Thursday, September 8, 2016

Mayor Endorses Fair & Equal

Yesterday morning, Peter Frank and Beth Kanaga, representatives of the Fair & Equal Campaign, delivered to City Hall far more than the required number of signatures to ensure that the proposition to eliminate Hudson's weighted vote system and create wards of equal population will be on the ballot in November. In a statement released yesterday afternoon, the Fair & Equal Campaign declared: "The power to correct this egregious voting system no longer lies with the dysfunctional Common Council. Thanks to your enthusiastic support, it belongs to the citizens of Hudson."

This morning, Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton released the following statement expressing her support for the Fair & Equal proposition.
In my campaign for mayor, I promised transparency and inclusion, and to try to overcome the dysfunction that existed within city government. With your help, I have worked to rebuild Hudson's infrastructure, both physical and administrative, and in these past nine months we've made real progress. The Ferry Street Bridge--a symbol for many of a broken Hudson--is finally on the road to repair, as is the city’s website, our most basic means of providing essential information to residents, visitors, etc. Our governmental infrastructure is also getting healthier. 
We now have an opportunity to fix something else that's been broken for a very long time: the unequal power of Hudson's citizens based solely on where they live. I fully support the proposal of the Fair & Equal Campaign to redraw our ward boundaries so that their populations will be equal, and so that each alderman will have the same power in the Common Council.
Surely, the hostility that has too often disrupted the Common Council is at least partly rooted in the fact that some aldermen know their votes are worth half--or less--than others' votes. And I'm convinced that one reason we have such low voter turnout and citizen participation in government is because people in some wards just wonder why they should bother, when their votes count for so little. If a system of unequal ward populations and weighted votes was a good idea, wouldn't it be in use in cities everywhere--instead of only here in Hudson and nowhere else in the country?
The Fair & Equal Campaign has proposed a thoughtful and unbiased redrawing of our ward boundaries that respects existing communities as much as possible, and achieves almost perfectly equal ward populations. As cities everywhere do, we will have the chance to revise the map every ten years based on the U.S. Census. Our existing ward map might have made sense in 1886, when it was drawn. But now we have a chance to pull Hudson into the 21st Century and bring every citizen full and equal citizenship, which is our Constitutional right.
I urge you to support the Fair & Equal initiative in November when it comes up for a citywide vote.

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