Town of Clinton Democratic Committee Monthly Meeting Notes
6pm, Masonic Hall, Centre Road, Town of Clinton
FEBRUARY 18, 2019
Closed committee meeting, 5-6pm
Committee and Executive Members in attendance:
The committee was joined by Carolyn Riggs and Leslie Berliant from the ruralmajority.com who shared insights on strategies for running for local office. They made the strong point that running for local office is the most significant way you can make change in politics and in your community. They also stressed that it was imperative that the party run candidates for every open seat. Citing the "moneyball theory", they said that winning required focusing on every at bat, not on just hitting homers. The more candidates in play the more are likely to win (because the more resources of the opposing party must be deployed), particularly in swing districts. So running a long shot candidate in one district will help candidates in another district.
Running locally, helps the party, helps the country emerge from where it is today. This is how the Republicans took over DC and installed the likes of the Trump Family. They started on their library boards and PTAs, and town boards.
We need candidates to run for local office. We have funds, strategy, and consultants to help you. Please contact us if you would be willing to serve.
Full Town Meeting 6-7pm
County Legislature Updates
Our acting Dutchess County Legislator, Brennan Kearney, attended the meeting to share her background as a Dutchess County resident and to update us on Legislature matters. The daughter of educators, Kearney is a lifelong Democrat and mother of two who works at a local design-build firm. She was previously the Rhinebeck clerk for zoning and planning and then was elected to the Rhinebeck Town Board.
She reported that major issues on the table at the moment are
understaffing at the county jail,
the need to monitor large building projects the county is undertaking,
a new term limits resolution and code of ethics recently introduced by six-term Tivoli Mayor/three-term NY State Assemblymember/two-term Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro
new phase of funding for the Dutchess Stadium
Kearney will be running for the County seat this fall.
Town Board Updates
Mike Whitton reported that the Clinton Historical Society got landmark status
Local Democrats Merida Welles has volunteered to join the CAC Board, Justin Carroll will join planning board, and Virgina Morrow has volunteered to join the zoning board of appeals.
Town Board Member Nancy Cunningham [R] is going to organize a community day for the fall, Whitton discussed ways we could help with this event.
The Town underwent an assessment of all the lighting upgrades to more efficient lighting. The resulting bill was more expensive than expected, however, some parts of the change could start now. For example, the library bulbs are obsolete and could be upgraded for about $7K (from the $126K surplus the Town had last year).
The committee discussed the current approved Town maintenance and repairs that remain unaddressed despite the budget surplus. It was noted that our Assemblyperson Didi Barrett secured state funding for the Town of Clinton to build a ramp and fix the roof of the library but the current Town Supervisor did not respond to the paperwork requirements in time, and so accessing these funds may be delayed. Similarly, in recent discussions of the solar plan for the town, the majority of the Town Board meeting was spent going line by line through the plan, instead of addressing issues and making decisions. Several members of the public who were at the Town Board meeting expressed frustration at the lack of organization, preparation, and transparency that characterizes these often mind-numbing meetings.
Whitton said that he hopes there will be a public hearing on the solar plan revisions—which will allow landowners to build solar farms, with sightline protections from the road -- in April.
A critical issue is that the Zoning laws are being completely re-done in the Town, in response to the Comprehensive Plan that was completed four years ago. There is a public hearing every two weeks, to address the plan section by section. Town members need to be present to ask questions. In many cases the Town Board is ignoring or contradicting the findings and recommendations in the comprehensive plan.