This morning the Didi Barrett campaign sent out an email message that included this rather amazing statement: "No turnout figures or percentage of the vote begin to tell the stories of the people, young and old, that I connected with over these last nine months. Inner city moms shared hopes for their young children, asking why there are no youth programs in Poughkeepsie or Hudson. . . ."
No youth programs in Hudson? In 2010, the City of Hudson spent $456,076 on youth programs and maintaining the Youth Center. The Hudson Opera House has a full roster of youth programs, the vast majority of them free. Then there's Operation Unite New York, the not-for-profit that provides educational, cultural, and recreational programs for youth, and TSL. And this is all above and beyond the award-winning afterschool programs and the extracurricular activites offered by the Hudson City School District, where more than $20,000 is spent each year to educate each child.
So where does the perception that "there are no youth programs in Hudson" come from? Is this spin from the Barrett campaign trying to portray her as being in touch with people who "have felt ignored for way too long" by Senator Saland? Or are there really "inner city moms" in Hudson who believe that there are no youth programs? If the latter is the case, the next logical question is why do they think this? Is this a problem of communication? Do these parents really not know what is available to their children? Or is there some disconnect between the progams being offered--by the City of Hudson, by the public schools, by the not-for-profits--and what these parents think would improve their children's lives?
The picture, from the Hudson Opera House website, shows Fran Martino with youth in the Environmental Education Program offered by the Hudson Opera House.