Cuomo Prepares To Wage 'Battle Of Albany'
It's as clear a warning shot as you can get.
"You may not hear cannons and musket fire, but there is a battle of Albany going on and what we're talking about here is fundamental change," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
That fundamental change Governor Cuomo referred to was the "culture" of Albany.
"For 15 years it's been operated by the special interests and I'm now saying I want government to work for the people," said Cuomo.
That's why he has vowed to veto a redistricting proposal on the table now - calling the plan "wholly unacceptable" - a ploy to stack voter numbers in the favor of re-election for the Senate's Republican majority and the Democratic majority in the Assembly.
"I do believe that the map around us, now not everybody, not all of the assembly people. But in this area we definitely have been gerrymandered," said Ken Blankenbush, R - 122nd Assembly District.
Blankenbush says he's hopeful lawmakers can come up with a better solution.
"Let's hope it's not a battle. I think that last year we proved that we can work across party lines to get something done," he said.
The governor may have drawn the battle lines with the Legislature, but he seems to have declared war on a different front.
"I think the battle in Albany right now is the governor and the teachers unions," said Blankenbush.
Cuomo says if the state department of education and the teachers unions can't agree on a teacher evaluation system by February 16, he'll come up with one himself to be passed as part of the budget.
The major sticking point - the weight of standardized test scores.
"We have been and we remain hopeful that there can be a settlement but teachers are going to continue to fight for their students," said Carl Korn, spokesman for the New York State United Teachers Union.
Blankebush says the governor's solution would hold the budget and state lawmakers hostage.
Sunday, May 19, 2013, Watertown, NY
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