Last Wednesday at the Common Council Legal Committee meeting, Victor Mendolia, chair of the Hudson City Democratic Committee, presented a proposal to reform the structure of Hudson's government. There's an article about it in Saturday's Register-Star.
Among the suggestions for change is redefining Hudson's election districts--abandoning the traditional wards and creating seven districts of equal population. The goal is to eliminate the weighted vote in the Common Council, which gives the aldermen of the Fifth Ward and the Third Ward significantly more voting clout than the aldermen of the First and Fourth wards.
Several years ago--back in 2003 or 2004, if memory serves--a plan was proposed by then Common Council President Mike Vertetis to redefine Hudson's wards. That plan called for retaining the five wards but changing their boundaries. For example, the eastern boundary of the First Ward would have moved from Third Street to Fifth to annex a chunk of the Third Ward.
As the wards are now configured, the Third and Fifth wards each have two districts; the First, Second, and Fourth wards do not. Presumably the process of creating the seven districts, as suggested by the Democratic Committee, would start with the seven divisions that already exist and would then adjust the boundaries to ensure that each district had the same number of residents. District boundaries would change with every census, and each district would have one representative, reducing the number of aldermen from ten to seven.
Painful as it is to abandon the ward divisions that have existed in Hudson for nearly two centuries, this is an idea whose time has come. Hudson is very different now from what it was when the wards were originally created. Growth of the city, in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, expanded the Third Ward geographically and created the Fifth Ward. The housing built during Urban Renewal inflated the population of the Second Ward. It's time the inequities were corrected.