Wednesday, September 30, 2020
First and foremost, the police department is committed, focused, and will continue to work with Mayor Johnson on bridging the gap and improving the trust of the community. The ongoing meetings of the reconciliation committee put together by Mayor Johnson continue to work hard to meet these expectations.
The proposal put forth at the legal committee September 23rd, 2020, is divisive, inflammatory and divides the unity amongst the police, politicians, community, and the reconciliation committee. An approach that limits the exposure and interaction of the public with the police is counterproductive and not a goal of community policing. Your police department, which is an accredited agency in the State of New York, is held to a higher standard. The success of the city today would not have been attained without the assistance and dedication of your police department. The city has made great strides in the last 20+ years. To deplete the police department not only would be irresponsible but unsafe for the community as well as the officers sworn to protect. Crime would increase, store fronts would be empty, poverty levels would rise, and tourism would diminish. We do not want to go backwards!
We trust the mayor will continue to have the best interest of the community and public safety at the forefront of his agenda. We are a dedicated group of individuals that have and will continue to strive for unity within the community and continue to have conversations, so that we can have an even better Hudson. The City of Hudson Police Department wants to thank Mayor Johnson for his constant reassurance that he will not layoff or furlough any police officers. As always, the members of the City of Hudson Police Department welcome open dialogue amongst the community so that we can come to agreeable solutions. We all have the same attainable goal, which is to be able to live, work and be prosperous without fear.
The City of Hudson should be proud of its diversified and dedicated police department and its commitment and service to protect the community. To the organizations that are trying to distract, strip, defund and eliminate the police department, how well do you know the men and women of this department and the community? Maybe it's time you get to know them and learn what this department has accomplished: to have people from all walks of life want to reside, relax, commute, conduct business and work in this beautiful city we call Hudson, NY.
The letter was signed by Sergeant Christopher Filli, who is the president of the local police union, and Chief Ed Moore.
The special meeting of the Common Council Legal Committee, to consider two resolutions related to the proposed Hudson Breathe Act, scheduled for Thursday at 6:00 p.m., has been canceled. So far, there has been no word shared publicly on whether the protest being organized by Back the Blue for that time in front of City Hall has been abandoned, or if it will go forward.
Last night, Mayor Johnson gave a speech, recognizing that many of the issues in the Breathe Act are critically important to the citizens of Hudson and our Police Department. I stand with the Mayor and echo his sentiments. I also share the Mayor's assessment that the Breathe Act cannot be put forward in its current form, due to potential and significant labor issues, safety issues, and litigation. In light of all of this, and after consultation with committee members, I have decided to cancel Thursday's special meeting of the Legal Committee. We will continue to work toward reform, in conjunction with input from Citizens of Hudson, PRAC and all members of the Hudson community.
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
- North Carolina
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Much of the discourse on social media on the Hudson Breathe Act has centered specifically on the bill's call to set a maximum number of officers in the city to 16, and repeal previous legislation that allowed a 20-mile residency radius for members of the HPD. Many cry doomsday at these proposed changes, asserting that such cuts to police staffing will plunge Hudson into a crime-ridden state. The voice of this viewpoint is most assuredly going to be heard loud and clear on Monday night.
This viewpoint is based on conjecture about the relationship between police and crime rates, and the amount of violent crime our department deals with. Multiple national studies tell us that there is no significant correlation between police spending and frequency of crime. By my calculations using data from a three-year period June 2017-June 2o20, under 7% of incidents handled by the Hudson Police Department were related to violent crime.
This viewpoint also ignores the lived traumatic experiences of Black and Brown citizens of this city and country, who had suffered from systematic mistreatment and brutalization at the hands of police. And, due to the power and privilege police hold, these abuses are overwhelmingly not brought to justice--as the nation has witnessed so painfully this week with the case of Breonna Taylor. Public safety in Hudson must be inclusive.
Lastly, this viewpoint fails to take into account the true intent of the bill, which is to replace our over-investment in policing with investments in the community services that have a direct impact at reducing crime in our city. The Hudson Breathe Act calls on the city to fundamentally rethink how it addresses crime: by uprooting it at its source through strategic investment in community services, and by redirecting at least 20% of current calls to police to a new 311 non-emergency phone service and a Citizen Response Team. This Act presents a path for us to begin to imagine a new way of keeping our city safe.
Charles M. Rice, Ph.D., The Rockefeller University
Scott H. Hammer, MD, New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center
Aldofo Garcia-Sastre, PH.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Sharon Nachman, MD, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University
Kelvin Lee, MD, Roswell Park
Bruce Farber, MD, Northwell Health
Shawneequa Callier, MA, JD, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Monday, September 28, 2020
POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST RESULTS SERVE AS REMINDER
Five new Columbia County residents testing positive for COVID-19 at the end of last week is serving as a reminder that, despite the recent long drought with no positives, "the virus is still alive and out there among our community," said Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb on Monday.
