Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Longest Journey Starts with the First Step

Back in April, Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward), who chairs the Common Council Legal Committee, proposed a multi-step process meant eventually to lead to doing away with the inequity of the weighted vote system in Hudson. It involved a referendum for the voters of Hudson to decide if they wanted this to happen, appointing a "Redistricting Commission" that would spent a year coming up with a way to divide the city into five equipopulos districts, and second referendum to decide if the people of Hudson wanted to adopt the scheme proposed by the Redistricting Commission. Pursuing this course, we would not see the end of weighted voting in Hudson until January 2018.

Last night, the Common Council Legal Committee took the first step in the process: agreeing to move a resolution to have a referendum to the full Council. After a fifteen "Whereases," which mention such things as the Hofstra University Law School study, the difficulty for the public of comprehending the weighted vote, the constitutional norm of one person one vote, the fact that three members of the Common Council can now override the other eight, and hint at the unconstitutionality of our weighted vote system, the two-page resolution concludes:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that at the next general election held in the City of Hudson the following question shall be put to the voters by inclusion on the ballot used in such election by way of referendum:
"Shall the Common Council of the City of Hudson amend the City Charter to replace the current ward method of weighted voting utilized by the City with voting districts of equal population such that every resident of the City of Hudson is equally represented on the City Council and the County Board of Supervisors?"
The resolution will be introduced at the informal Common Council meeting on October 13 and voted on at the regular monthly Council meeting on October 20. Unfortunately, the deadline for getting a resolution on the ballot for the November 3, 2015, general election is September 28, so this referendum will not happen until November 2016.

Change happens slowly, if it happens at all.


  1. Since so much education is needed on this issue, a delay until next year is probably the right thing.

  2. what does 'so much education' mean ... unless that is sarcasm ... which i accept whole heartedly over this very simple slight of hand stacking the deck for the few vs everyone else

  3. What I mean is that last time it came up for a vote, people voted against it. We need to explain how the weighted vote operates now and what is wrong with it,

    1. Out of sheer self-interest, a number of residents of the 5th Ward may always vote against it. But I agree that the rest of the community still needs an education.


  4. For anyone who attended last night's meeting of the DPW Committee, the first quarter hour saw the DPW Superintendent addressing only the 5th Ward Aldermen and the Common Council President.

    Even when another Alderman arrived late, none of them took any interest when an audience question revealed that the Supervisor, who had just delivered a fine speech on the "full disclosure" of his department, had not mentioned in his report to the Council a double equipment failure that led to a spill of partially treated sewage of unknown size onto the grounds of the treatment plant.

    You'd think that might be a big deal, but not an eyebrow was raised and no questions were asked by the Council members.

    The 5th Ward is all-powerful, and can absorb any amount of heat on behalf of those issues they prefer to champion. They generally get their way in the end, even without doing any homework. (Never forget that Widewaters [Walmart, Lowe's, etc] was going to REDUCE the number of trucks through Hudson and the 5th Ward!)

    Even when wrong-doing was revealed last night according to the Superintendent's own description of his function at that meeting, the Aldermen and President who were wronged on our behalf chose to exhibit their solidarity with the speaker instead. At least that's how I understood their stony silence.

    The meeting was almost a visual lesson in the longtime destructiveness of the weighted vote on this community. No further education was necessary.

  5. I didn't see this in Resolution excerpted above, but I hope that the "Redistricting Commission" is not charged with "coming up with a way to divide the city into five equipopulos districts...." Why 5? Why not 10 equipopulos districts? Let the commission study that question.