Monday, December 12, 2022

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

As we dig out from the first snowfall of the season, here are the meetings happening this week.
  • On Monday, December 12, the Common Council holds its informal meeting at 6:00 p.m. This is the meeting at which department heads make their reports to the Council, so we may be hearing an update from Chief Ed Moore about the gunshots fired in the afternoon of December 2 and in the wee hours of December 10 and about the new command post that's been established at Columbia and Third streets. Among the resolutions to be introduced at the meeting, there are two of interest. The first of these would extend the City's contract with Heather Bruegl for indigenous people's programming, specifically to "(1) engage in further research and public engagement regarding the renaming of Henry Hudson Waterfront [sic] Park, (2) work with City officials to develop a municipal land acknowledgment and publication plan, and (3) organize programming for the May 5, 2023, National Day of Awareness for MMIP (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons)." The resolution proposes using $5,500 from the fund balance to pay for these services. The second resolution of interest authorizes a license agreement for 2023 with the Hudson Sloop Club for managing the dock and amends the docking fee schedule. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Tuesday, December 13, Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA) meets at noon. It is expected that the Housing Trust Fund Board will present its 2023 budget to HCDPA for approval at this meeting. The meeting will be a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. Click here to join remotely.   
  • At 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13, the Planning Board holds its monthly meeting. On the agenda for the meeting are the continuation of the public hearing on the proposed subdivision on Hudson Avenue and the amendments to the site plan for Return Brewing, 726 Columbia Street. The meeting will be a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely. 
  • On Wednesday, December 14, there are two Common Council committee meetings back to back. The Technology Committee meets at 6:00 p.m., and the Legal Committee meets at 6:30 p.m. (The Legal Committee was originally scheduled to meet on December 7, but the meeting was postponed.) It is expected the Legal Committee will continue its discussion of sidewalks and legislative changes needed to get them repaired throughout the city. Both meetings will be hybrids, taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. To join the meetings remotely, click here for the Technology Committee meeting, and click here to join the Legal Committee meeting. 


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  2. At Monday's informal meeting there were 3 of 10 alders present in the chambers. 3 of the 5 department heads were in-person, which is 2 more than normal (thanks to email being out of order, forcing two to attend). For the first hour of the meeting there were 4 members of the public attending in person, one more than the total number of alders. There are 3 rows of benches to sit in, and only those in the front row can see the screen which projects the departmental monthly reports and zoom faces. Sit in the other two rows and you are SOL, wondering what might be on the screen. It's so rude and amateurish and insulting and typical.
    Alders are not staying away to "attend" on zoom for fear of covid, they stay home simply because they are able to. It's cold outside, I'll just stay on the couch and do dinner and zoom. No one is forcing them to attend. It's shameful that this low level of in-person participation is allowed and acceptable, and it's only gotten worse. At one point, Tom Dipietro announced that alders needed to be in attendance for the regular meeting next week because "it's an important meeting." (He may have said "more important."). Well, the implication is that he doesn't care if any alders show up at all in-person to informal meetings, because they aren't "important" anyway. This is no way to have a decent, democratic meeting with decent communication. The technical glitches made the meeting even more unpleasant. Hudson City Hall, headed in the WRONG direction.

    It doesn't matter how many alders were "participating" on Zoom, really. It should be zero. Wear your mask if you fear COVID, as Dominic Merante did on Monday night. Show us you care. Get off your couch and participate like human beings. And if you can't make it to the meeting in city hall, explain at the beginning of the meeting what prevented you from doing so. You know, accountability and transparency, the building blocks of democracies and good governance.
    Bill Huston