"Some of those who tested positive were asymptomatic, while others were experiencing symptoms. You just never know--sometimes it's just about who gets tested. Further, the fact that these people come from various parts of the county says that the virus is not confined to any particular part of the population," added Director Mabb.
In addition, a Hudson elementary school student tested positive for the virus at the end of last week, said Director Mabb. The student was not physically attending class. Nonetheless, the DOH worked with the school district throughout the weekend to contact people who may have been in contact with the student.
"As of now, everyone has been contacted," he said.
The five new cases were reported on Friday, September 25. "The recent long drought with no positives" seems a bit of an overstatement. In the month of September, there have only been five consecutive days with no new positives--September 9 to 14--and the total number of days in September so far with no new positives is eleven.
- On Monday, September 28, the Common Council Fire Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. and the Police Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. It was indicated last week that the Black Lives Matter resolution submitted to the Common Council by the Columbia-Greene Democratic Socialists of America, which Mayor Kamal Johnson called a "falsified Executive Order," had been referred to the Police Committee. It is possible the document will be discussed in Monday night's committee meeting. Both meetings will take place on Zoom. Information for joining each meeting will be posted on the City of Hudson website. Scroll down to the calendar.
- On Tuesday, September 29, the Common Council holds a special meeting at 6:00 p.m. The purpose of the special meeting is to "discuss and consider resolutions related to an ADA Architect and current hospital workers' union." The meeting will take place on Zoom. Information for joining the meeting will be posted on the City of Hudson website. Scroll down to the calendar.
- On Wednesday, September 30, the Board of Estimate and Apportionment (BEA) meets at 1:00 p.m. The proposed 2021 budget for the Youth Department will be presented to the BEA at this meeting. The meeting will take place on Zoom. Information for joining the meeting will be posted on the City of Hudson website. Scroll down to the calendar.
- Also on Wednesday, September 30, the Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 6:00 p.m. This meeting has been rescheduled from September 16. The meeting will include public hearings on the following five applications: area variances to build an addition at 251 Montgomery Street; area variances to construct an accessory building at 517 Prospect Street; area variances to convert a carriage house into a guest house at 436-438 East Allen Street; area variances to build a garage/studio behind 315 State Street; appeal of a zoning interpretation regarding variances for 65-75 North Seventh Street. Information on accessing the Zoom meeting and making comments will be posted on the City of Hudson website. Scroll down to the calendar.
- On Thursday, October 1, the Common Council Legal Committee holds a special meeting at 6:00 p.m. to consider two resolutions. The first would divert 22 percent of the police budget to the Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA), the Youth Department, and three other agencies, existing or proposed; the second affirms the goals of the proposed Hudson Breathes Act. The meeting will take place on Zoom. Information to join the meeting will be made available on the City of Hudson website. Scroll down to the calendar. Concurrent with the meeting, which will take place virtually, it is expected there will be a demonstration in front of City Hall, apparently organized by the group Back the Blue, to protest cuts in the police budget and in the Hudson Police Force.
- On Friday, October 2, the Board of Estimate and Apportionment (BEA) meets at 1:00 p.m. The proposed 2021 budget for the Department of Public Works will be presented to the BEA at this meeting. The meeting will take place on Zoom. Information for joining the meetings will be posted on the City of Hudson website. Scroll down to the calendar.
Sunday, September 27, 2020
This week, we note the retirement of the great Peter Paden of the Columbia Land Conservancy, who has led the organization's tremendous growth over the past 14 years. We also welcome Troy Weldy, who takes the helm tomorrow. Weldy has 20 years of experience as a leader with the Nature Conservancy, most recently as Director of Lands for New York State. He is deeply experienced in conservation strategies, natural climate solutions and land management, stewardship and protection. We trust he'll be a major asset in preserving the environment that make our area great.
Saturday, September 26, 2020
The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there has been one new case of COVID-19 and no new recoveries, increasing the number of active cases by one to ten. One of the ten active cases is hospitalized. There are four more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than there were yesterday, but the number in precautionary quarantine remains the same. It has now been 109 consecutive days since there has been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County.With one positive out of 249 test results received, the positive percentage rate for today is 0.4 percent.
Friday, September 25, 2020
Thursday, September 24, 2020
The obituary for Henry van Ameringen, the van of the Galvan Foundation, appeared in the New York Times today: "Henry van Ameringen, Friend of L.G.B.T.Q. Causes, Dies at 89."
I have now had time to review the legislation presented at last nights legal committee meeting regarding police reform. Many of the reforms are taken out of my Executive Order issued months ago.
