.”

And 79th-Precinct authorities aren’t the only cops using department property to influence voters against amending the constitution. Last month, a good-government advocate snapped photos of a highway cruiser in Flatbush and a police van in the Bronx plastered with identical bumper stickers, enraging convention supporters.

“Using government resources in this way is totally illegal,” said Evan Davis, manager of the Committee for a Constitutional Convention. “It’s disappointing to see the NYPD, which is charged with upholding the law, breaking it.”

The most recent sticker sighting prompted a coalition of convention advocates to insist New York Police Department brass investigate its source and punish whomever slapped it on.

“We are publicly demanding the NYPD enforce the law on the very officers who are responsible for upholding it,” said Al Benninghoff, campaign manager for the coalition. “We demand they open an investigation to discover the officers responsible and bring them to justice.”

The convention is opposed by labor unions throughout the state, including the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which represents men and women in blue and urged them in a Facebook post to vote against it, claiming the caucus would waste “hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars” and jeopardize New Yorkers’ retirement rights.

The police department ordered precinct commanders across the city to ensure vehicles are inspected daily for “unauthorized equipment or items” in response to the bumper-sticker scandal, according to a spokesman. An officer in the 79th Precinct’s community affairs unit declined to comment.

This isn’t not the first time city vehicles have sported election-influencing propaganda. Last year, Department of Sanitation officials investigated agency employees after Midwood residents reported a garbage truck displaying a pro-Donald Trump sign in their nabe.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:53 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

ELL from Sunset Park says:
I am not worried about a sticker that may or may not have been placed on a vehicle by anyone in the NYPD. I myself have walked out to find a sticker on the bumper of the car, certainly not put there by me, during elections and at various venues.
Instead of worrying about a sticker, worry about the water you drink, the air you breath, the way tax dollars would be used.

Consider the cost of opening the convention, (hiring the 189 delegates from each of the 63 Senate districts each being paid somewhere between $75, 000 - $80,000 to do this work.) Did you know that present salaried government officials can run for these positions making that money on top of their present salaries? What about the influence of big real estate and business money influencing the changes to the Constitution for their own gain?
What about present climate & environmental protections? In today's 'political' atmosphere they would be overturned. Say Good-bye to the "Forever Wild" areas of NYS. It is that Constitution that protects them.
As of right now without having a Constitutional Convention, the NYS Constitution can and has been changed through Amendments. All the state Legislature does is pass a constitutional amendment in two 2 consecutive legislative sessions and then it is put before New Yorkers in a statewide vote. ( No extra personnel, no extra salaries, translation no extra cost to the taxpayers of NYS!) This process has been used many times already in our state’s history. Remember? term limits! How about Casino gambling? .
A constitutional convention would also allow protected and guaranteed rights of workers to be jeopardized. I am voting NO.
Oct. 16, 2017, 9:55 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Clear violation of the rules, and entirely unacceptable. Public servants need to leave their personal opinions at home when they report to work.
Oct. 16, 2017, 10:04 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
If any state ever needed a constitutional convention to destroy the parasitic unions sucking the state coffers dry, its New York. Every bumper sticker against con-con on a public vehicle is just further proof of that fact.
Oct. 16, 2017, 11:07 am
Tyler from pps says:
So, we have $16 million for the 204 delegate salaries (per year, right? How long does this last?) And probably another $10 to $20 million for various institutional and legislative support of this project. A few million for every time a public ballot is involved (many times)

And the biggest hopes and dreams of this process is.... ?

A dead-on-arrival push to change to a unicameral state legislature? (Ha!)

Public financing of elections? (Because this can't be figured out through legislation, it's going to be magically resolved through a con-con??)

How about the fun idea of making New York a so-called "right-to-work" state? Yay! Who needs labor protections?!

Home Rule for NYC? What's the chances the upstate delegates would even let that come up in conversation?

What else...? 204 delegates certainly can brainstorm up some fun ideas for $80,000 each I suppose.
Oct. 16, 2017, 12:59 pm
JJ Buble from Greenpointed says:
If we have a convention who is going to run?

New Kings Democrats seem to be consumed with busy work like county committee. Like any of that matters.
Oct. 16, 2017, 1:07 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
If NFL players aren't supposed to make political statements in uniform on the field, then neither should public servants in uniform on the job.
Oct. 16, 2017, 3:57 pm
Lemmings go in the wrong direction-suicide from NY State says:
The fear tactics by the status quo electeds -most of whom should be fired for legislative negligence in Albany...and the unions fearful of losing their pensions -make the rest of us victims as long as 'they get theirs'!

Voting FOR the Con-Con could finally-finally(!) address and alter gerrymandered voting disparities...plea bargaining injustice...lack of term limits...out of control public dollars for private corporations...stoping the infamous LLC loopholes...addressing the predatory Nursing Home mafia -just some of the items a Constitutional Convention could remediate...

Do your homework...reading the side of a cop car ain't gonna; do it folks.
Oct. 16, 2017, 4:43 pm

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