Streetlight Debate, Round 2

The bitter and divisive fight over New York’s Constitutional Convention in front of my house

Art Chang
2 min readOct 31, 2017

About a week ago, I wrote “What do you do when ‘NO’ flyers scream at your ‘YES’ yard sign?” This weekend, the anonymous poster updated the ‘NO’ flyers. Did the “NO” side add anything new? Click on the photo to judge for yourself.

My response:

Why Vote Yes?

1 Only every 20 years can New Yorkers call for a convention to amend our state constitution to propose critical reforms that the Legislature won’t pass. Shortening the time between constitutional conventions could be one outcome of the convention. Can we afford to wait another 20?

2Term limits, easier voting. Needed reforms conflict with the self-interest of incumbent elected officials. 95% re-election rates and unlimited campaign contributions mean legislators work for donors, not voters. A constitutional convention is the ONLY way to enact term limits, create a real ethics watchdog, implement easier voting, achieve campaign finance reform to get big money out of politics, and to draw fair district maps (anti-gerrymandering).

3 BLOCKED!: antiTrump protections. New York’s Assembly passed DREAM Act, Sanctuary State, gender equality, carbon emissions reduction, universal health care, women’s reproductive rights, voting reform, Kalief’s Law, ban on solitary, Child Victims Act. For more details, click here. Because of #2 above, the self-interest of incumbents, New York’s Senate refuses to bring bills to vote because the Governor might sign them into law.

4 Existential threats need attention now. We need a real public conversation about existential threats and immediate attention to solutions: Institutionalized Bias — festering racial and gender gaps in economic progress and justice; Climate Change — holistic approach to global warming, rising seas; Digital Injustice — impact of automation on work and education, the accelerating income gap, AI injustice, access to opportunity.

5 Time to let go of false fears. Progressives are on both sides. We can no longer waste time on fruitless debates on long-settled issues like pensions. We, too, are pro-organized labor. Like you, we want to expand rights to all, including enabling everyone to retire in dignity. We want New York to be the best place to live, work and raise a family — for the next 20 years.

Vote YES!



Art Chang

Fighting for Equity. Columbia Professor. Board Chair of Former 2021 Candidate for NYC Mayor. NYC Votes, Casebook, Queens West