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Rally Charges Ball with Reneging on NY Uprising Pledge

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Heather Roberson, co-founder of Act Now, led the crowd of protesters in chants.
Heather Roberson, co-founder of Act Now, led the crowd of protesters in chants.

Chanting “Hey Ball, it’s your call. Fulfill your pledge or you will fall,” about fifty protesters held a rally at the Riverfront Green Park Pavilion in Peekskill on Saturday claiming state Senator Greg Ball reneged on the NY Uprising pledge he signed promising to pass independent redistricting in the state legislature.

While running for the state senate seat in 2010, Ball signed former NYC Mayor Ed Koch’s NY Uprising pledge which supports independent redistricting, responsible budgeting and ethics reform. Ball was one of 138 elected officials who signed the pledge.

In March, Ball voted in favor of the Senate bill S.3331, which created an independent, non-partisan, apportionment committee to draw new legislative and Congressional districts every ten years, but postponed the measure until the next redistricting that is to be done in 2021. The NY Uprising pledge sought immediate change in the approach to redistricting.

New Roosevelt founder Bill Samuels fired up the like-minded crowd, when he said he felt betrayed by Ball’s siding with the status quo. Samuels recalled how earlier in his political career, Ball was a “maverick” and was independent on issues such as ethics and reform. “Now his double talk on the Koch pledge and being in favor of a flawed constitutional convention proves that he would rather be just another status quo Albany politician,” Samuels stated.

The protest was organized by progressive groups such as Act Now, which brought a charter bus full of people to the rally from New York City. Local groups were in attendance but in much smaller numbers.

On his website, Ball released a statement on the protest.  “While I welcome them to the Hudson Valley, this sideshow is financed by New York City Democrat operatives and will not lower anyone’s taxes or create a single job,” it read. “The ‘protest’ organizers themselves admit to representing over a dozen partisan, Democrat groups. Unfortunately, I think they are either misinformed or lost, because I have supported and passed constitutional, fair, non-partisan redistricting in the Senate and I would further support truly independent redistricting based upon geography and demographics. Folks, let’s focus on jobs and taxes, not cheap political tricks.”

The groups represented at the rally include: Westchester For Change, Westchester Young Democrats, Dutchess Young Democrats, Peekskill Democratic City Committee, Citizen Action of New York, New York Democratic Lawyers Council, New York State Young Democrats, New York Democratic Law Council, College Democrats of New York, New York Civic, Act Now, New York State Young Democratic Caucus of Color, Tribeca for Change, Manhattan Young Democrats, Queens County Young Democrats and Brooklyn Young Democrats.

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