Monday, August 22, 2022

When the Shoe Was on the Other Foot

At the last Common Council meeting, Mayor Kamal Johnson reprimanded members of the Council for questioning resolutions that had originated with his office, in particular one that accepted a $30,000 grant for a project that was going to cost a total of $112,350. Council members wanted to know where the rest of the money was coming from. The incident was reported both by the Register-Star and Gossips. During the meeting, First Ward supervisor Claire Cousin also rebuked Council members for "interrogating" mayor's aide Michael Hofmann.

Since that meeting, while searching the Gossips archive for a picture of the original sign at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, I came upon an account of a Common Council meeting that took place on July 16, 2019, and was struck by the parallel: "Last Night at City Hall." That night, there was a resolution before the Council which had originated in the mayor's office. It authorized the mayor to apply for a grant to do master plans for the improvement of Seventh Street Park and Henry Hudson Riverfront. In this case, the person being "interrogated" by the Council was Mayor Rick Rector, and the first member of the Council to ask a question was Kamal Johnson, who was then a First Ward alderman. Johnson wanted to know where the required $7,500 match would come from should the City be awarded the grant. Earlier that same evening, the Common Council Finance Committee had approved taking the money from the general fund. Both the Gossips post and Dan Udell's video of the meeting are worth reviewing. The discussion of the resolution in the video begins at 9:12.

In the end, the Council approved the resolution, but the application was not successful.


  1. Again, this isn't surprising. When attempting to lead without clarity of philosophy as to WHY you're doing things and HOW you're doing them, over time your actions will betray your ad hoc decision making based on political expediency rather than achieving public benefit. And then you will appear to be inconsistent -- because you are -- and this will lead to skewed outcomes such as where the legislature in control of the purse is scolded for asking questions about its use (a/k/a doing its job). The mayor seems immune to concern for anything regarding municipal management except those items which serve his benefactor's best interests which are, clearly, not in Hudson's or its citizens' best interests.

  2. Let's face it, Kamal is an amateur posing as a true professional. I guess all previous mayors have been amateurs, but our present one, the one in the baseball cap, might take the cake.