The Bronx News Network recently asked candidates in 33rd District senate race to answer, in writing, a number of questions which we hope will shed light on where they stand politically, their position on key issues in the community, and what they would do if elected.
Over the past several days we have posted their unedited answers on this blog, a few at a time. Last week, we published Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. Yesterday, we published Part 5. Today, we will conclude our series with the candidates' views on independent redistricting and member items (discretionary funds intended for local nonprofit groups).
There are four candidates in the race - Pedro Espada, Jr. (the incumbent), Daniel Padernacht, Gustavo Rivera, and Fernando Tirado - which is turning into one of the most watched in the city. Padernacht, Rivera, and Tirado got back to us with answers, but Espada didn't. In an e-mail, a staffer of his wrote: "Thank you for the survey, however we will not be participating at this time. The Senator's positions will be made available via other media, including his website and Facebook, at a later date."
RIVERA:Yes, I support an independent redistricting panel. I see this as part of the much-needed reform process in Albany. The Republicans have done a creative job of redistricting over the past few years. All we have to do is stick to the law when it comes to redistricting—and the law says that districts should be roughly equal, each with a contiguous community.
QUESTION: What is your view of member items? Anything you would change in the process of allotting these monies to local organizations?
PADERNACHT: Member Items are a necessary part of the process. At this point, there are many smaller groups that depend on this funding which they may not receive elsewhere. However, I do think that the funding should be allocated through the normal budget process so that it is easier for these groups to get the proper funding at the appropriate time.
RIVERA: All members should receive an equal amount for member items. No individual official should be able to fund any organization in which (s)he has a stake. As it stands, the law allows members to get themselves in trouble—as we have seen with Pedro Espada.
- Require that member items must be spent exclusively in the district the elected official serves.
- Make more readily accessible to the public a listing of all member item expenditures and their purposes.
NOTE: For previous installments, click on these links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.