Monday, January 20, 2020

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

There's snow on the ground, but the days ahead promise to be sunny and warmer as the week progresses. 
  • Today, Monday, January 20, is a holiday--Martin Luther King Day--so the banks and City Hall are closed. There will be no mail, and the Department of Public Works will not be picking up the trash. Keep your blue bags off the streets until tomorrow morning, when the trash will be picked up. 
  • On Tuesday, January 21, the Common Council Finance Committee, now chaired by Council president Tom DePietro, holds its first meeting of the year at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. One of the proposed initiatives for the year, which may be taken up at this meeting, is increasing the parking meter fees on Warren Street. 
The Finance Committee meeting will be followed at 7:00 p.m. by the Council's first regular monthly meeting of the year, at which it is thought the Council may hear the opinion of corporation counsel and the controversy surrounding the selection of the minority leader will be put to rest. Also on the agenda is the six-month moratorium on new short-term rentals and the amendment to the lodging tax statute that would defund the Tourism Board. 
  • The calendar on the City website lists a DRI Committee for 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22. That is an error. Going forward, the committee plans to meet on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month but not in January. The next meeting of the DRI Committee will take place on the fifth Wednesday, Wednesday, January 29.
  • In the evening of Wednesday, January 22, there are two Common Council committee meetings: Public Works and Parks at 5:30 p.m. and Legal at 6:15 p.m. Both committees are now chaired by Alderman John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward).
It is expected that the legislation to regulate short-term rentals and to address the problem of sidewalks in disrepair will be discussed in the Legal Committee meeting. The drafts under consideration for both these inititives are available on the City website.     
  • The regular second meeting of the month for the Historic Preservation Commission is scheduled to take place on Friday, January 24. That meeting has been rescheduled. The next meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission will take place on Friday, February 7, at 10:00 a.m.


  1. What's the hurry to put the minority leader controversy to rest by Tuesday?

    Won't the Common Council grant the previous minority leader, the colleague whom everyone knows was deliberately cheated out of caucusing, the time to get his own outside legal opinion?

    Curiously, it was less than a week ago that a new city attorney informed the Aldermen that any problems with the improvised caucus were a matter for the caucus to sort out, and not the city.

    Now only days later the City is eager to issue an opinion. Again, why the rush?

    First and foremost, the Common Council mustn't deny anyone their due process rights. For example, if the Aldermen enter the fray prematurely by uncritically accepting the legal opinion of the Corporate Counsel, or by pressuring the wronged Alderman to reach a compromise before he's able to know his rights, then they'll be seen as rewarding the cheaters in their midst. How can that be healthy for Hudson?

    And why would any of us who witnessed city politics between 2006 and 2013 trust any opinion whatsoever from this Corporate Counsel, who has now, tragically, returned to Hudson? Has the city ever been cursed with a more dissembling figure (don’t answer that!), one who's not only a close confidante to Supervisor Mussman (who said this week that the minority leader position is a Progressive goal) but who has deep ties with the same Working Families Party that assembled the fake caucus.

    If the remaining Aldermen rush to accept the notoriously unreliable opinion (whatever it is) of this tainted attorney over their own colleague's due process rights, then the lot of them will be cheaters supporting the worst kind of cheating known to humankind: the rank opportunism of sanctimonious, virtue-signaling hypocrites.

    Will the Council President who is famously and wisely circumspect ensure that the pace is fair? If not, then we deserve to know the reason for the hurry. What excuse could possibly justify the railroading of an elected representative?

  2. Update:

    Following is the only possible opinion which Corporate Counsel can render.

    To add to the initial deceit of excluding the previous minority leader from the caucus to determine the next leader, this morning our City Clerk determined that "the Working Families Party [which conducted the caucus] has not filed rules on its nominating process with the City Clerk’s Office."

    When Alderman Merante had protested that "certain rules apply to that caucus," Attorney Baker scrupulously replied that "if there are separate rules of the respective parties I'm not aware of them - they're not embodied in any of the City's laws or resolutions."

