Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Fair & Equal Petition Delivered

At 11:30 this morning, Peter Frank and Steve Dunn arrived at City Hall to deliver a petition bearing with 318 scrupulously verified signatures requesting that a proposition be placed on the November ballot to establish wards of equal population in Hudson.

The petition was accepted and logged in by Cherri Hirsch, assistant to city clerk Tracy Delaney. The Common Council is expected to discuss the petition and the ballot initiative it requests at its informal meeting on Monday, July 11. The Council has until September 6 to act on the petition. If the Council fails to act, or if the aldermen reject the proposition requested by the petition, additional petition signatures will ensure that the proposition creating wards of equal population gets on the ballot in November.



  1. very good work! Many thanks for all your efforts!

  2. 1.

    Today's Register-Star story is a hit piece!! (7/7).

    As usual for the R-S, a sensible reply to an article-length litany of strained criticisms is provided only at the end, and only briefly.

    At least we're given a clear picture, in quotations, of Supervisor Scalera's utterly skewed concept of public participation and democracy. He questions the right (!) of citizens to launch such initiatives from outside the precincts of his own cabal:

    “I don’t know who (else) was part of the committee .... but there were no elected officials,” Scalera said. “I don’t think that’s constitutional.”

    And there's all the evidence you need that this individual has little knowledge of American government, or what us old fogies used to call "civics." How is it possible that he's served in local government for so long, except that his worst habits, which are so lacking in civic spirit, have become the rule.

    Mr. Scalera insinuates that new residents have less of a right to fair representation than he does, a point he drives home with an invidious attempt to emphasize (and thus to smear) perceived outsiders:

    "[T]he only people who care ... are [people] who have been here a relatively short period of time."

    He likes the word "gerrymander," which really must apply to any proposal that alters a status quo so favorable to his interests.

    He has "never seen the Fifth Ward hold back any other ward."

    Oh really!? Well, of course he hasn't! (Here it's worth repeating Mr. Scalera's utterly skewed concept of public participation and democracy.)

    We need only remind 5th Ward residents that their ward saw a significant increase in truck traffic after Aldermen Donahue and Pierro defeated a Resolution to request a traffic study for Widewaters in 2007. It took only three Aldermen who made up 556 votes (Donohue, Pierro and Shook) to defeat a Resolution supported by the other Council members whose combined vote was 908.

    The winning argument went to Alderman Pierro, who "stated that with Lowe’s and Walmart opening up across the river 'I think you are going to see about a 30% drop in traffic out on Route 9'" (Council Minutes).

    Sheer genius!

  3. 2.

    [5th Ward truck traffic, cont.]

    Now, nine years later, when you see all those trucks on Green Street and Fairview Avenue, remember the forgotten costs of weighted voting which concentrates power in the hands of people who may be so obtuse they can't even recognize their own self-interest.

    Other examples of this self-same dullness crop up throughout the record, sometimes with no more supporting argumentation than Mr. Donahue's well-worn phrase that "If you're for it, I'm against it."

    But we must be careful here. In Mr. Scalera's well-rehearsed m.o., by which divisions in the community are first manufactured and then later exploited, we're encouraged to challenge his assertion that the 5th Ward's disproportionate power has never resulted in a negative outcome.

    This is a clever invitation to muckraking, and to negativity, which can easily derail and supplant the fact of an essentially unfair system of government from which Supervisor Scalera yields countless intangible benefits.

    When Alderman Donahue asked in October, "Why would I want the wards changed [when] I have a weighted vote?," some of us readied ourselves for the kinds of tactics that today's Register-Star saw fit to reward. Reading the article, you'd have little idea that the litany of rehearsed criticisms are meant to preserve the privileges of a handful of local leaders.

    Residents other than us muckrakers (heh) formed a private group, rolled up their sleeves, and set themselves to the serious task of fashioning a fair and reasonable alternative to the present system. To its great credit, it's a plan which departs as little as possible from the oppressive system we have today, and yet it obliterates the oppression.

    The actual plan, which is little represented in today's newspaper, puts the lie to Supervisor Hughes's straw man argument that the City will lose the "benefits from having representatives on the council from all economic sectors."

    No sir, all residents will be better represented once we are represented equally.

    I appreciate that Mr. Hughes acknowledges that race is not a factor in this, an issue the plan encompasses with the greatest degree of sensitivity.

  4. I just caught the illogic of my own sentence, where "Mr. Scalera insinuates that new residents have less of a right to fair representation than he does."

    I didn't intend it, but it's identical to Orwell's great line in Animal Farm, that "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

  5. Scalera now has changed his tune.
    When the Hudson Democrats first proposed making equal population districts way back in 2010, he said

    “I think it’s an excellent idea,” he said. “The weighted vote is way overdue to be changed, it’s just not a good way of doing business. I hope the discussion continues on and if the voters are informed and vote I think it’s a good thing for Hudson’s future.”

    1. Good find. The fellow's as true as a weather vane.

  6. United we stand, divided we fall...

    Forty years ago, in the middle of a race riot, I witnessed Rick's brother being stabbed, by a brown man surrounded by white men and here we are again.

    Our government divides us properly in order to rule us properly.