Party Lines

Wayne Barrett's article "The Albany Glacier" [December 5] could have dug even deeper. Leadership of both majority parties in the state assembly and senate have in common a desire to stay in power. Members who vote with the leadership get useful perks, such as committee chairmanships, patronage appointments, fundraising assistance, bundles of mailings to constituents, plus plenty of pork-barrel projects to grease the wheels of reelection.

The only way to end the bipartisan protection monopoly on incumbency in Albany is fair elections. After the new 2000 census, assembly and senate district boundaries will be redrawn. Historically, every 10 years Democrats gerrymander their assembly districts to retain their majority. Likewise for the senate Republicans. If there is to be real competition, the League of Women Voters or some other nonpartisan group must be in charge of redrawing legislative district boundaries.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, New York

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