    Now, this morning, we all know that the Working Families Party itself is in breach of the NYS Election Law which states that "Each [party] committee may prepare rules for governing the party within its political unit. … If a section or portion of such [party] rules relate to the nomination of candidates for village office, such section or portion of such rules shall be filed in the office of the village clerk of all villages in which elections are conducted by the village and in which the party makes any nominations for village office." Article 2, § 2-114:

    So not only had the miscreants acted unfairly by deliberately excluding the previous minority leader, they were acting outside of the law. The hastily arranged caucus conducted by the self-identifying Working Families members was wholly illegitimate.

    After such a display, how can anyone expect Alderman Merante to now reach an equitable compromise with those who failed in their illegal power grab against him?

    I hope that he yields nothing, not one iota, to the appalling behavior which attempted to obliterate interests and values that have no other representation in City government.

    1. Very interesting. It’s only January and I already regret voting for certain Hudson “Progressives”. I thought that Mayor Mussman ran on a platform of making Hudson a more equitable place. Apparently all are equal but some are more equal than others. This cheating needs to stop.

  3. I'll go out on a limb here and predict what the herd instinct will do next, whether people are abettors of this farce, or just lazy, or just stupid.

    Even though the Working Families caucus was invalid under state law, some will continue, willy-nilly, to bestow a measure of legitimacy on what was an utter miscarriage and abomination by a handful of opportunists.

    We must wipe those actions from our minds, though not forget the underhandedness by which they were pursued. Going forward, the deviousness we witnessed easily warrants the resentment of the remaining Council members, let alone fair-minded city residents.

    At the very least, Mr. Merante has earned a generous latitude in the steps ahead. He was true to principle, carried himself well through a series of rapid-fire pressures (which become much clearer in retrospect), and in the end he was correct.

    Now the whole business must begin anew, from scratch, the clock reset to zero.

  4. It might be helpful for someone to explain, in detail, using small words and clear language (and perhaps citing appropriate legal standards) how Councilman Merante was sidelined.

    And to get ahead of the people who might deflect by asking "What do you mean by sidelined.", I mean, how did the Councilman who had served as Minority Leader, apparently find out at the Organizational Meeting that not only was he no longer Minority Leader, but also he was not going to be afforded an opportunity to be considered for that position?

    On this blog there are often posts regarding the need for both "context" and specifics. So again, it might be helpful for both context and specifics to be provided.


  5. This did not happen before last week's improvised caucus:

    "A notice of any party caucus held for making party nominations of candidates for town offices shall be given by proper party authorities by posting such notice in the public areas at the offices of the town clerk and the board of elections and filing a copy of such notice with such clerk and such board at least ten days preceding the day of the caucus and, either by newspaper publication thereof once within the town at least one week and not more than two weeks preceding the caucus, or by posting in ten public places in the town at least ten days preceding the day of the caucus. The notice shall specify the time and place or places, and the purpose of the caucus. There shall be a chairman and secretary, and there may be tellers, for each such caucus, and they shall take the constitutional oath of office before acting. No person shall participate in such a caucus for the nomination of candidates for town offices, unless he shall appear as an enrolled party voter on the transcript of enrollments from the registration poll ledger. Town caucuses described in this section shall be held at the expense of the party. Subject to the foregoing provisions, the county committee of the county containing a town may prescribe rules governing the conduct of party caucuses described in this section."

    NYS Election Law §6-108

  6. Thank you, Mr. Unheimlich for this. So two questions: shouldn't the people in City Hall have known this and acted appropriately? And secondly, aren't all political parties required to abide by the same rules?


    1. There don't seem to be any rules for caucusing! There isn't even any case law about this (which makes sense if there ar no rules to break).

      Of the law requiring notices, the attorneys claimed to know about it, but the way things transpired it's like they didn't know.

      I suppose an argument could be made that the majority held an unannounced caucus of one in the same moment that Alderman Garriga announced, in a very small voice, that she'd been chosen as leader. Evidently she'd only chose herself and nobody contradicted her. So does that constitute a caucus? If so, then there was no public notice first.

      At the moment, it really looks like everyone's just taking whatever they want, and anyone who's not grabbing is a sucker.