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Sat., Aug. 29
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Is anybody listening?


There was another A1 story in today's Times about the state's decennial process of redistricting.
But I'm beginning to wonder whether it deserves such prominence in the paper.
Sure, I think it's one of the most, if not the most, important things we're writing about: Who are your elected officials? This ain't no Jaywalking gag. This is real life.
I'm not entirely convinced, though, that people really get worked up over redistricting, and when they go into the voting booths, this will probably be far from voters' minds.
That will surely help the politicians who, after having promised not to draw the lines to favor themselves politically, turned around and did just that. Ed Koch can call anyone he likes a bum. Will it move the needle when Nov. 6 comes? (Add to this the fact that we're not expecting any serious contenders for state legislative seats. Which, by the circle of political life, can also be explained by the gerrymandered districts that protected those incumbents from serious challenge.)
Here's some evidence that suggests lawmakers aren't particularly worried about the effect their votes might have: Assemblywoman Addie Russell's rather astounding comment that essentially says, OK, now that we're done with the fun and games, let's get to the important stuff.
"With (redistricting) behind us," Mrs. Russell says in a news release, "we can fully concentrate on the issues North Country working families are most concerned about: passing a fair, on-time, fiscally responsible budget that invests in education and provides an environment to help businesses create good-paying jobs."
Education, of course, is paramount. And if you don't have a job, the next meal is your No. 1 concern.
But there seems to be a dismissive undercurrent about redistricting, a sort of smokescreen that shrouds the inner machinations of how our government works. With redistricting, that's been the problem all along, critics charge; unaccountable politicians drawing the lines for themselves. Against long odds, it managed to survive again in 2012.
On the night gay marriage was passed last year, more than 50,000 people were watching the livestream of the debate in the state Senate. The debate over redistricting Wednesday night topped out around 200.
This post is dedicated to the 200 brave souls who watched Sen. Mike Nozzolio and Sen. Mike Gianaris face off on a late Wednesday night.

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