Monday, March 12, 2012

Who Will Represent the First Ward?

At tonight's informal Common Council meeting, Council President Don Moore set the time for the special meeting to decide who will replace Larissa Parks as an alderman representing the First Ward: Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m. Two people have expressed interest in position: Nick Haddad and Geeta Cheddie. The question is: Will the Common Council elect the person that First Ward voters want to represent them, or will the aldermen, especially those who wield powerful weighted votes in the Common Council, elect the person they want on the Council? 

The voters of the First Ward made their preference clear four months ago. In November 2011, 194 First Ward voters went to the polls. Only 48 of them voted for Cheddie (then the incumbent) for alderman, as compared with 138 who voted for Parks (then using the surname Thomas) and 146 who voted for David Marston. In the same election, 143 voters in the First Ward voted for Nick Haddad for mayor. 

The will of the First Ward is pretty obvious, but will the members of the Common Council respect it?

Gossips Confession: Where are my math skills? In my original post, I added together Cheddie's votes on the Republican and Conservative lines and neglected to add the 15 votes she received on the Independence line. The total votes cast for Cheddie in November 2011 was 48 not 33 as originally reported. Mea culpa. 


  1. Let's have a special election. If Geeta Cheddie thinks that she deserves to represent the people of the First Ward, then let her run against Nick Haddad in a head-to-head contest. I think we all know how that movie ends....

  2. A reader, who wished to be identified as "Swampy," submitted this comment:

    A point worth a mention--

    When Cheddie lost in November 2011, she only managed to pull 33 votes as a SITTING ALDERMAN. Incumbent politicians always enjoy an advantage at election time, but even with that edge Cheddie was soundly defeated. She didn't just lose--she was an incumbent who got tossed out of office in embarrassing fashion.

  3. Do we know for a fact that this Common Council vote be "weighted" as with other votes?

    With so little power to begin with, how can 1st Ward representation be determined by outsiders too?

    Did the Proprietors read the Declaration of Independence when they wrote the Charter, or was that business just was a nuisance to the lucrative whale slaughter?

    If things go badly for us down here, maybe this will be the beginning of the end of Hudson's weighted vote. It is an invidious policy which, for obvious reasons, is unlikely to be voted away.

    Unlikely, but not impossible. Something like it happened in the UK with The Parliament Bill of 1911. The Lords reluctantly voted away their authority and made the Commons virtually the sole legislative body.

    These things do happen, but they usually rely on people's better natures.

  4. Yes, Unheimlich, we do know for a fact that the vote will be "weighted." All votes of the Common Council are weighted.

    And don't blame the Proprietors. They didn't write the City Charter as we know it.

  5. If there is great interest in this among 1st Warders and people turn out to protest what is an absurd, antiquated law, then it will be in the interest of all Wards that resent the weighted vote to agitate on behalf of the 1st Ward.

    A lot of people are about to learn all about this business in the most prejudiced light, also called daylight.

    Leaving nothing to chance, we ought to hold a pre-meeting strategy meeting.

    (My usual excuses to the Proprietors.)

  6. Dear unheimlich and all,

    The Hudson City Democratic Committee has a long history (at least as long as I have been Chairman) of advocating for ending the weighted vote by creating equal population districts. Equal population districts would mean"One person, one vote" at the ballot box and in the legislative body (Common Council). There are proposals currently working their way through the Common Council to address the inequality caused by the weighted vote.

    But on the immediate issue at hand, it is my understanding that 1st Ward Alderman Dave Marston and 1st Ward Supervisor Sarah Sterling, will be calling a 1st Ward Residents meeting for this coming Saturday March 17th (location and time to be announced). The meeting will include a straw poll to express the will of the 1st Ward. I hope that many 1st Ward residents will attend.

    I also hope that 1st Ward residents (and any Hudson resident interested in fair representation) attend the meeting of the Common Council which will take up the issue of this appointment. Be at City Hall on Thursday March 22nd at 7pm.

    Fair and equal representation for every Ward is crucial. Let you voice be heard. Speak out, sign petitions, vote in the straw poll, attend the Council meeting. Let the Council hear from you. This is your time to make yourself heard.

    Then it's on to eliminate the weighted vote.

    Victor Mendolia
    Hudson City Democratic Committee