Will of the People
Imagine, Rensselaer County resident, you vote in the next presidential election. Being from rural upstate New York, you probably voted for the Republican candidate. The election is close but the Republican narrowly wins, even in New York, whose Electoral College votes provide the national margin of victory. You’re ecstatic—the Republicans are back in control. But wait, the Democrats in control of the NYS legislature don’t like this result. Instead of certifying the Republican electors chosen by the majority, they certify another set of electors to vote for the Democratic candidate when the Electoral College meets.
They justify this action by using an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution called the “independent legislature” theory, which says that state legislatures have the sole authority to appoint electors in their respective states. So, state legislators choose electors, not voters. This seem contrary to democratic principles like majority rule. Now, your mood has changed to outrage. How dare those Democrats do such a thing! But it is not Democrats who push this theory—it’s Republicans.
They tried in challenges to the 2020 election, in part by attempts to throw out electors selected by state majorities in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin, replacing them with electors favorable to former President Trump. They are continuing to promote this theory in legal circles around the country, hoping to bring it to the Supreme Court. If this prevails, then partisan state legislatures will be free to ignore the majority vote and make their own choices. Elections would be a sham, sort of like Russia. So when you claim that Biden stole the last election (without evidence—which we still believe in, don’t we?), and claim that Democrats are subverting the will of the people, pay attention to what Republicans are doing around the country to make it harder for citizens to vote, and to negate voters’ choices through partisan state legislatures.
Michael Roland, Nassau
PFOA SAGA No. 12 – They Were Expendable
Sometime in the future, when these children now attending Algonquin School in Poestenkill, where the polluters are safe and children are not, are grown up and get asked by one of their children what an “expendable” is, these children will answer, “well, that was actually us, the children who attended Algonquin School after 1993, when the NYSDEC and Poestenkill colluded with each other to place an industrial-scale garbage transfer station that would earn money for Poestenkill based on the garbage by the ton pouring through, or being rammed through, actually, while the NYDOH, the RCHD, and the APBOE, all of whom were responsible for protecting our public water supply looked another way and saw nothing at all when they did so.”
“Simply put, they will say, “expendables like us were considered of little significance when compared to an overall purpose, that being Poestenkill making money off of garbage, and therefore able to be abandoned, and so we were, because we were easy victims, not having any voice to raise of our own!”
“But how could that happen,” the children would say, “when the Environmental Policy of the State of New York at ECL § 1-0101(1) says “(T)he quality of our environment is fundamental to our concern for the quality of life,” and “(I)t is hereby declared to be the policy of the State of New York to prevent, abate and control water pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well being.”
And these children then grown up and wiser will tell their children truthfully that those words are empty and mean nothing because in ECL § 3-0103, the Legislature made the DEC commissioner a servant of the governor totally unaccountable to the people, and especially children next to a DEC-permitted facility, and by inserting the words “shall have power to” in ECL § 3-0301(1) and (2), the Legislature made adherence to the environmental policy optional, a matter of discretion.
Paul Plante, Poestenkill