5:30pm, Masonic Hall, Centre Road, Town of Clinton
JANUARY 15TH, 2018
Minutes of Monthly Meeting of Town of Clinton Democratic Committee
(Please see below for change in meeting time starting in February)
Status update: From Club to Committee
Sam Moyer reported on the official transformation of the Clinton Democratic Club to the Clinton Democratic Committee. Due to several years of lack of inactivity, the group had defaulted to a ”club:” without elected officers. Last fall, just after the November elections, we reformed as a Committee and elected officers and an executive committee.
Election District Officers include: Scott Duquette, Judy Malstrom, Zephyr Teachout, Joel Tyner, Merida Welles, and Mike Whitton
Executive Committee includes Sam Moyer (President), Bernadette Duquette (Vice-President), Mike Duquette (Treasurer), Bronwyn Bevan (Secretary)
The central goals of the Committee are to:
Find and support Democratic candidates for local, regional, and state elections
Recruit volunteers to ensure that we get out the vote this November: In particular to beat John Faso and tip the balance in the US House
Engage Clinton Democrats to understand and advocate for local issues
If you are interested in working locally to have national impact, please contact us.
2. 2018 Clinton Election Update
Elisa Sumner, Chair of the Dutchess County Democratic Party, updated us on election races for this year, these include:
District 19 Congressional Seat (there are currently 6 Dem candidates contesting the primary to run against incumbent (R) John Faso) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGwVUSVzPVY
District 11 State Senator (currently 2 Democratic candidates contesting the primary to run against incumbent (R) Sue Serino)
Family Court Judge (Jeffrey Martin is the Democratic candidate)
9th Judicial District Surrogate County Judge (there is currently no Democratic candidate for this position)
Governor (Cuomo [D] is incumbent)
Lt. Governor (Kathy Hochul (D) incumbent )-State Comptroller ( Tom DiNapoli (D) incumbent)
State Attorney General (Eric Schneiderman (D) incumbent)
On March 1, there will be a full Dutchess County Democrats meeting —details to follow.
There are several meet the candidates events coming up for the District 19 Congressional Race (will be updated on our website):
Sunday, New Paltz. A Debate between Antonio Delgado & Brian Flynn on January 21st, 4 PM - 6 PM. http://newpaltzdemocrats.com/calendar/
Family Court Judge candidate Jeffrey Martin is expected to join us at our next Clinton Democratic Committee meeting on Feb 19.
3. Getting out the Vote
Gully Stanford described the work that the Dutchess Indivisible group (ITFIO) indivisiblethefightison.com is doing to mobilize the vote for this November and moving forward. The Local Mobilization Network (LMN) embraces the value of collaboration with Town Democratic Committees across Dutchess County. Both groups will benefit when we work to support each other's efforts.
The mission of National Indivisible, is to "fuel a progressive grassroots network of local groups to resist the Trump Agenda". Indivisible is otherwise not affiliated with a single party. For more information, visit: Indivisible.org .
4. Misc Committee News
We will post our notes from the Monthly Town Board, the second Tuesday of the month, on our website. We need volunteers to attend Town Hall meetings and take notes.
We all need to encourage our neighbors who are dual homeowners and year-long renters in Clinton to register to vote in Clinton. It’s easy and it’s legal and their votes can make a difference (eg, District 19 and the US House of Reps balance). http://www.dutchesselections.com/Forms/voteform.pdf
We will hold a Democratic Winter Social event to meet each other on March 24 5pm.
We are updating our website where we will post meeting agendas and notes starting next month. Visit the website to see this information and to volunteer to attend your town meetings as representatives of our committee. https://clintontowndemocrats.wixsite.com/home
NOTE: NEXT CLINTON DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE MEETING
IS THE THIRD MONDAY OF THE MONTH at 6pm (note time change):
MASONIC HALL, TOWN HALL, CENTRE ROAD
Notes from the Town Board Meeting
Jan 10, 2018
Recorded by Scott Duquette
Annual Tree Burning
On January 20th, at 5:30pm (weather pending), Clinton will hold it’s annual Christmas Tree Bonfire. It’s a great event for the community to come together. There will be hot chocolate, s'mores, hot dogs, and more. Of course, there will also be a bonfire! It’s a fun community event.
This topic gets feisty at the board meetings!
Currently, preserving historic structures in the Town of Clinton is essentially voluntary, up to the discretion of the property owner. Clinton does not have a Historical Protections statute, just a classification.
The Historical Society proposed a template statute which requires a demolition “cooling off” period of 6 months on buildings deemed historical, to allow an opportunity for the Historical Society and concerned citizens to contact the property owner to try to influence them on behalf of the historic buildings. This came after a historic building was demolished without adequate notice to the Historical Society. Councilperson Werner provided an anecdote about a recent permit request being altered once the Historic Society was able to speak to a the property owner; through working together, all goals were met by the homeowner and the Historical Society. Councilpersons Cunningham and Michaels expressed criticism of the proposed statute as it allows the town to restrict property owners, even temporarily, from managing their property. Michaels asked for clarification on what makes a building “historical” and pointed out that demolition permits already require time to process. It was unclear whether that time has increased since the inciting demolition occurred. It’s also unclear whether the HS is notified of all historic demolitions in the current process.
Town Justice, Russ Tompkins offered the public comment, “If it’s my property, keep to your own business”.
There was also quick discussion that there could be a voluntary system of registering a structure. In turn, that registration would then be permanently attached to the structure, regardless of sale.
In the end, the board agreed to give this proposal further review.
Community Choice Aggregation
A special public hearing was scheduled for February 1st, at 7pm. This will be a workshop to learn about the Sun & Energy Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) proposal. It is a proposal to allow a third party supplier of power in Clinton, relying solely on solar energy. Councilperson Whitton will be attending this workshop to learn more and report back. County Legislator Joel Tyner made the suggestions that the Town of Clinton open this process up to an RFP (request for proposals) from a variety of CCA companies.
Prosecution of Violations
There are 3 levels of offenses: violations, misdemeanors, and felonies. Violations are the lowest level offenses, i.e., speeding tickets.
As we understand it, the county has decided to no longer prosecute any violations. The Town was then granted permission to prosecute these violations from the Dutchess County DA via a Van Sickle Letter. The Town of Clinton was prosecuting vehicle and traffic violations, however, recently the Town Board learned that many other violations were not being prosecuted, including Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, Controlled Substance and Harassment violations, because our town prosecutor was not authorized to do so by statute.
Town Supervisor Oberly voiced concern that budget for these prosecutions was not accounted for in this year’s budget. Dean Michaels voiced concern that taking on this workload is a slippery slope and by agreeing to hear these cases, Clinton is opening itself up for more hand-offs, and asked why the County DA wouldn’t at least offer the budget to handle these violations locally. That said, all agreed it was unwise to allow violations to be automatically dismissed due to statute inaction.
Oberly proposed, and it was decided, that the Town Board will decide to prosecute or not on a case-by-case basis.
Resident Idan Sims gave public comment, raising concerns: What are the legal liability ramifications? What new risk is Clinton taking on by handling these cases? He also asked if Oberly has contacted other town supervisors to hear how they are handling this issue, and to see if there can be a pushback on the County DA through solidarity.
On January 18th, the Town Board will be having an executive session to discuss a current case.