Thursday, September 10, 2015

Of Laws and Warning Labels

Figuring that enough had been said about closing the 200 block on Saturday for Jake Walthour's birthday, Gossips didn't report on the discussion of the subject that took place at the informal Common Council meeting on Tuesday. Obviously, John Mason felt differently. His report appears in today's Register-Star: "Was this party out of bounds?"  It's worth reading if only for the quotes from the mayor that appear at the end.

The mayor, reached by Mason for comment, expressed the opinion that it is "beyond unrealistic to think the mayor could go door to door (notifying neighbors)." He suggests that this should be the job of the aldermen representing the affected wards. That idea could work, but only if the aldermen know well in advance--before the mayor has issued the mass gathering permit. The mayor considers it the aldermen's job to know about these events and tell their constituents. In this case, however, nobody seems to have known about the event until three days before it happened. 

The mayor also challenges the Common Council to amend the law further: "If the aldermen feel more changes need to be made, then make the law dictate we're not cavalier." Hmm. Isn't this the kind of thinking that led to such warning labels as "Remove Child Before Folding" on baby strollers and "Cape does not enable user to fly" on Batman Halloween costumes?



  1. Warning label on the (very opaque) sun visor I bought for my car's windshield: Remove before driving.

  2. I'm relieved to see that the mayor understands his own behavior.

    By "cavalier," he didn't mean a gallant or courteous gentleman, but that he was being "casual or indifferent toward matters of some importance ... haughty, arrogant, supercilious" (Webster's).

    But if these words describe the attitude of the mayor and certain of his appointees, then they also describe Common Council members and their appointees.

    What a laugh that the Legal Committee (pre-Rector) now claims that it “never expected [that] mayoral discretion would be ... wielded without consultation with the neighbors.”

    First of all, don't believe it! But is that any excuse for weak legislation?

    The Committee failed to protect the public by doing all it could to ensure that the intent of the law is honored.

    Knowing this mayor's record on this very issue, a more democratic means could have been affected, even a plebiscite of some sort to demonstrate the degree of public support for the law. (I work on the 300 block and was caught by surprise when it closed, but I also know that these same Legal Committee members have pooh-poohed mayoral overreach when it served their own interests.)

    Yes, public outreach would risk opening the Legal Committee's haughty precincts to the Great Unwashed, but now Committee members would have no need for lame excuses. (I've been present at Legal Committee meetings and been instructed to remain silent throughout, so I have no sympathy for these people.)

    Since the Council President who serves on the Legal Committee famously despises public participation, would it be a surprise to learn that the discussion about "personal notifications" was short-lived? I'd like to know which bigwig got that idea "shot down" in such a small municipality?

    And did the Committee members discuss their Newspaper of Record's poor accessibility regarding Public Notices, or did they feel that by relying on newspaper notices alone they'd sufficiently discharged their duty?

    The cavalier members of the Legal Committee drafted weak legislation which a cavalier mayor used to pander to a single voting block.

    It's the same old story in Hudson: simultaneous arrogance and incompetence. Now get out there and vote them all into office again!