Hudson Police and my Police Advisory and Reconciliation Committee have been working around the clock on reforms that are beneficial to our community and the department. We will act swiftly and diligently with our reforms but also include the concerns of our city in it's entirety including our officers and elected officials.
Safety is a high priority of my administration. I have great respect for community members who engage in the governmental process. I will review the legislation further and have more to say at the special meeting next week. There are no sides Stand With Hudson.
In honor of the lives of those stolen by police and state-sanctioned violence—Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Natasha McKenna, George Floyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Elijah McClain, Pearlie Golden, Kayla Moore, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Atatiana Jefferson, Oscar Grant, Daniel Prude and far too many more—this local law shall be known as the Hudson Breathe Act of 2020. This visionary bill reinvests our taxpayer dollars in a new vision of public safety—a vision that allows all communities to finally breathe free.
George Floyd’s nine-minute long, agonizing and public murder demonstrates that the police system needs more direct and systemic reform to stem the violence and racism inherent in the founding of America. We acknowledge the City of Hudson is not immune or exempt from systemic racism, and the very name “Hudson” documents our settler colonial history, including the near genocide of the former estimated 8,000 Mohican residents. We acknowledge the expansion of the Hudson Police Department in the 1980s in response to “urban clusters” began a pattern of racial profiling that continues today.
In May 2020, a post circulating [on] social media detailed a Hudson Police Department budget of approximately $3 million, based on information readily accessible from the city’s publicly posted budget. After further investigation, we now know actual annual city spending on police exceeds $4.8 million, encompassing more than 33% of the overall city budget, and far above all other spending categories. The next largest group of expenses, Utilities, is $1.97 million less than the police budget. This Bill serves to better align our stated verbal priorities with financial priorities.
We acknowledge the individuals serving in the Hudson Police department are talented, capable, and respectful individuals who took the oath in order to serve this community. Yet the underlying problem of police brutality is not only related to individual police officers, but is a societal problem that centers on an American overdependence on an armed police, and the lasting influence of the institution’s origins as an all-white force for the express purpose of enforcing slavery. The residents of Hudson have elected a City Council and Mayor that is diverse and progressive for this very reason, that we should lead our county, state, and country in the adoption of best practices. These practices include but are not limited to a greater investment in community programs, a ban on no knock warrants, a non-emergency phone number, the development of a Citizen Response Team, data mapping and transparency, and police members that reside within the community they police.
We affirm the words of Mayor Johnson that “the residents of the City of Hudson are diverse, possess universal human rights and are entitled to dignity, respect and equal treatment under the law.” Therefore, we propose the following reforms and resolutions in order to codify the changes called for in the Executive Order, and more. We acknowledge the urgency at this time to act and that its passage in 2020 is an overdue act of justice, with much work remaining. We envision this bill to be only Part I of the Hudson Breathe Act.
A.1. At least $490,000 (or 10% of the adopted $4.8MM 2020 Hudson Police Budget) shall be diverted to the Hudson Community Development & Planning Agency (HCDPA). This funding shall provide for at least 6 more subsidized housing units made immediately available to offset houselessness needs, or for other purposes as determined by the management of the HCDPA. Additional funds may be added as needed to address the current affordable housing crisis.
A.2. At least $242,552 (or 5% of the adopted $4.8MM 2020 Hudson Police Budget) shall be diverted to the Hudson Youth Department. Additional funds may be added as needed.
A.3. At least $145,000 (or 3% of the adopted $4.8MM 2020 Hudson Police Budget), shall be diverted to services for assisting formerly incarcerated individuals with re-entry and job placement or business development services, such as ReEntry Columbia. Additional funds may be added, with special interest in investing funds for new businesses being started by formerly incarcerated individuals.
A.4. At least $100,000 (or almost 2% of the adopted $4.8MM 2020 Hudson Police Budget) shall be diverted to the development of a Citizen Response Team, including hiring of the staff needed to run the program.
A.5. At least $100,000 (or almost 2% of the adopted $4.8MM 2020 Hudson Police Budget) shall be diverted to the creation of a non-emergency phone service, with the inclusion of a modern CRM solution, such as SeeClickFix, and staff.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Gossips has been monitoring the revenue shortfalls reported by the city treasurer at Finance Committee meetings, and it seems all of the major revenue sources for the City are lagging far behind what was anticipated for 2020. But, in this year from hell, there is one revenue source that is exceeding expectation.
Proposed policy changes include a residency requirement within city limits for Hudson police officers, body camera review requirements, a ban on excessive force including choke holds and using a knee on the neck, and a ban on "No Knock Warrants" in honor of Breonna Taylor. . . . Budget proposals include reducing the police force size and diverting funds from the HPD to the youth department, affordable housing, reentry from incarceration services as well as the development of a non-emergency phone number and a citizen response team.
The Legal Committee meeting begins at 6:15 p.m. To access the Zoom meeting, click here.