Six Amendments to State Constitution on Ballot
By Jann Wiswall
All registered voters in Cattaraugus County have the opportunity to vote next Tuesday, Nov. 5, for State Supreme Court Justice, County District Attorney, County Sheriff and County Coroner. In addition, voters in Ellicottville, Great Valley and Mansfield will select some of their municipal leaders.
Throughout the state, voters will choose between Democrat Mark A. Montour and Republican Paul B. Wojfaszek.
In Cattaraugus County, incumbent Lori P. Rieman is running unopposed for District Attorney and Timothy S. Whitcomb is running unopposed for Sheriff.
Democrat David G. Siafakas is running against Republican Kevin M. O’Rourke for County Coroner.
Town of Ellicottville
Incumbent councilmember Steven J. Crowley and Richard P. Jackson are running for the two vacant seats on the Town of Ellicottville Board.
Town of Great Valley
Ted LaCroix, Ann L. Rockwell and Daniel R. Smith are vying for two positions on the Town of Great Valley Board.
Town of Mansfield
In Mansfield, two board positions expire this year. Incumbents James A. Hammond and Donald F. Mosher both are running for reelection and are being challenged by two Patriot Party candidates, Gregory L. Meyer and Larry A. Johnson. Voters will be asked to vote for two of the four candidates.
Mansfield voters also will select a new Town Highway Superintendent. Republican Brad Hurley, who has served for many years as Deputy Superintendent and currently is serving as Acting Superintendent, is running against Patriot Party candidate Jeffrey J. Williams.
Three incumbents are running unopposed for reelection to another term in their current posts: Robert C. Keis for Town Supervisor, Betty Jane Horning for Town Clerk and Randy E. Alexander for Town Justice.
In addition to these elections, voters throughout the state will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on the following proposed amendments to the state constitution.
Proposal Number One: Authorizing Casino Gaming. “The proposed amendment … would allow the legislature to authorize up to seven casinos in New York State …”
Proposal Number Two: Additional Civil Service Credit for Veterans with Disabilities Certified Post-Appointment. “The proposed amendment … would entitle a veteran who has received civil service credit for an appointment or promotion and subsequently is certified as disabled to additional civil service credit at a subsequent appointment or promotion.”
Proposal Number Three: Exclusion of Indebtedness Contracted for Sewage Facilities. “The proposed amendment … would extend for ten years … the authority of counties, cities, towns and villages to exclude from their constitutional debt limits indebtedness contracted for the construction or reconstruction of sewage facilities.”
Proposal Number Four: Settling Disputed Title in the Forest Preserve. “The proposed amendment … would settle longstanding disputes between the State and private entities over ownership of certain parcels of land in the town of Long Lake, Hamilton County. In exchange for giving up its claim to disputed parcels, the State would get land to be incorporated into the forest preserve that would benefit the forest preserve more than the disputed parcels currently do.”
Proposal Number Five: In Relation to a Land Exchange in the State Forest Preserve with NYCO Minerals, Inc. “The proposed amendment … would authorize the Legislature to convey forest preserve land … in the town of Lewis, Essex County, to NYCO Minerals…[which] plans on expanding an existing mine that the adjoins the forest preserve land. In exchange, NYCO Minerals would give the State…the same amount of land of at least the same value, with a minimum assessed value of $1 million, to be added to the forest preserve. When NYCO Minerals finishes mining, it would restore the condition of the land and return it to the forest preserve.”
Proposal Number Six: Increasing Age Until Which Certain State Judges Can Serve. “The proposed amendment … would increase the maximum age until which certain state judges may serve as follows: (a) a Justice of the Supreme Court would be eligible for five additional two-year terms after the present retirement age of 70 … and (b) a Judge of the Court of Appeals who reaches the age of 70 while in office would be permitted to remain in service … for up to 10 years beyond the present retirement age of 70 in order to complete the term to which that Judge was appointed.”
Finding an objective explanation of the rationale behind and impact of these amendments can be difficult. The New York City Campaign Finance Board has posted a well-organized description of each proposal that includes pros, cons and statements of support and opposition from various issues advocates. Visit http://www.nyccfb.info/public/voter-guide/general_2013/ballot_proposals.aspx.
In addition, the League of Women Voters of New York has posted a pdf of its voter’s guide to the ballot proposals. This, too, describes the views of opponents and supporters of each amendment. Visit http://lwvny.org/advocacy/elections/2013/VotersGuide_Part%20II_2013.pdf.