The New York State
Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse
Information Related to New York's Nov. 7, 2017 Constitutional Convention Referendum
- *Citizens Union. Principal: Dick Dadey. Bio: Executive Direct of Citizens Union. Dedicated convention website: New Yorkers for a Better New York; press release announcing the launch of this website sent on June 27, 2017.
- ChangeNYS.org. Principal: James Coll. Bio: Adjunct professor of American and Constitutional history at Hofstra University.
- Committee for a Constitutional Convention. Principal: Evan Davis. Bio: Senior Counsel Cleary Gottlieb, former Counsel to Governor Mario Cuomo, President of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and Vice Chair of Columbia University Board.
- *Forward March New York. Principal: Claire Chapman, President.
- *League of Women Voters of New York State. Principal: Ms. Dare Thompson, President..
- NewAmsterdamNY.org. Principal: John Bergener.
- New Kings Democrats. Principal: Anusha Venkataraman. “New Kings Democrats is a progressive, grassroots political organization committed to bringing transparency, accountability, and inclusionary democracy to the Kings County Democratic Party.”
- LegalWeed4NY. See also Cannabis4ny.org. Principal: Jerome W. Dewald. Bio: Partner in the marketing research firm, Awesomepova Research, which studies marketing and social media in the cannabis space; and Executive Director of Tax and Regulate NY State 2019, which seeks to place a constitutional amendment legalizing adult-use cannabis before the New York voters through a state constitutional convention.
- Long Island Association. Principal: Kevin Law, President.
- *New York State Bar Association. Principal: Sharon Stern Gerstman, President.
- *New York City Bar Association. Principal: John S. Kiernan, President.
- *People’s Convention. Principal: Bill Samuels. Bio: Host of “Effective Radio with Bill Samuels”, which airs live for two hours every month on AM970. Samuels has also put together a New York People’s Convention PAC and the New York Says Yes website.
- Sanctuary State Project. Principal: Art Chang.
- New Yorkers Against Corruption. On June 19, 2017, NYSUT issued a press release listing the coalition members supporting the website. The Facebook page linked to New Yorkers Against Corruption was published around May 27, 2017. The website was published anonymously around April 12, 2017.
- Adirondack Mountain Club. Principal: Neil Woodworth, CEO and Executive Director of the Adirondack Mountain Club.
- American Federation of Teachers. Principal: Randi Weingarten. Longtime president of the AFT who has funded and orchestrated no campaigns across the United States during the past decade.
- Citizen Action. Principal: Karen Scharf, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York, Co-chair of the Working Families Party, and head of the Education Fund (the non-profit affiliate of Citizen Action). According to a 2015 Times Union article, the Education Fund received $210,000 from NYSUT. Note: Ms. Scharf majored in Social Studies at Harvard College when the editor of this clearinghouse, J.H. Snider, was majoring in the same department.
- Conservative Party of New York State. Principal: Michael R. Long. Chair of the Conservative Party of New York State.
- *CSEA (Local 1000 AFSCME, AFL-CIO). Principal: Danny Donahue, President.
- DC37-AFSCME–American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (“New York City’s Largest Public Union”).
- Empire Government Strategies (under the URL NYConCon.info). Principal: Jerry Kremer, president of Empire Government Strategies and a former 13-term (1966-1988) New York State Assembly legislator. Kremer promotes Empire Government Strategies as “the most effective government relations firm in New York State.”
- Enterprise Association of Steamfitters Local 638. Principal: Patrick Dolan Jr., President.
- Independent Democratic Conference. Chaired by Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) and including Senator Marisol Alcantara, (D-Manhattan), Senator Diane Savino (D-SI/Brooklyn), Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Brooklyn), and Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens). See Unions and Independent Democratic Conference members stand together against national right-to-work legislation and release four-point protection plan for New York State workers, press release from office of Senator Jeff klein, February 10, 2017, and the accompanying report, Union Strong. “In opposing a Constitutional Convention, the IDC will work with labor to educate voters of the potential consequences of such an event, including the influence of outside special interests to push anti-worker amendments as well as the cost to taxpayers.”
- New York Farm Bureau.
- *New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF). Principal: Wayne Spence, President.
- New York Civil Liberties Union. Principal: Donna Lieberman, Executive Director.
- New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, Principal: Jason J. McGuire, Executive Director.
- NoNewYorkConvention.org. This was the original umbrella group no coalition website, but no sponsor/principal was disclosed as of June 12, 2017. This was replaced by New Yorkers Against Corruption (see above).
- Police Benevolent Association, Nassau County (PBA).
- PEF–New York State Public Employees Federation. Principal: Wayne Spence, President of the New York State Public Employees Federation.
- *NYSUT. Principal: Andrew Pallotta, President.
- Retired Public Employees Association (RPEA). Principal: Edward Farrell, Executive Director.
- Transport Workers Union (TWU). Principal: Angelo Cucuzza, Chair.
- Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) of Greater New York. Principal: Gerard Fitzgerald, President.
- United University Professions
More About New Yorkers Against Corruption
NYSUT, the organization that led the development of New Yorkers Against Corruption, is itself a combination of organizations. From Article 3 of NYSUT’s Constitution: “This organization shall affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers, those organizations mandated by the AFT’s constitution/bylaws, and the National Education Association.” The following list includes those mandated by AFT’s constitution:
- American Federation of Teachers
- National Education Association
- Education International
- New York State AFL-CIO
- New York State Labor Religion Coalition
- American Labor Studies Center
- LRC Fair Trade Project
Here is CSEA/AFSCME’s explanation of the origins of New Yorkers Against Corruption: “If you see the logo ‘New Yorkers Against Corruption’ this is the union’s movement. We can’t use the CSEA logo or any other union logo so this is what the movement to vote no will be called. If you see this logo, know that your union is hard at work getting the message out to vote “NO” to the constitutional convention in an effort to protect our pensions and other rights.” Constitutional Convention Update, CSEA, May 17, 2017. Note that “New Yorkers Against Corruption” is also the attribute line for nonewyorkconvention.org. The specific line reads in the footer reads: “PAID FOR BY NEW YORKERS AGAINST CORRUPTION.” Accessed August 21, 2017.