The Democracy for Clinton Petition sign now

If you are a Town of Clinton resident who thinks that our Town Board should follow its own rules during meetings, sign this petition and pass it along to others here in Clinton.

Fact: The Clinton Town Board's own rules for monthly meetings are that "no person shall be allowed to speak more than twice during a Public Discussion period"-- meaning it's OK for local residents to speak two times.
[see more on this below; scroll down for full text of Town Board meeting rules-- or go to "Town Board Meetings" at TownofClinton.com website itself]

Fact: Town Supervisor Jeff Burns and Town Boardmember Frank Venezia literally would not allow me to speak a second time during the end-of-meeting Public Discussion period at the January 12th Town Board meeting-- even though I was merely trying to correct a misstatement made by another town resident earlier during the same meeting.

[The fact is that I'm not "out to stop all wood burning", as was stated; I have only suggested that some regulation of outdoor wood-burning furnaces be considered-- as Red Hook, Beekman, East Fishkill, Hyde Park, Beacon, Village of Rhinebeck, Village of Fishkill, and Rockland and Suffolk counties have all implemented-- and as Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and the American Lung Association of NYS have recommended as well.]

I invite you to watch the video from the January meeting at this website-- TownofClinton.com/Videos.htm-- if you do, you will see for yourself that after I got up to speak a second time (as rules currently allow), Jeff Burns and Frank Venezia shouted me down from their microphones to prevent me from being heard.

It should also be noted here that at the very end of the January 12th Town Board meeting that, in front of a dozen local residents, Town Supervisor Jeff Burns actually yelled at me to "get out"(!).

This is unacceptable.

Our Town Board should be following its own rules for Public Discussion periods; members of the public should be allowed to speak twice, as current rules (in place since 2004) allow this-- and local residents should not be yelled at by our Town Supervisor to "get out"-- after doing nothing more than abiding by current rules for Town Board meetings.

Besides all this, the precedent is clear-- even a brief review of Town Board minutes over just the last several years revealed at least six other times when other town residents like Richard Morse, Dick Coller, Harvey Podolsky, Carolyn Blackwood, George Sanderson, June Sanderson were allowed to speak more than once during Public Discussion periods at the end of our Town Board meetings.

[so why didn't our Town Board allow me to do the same thing they allowed Richard, Dick, Harvey, Carolyn, George, and June to do-- and speak twice during the second Public Discussion period?]

The facts are clear (feel free to go to Town Hall to confirm the following in past meeting minutes):

1. Aug. 8 '08 Clinton Town Board Meeting Public Discussion-- Rich Morse & Dick Coller each spoke 2x.

2. Apr. 8 '08 Clinton Town Board Meeting Public Discussion-- Harvey Podolsky spoke twice.

3. July 10 '07 Clinton Town Board Mtg. Public Discussion-- Carolyn Blackwood spoke twice.

4. June 12 '07 Clinton Town Board Mtg. Public Discussion-- George & June Sanderson each spoke 2x.

5. Aug. 8 '06 Clinton Town Board Mtg. Public Discussion-- June Sanderson spoke two separate times.

6. Apr. 10 '07 Clinton Town Board Mtg. Public Discussion-- June Sanderson spoke two separate times.

Joel Tyner
Four-Term County Legislator (Clinton/Rhinebeck)
39-year Town of Clinton resident
324 Browns Pond Road
Staatsburg, NY 12580
DutchessDemocracy.blogspot.com
[email protected]
(845) 876-2488

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Apr. 8 '08 Clinton Town Board Meeting Public Discussion-- Harvey Podolsky spoke two separate times:

"Harvey Podolsky, Kansas Road-- noted that regarding Crimson Hill subdivision, there has been no public hearing since they've revised their plans, so why is the town approving them? Harvey also talked about the sewage treatment plant stating the plant would concentrate sewage from several homes into one and if it fails, it's a much larger problem. He suggested having an education forum with experts to inform Town Board, Planning Board, et. al. as this will set a precedent if accepted. He also talked about the Comprehensive Plan, saying this is a rural town and questions if the land can support 14-17 homes in that subdivision."

[Joel Tyner, Ray Oberly speak.]

"Harvey Podolsky-- stated that the sewage treatment plant at Omega was approved because they already had an existing system. New developers might have to wait 1-2 years for approval."

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July 10 '07 Clinton Town Board Mtg. Public Discussion-- Carolyn Blackwood spoke two separate times:

[Bill Dickett, Mike Haggerty, Harvey Podolsky, June Sanderson, and Bronwyn Bevan all spoke.]

"Carolyn Blackwood, Walnut Lane, asked if the town's website could show what development is taking place, such as subdivisions etc. and then intermediate steps could be taken instead of finding out after the fact."

[Eric Carlson, Art Weiland, Joel Tyner, David Golden, Ann Stettner, Tom Seelbach, Judy Malstrom spoke.]

"Carolyn Blackwood, Walnut Lane, said that prior to our present Master Plan being written, a questionnaire was sent to all residents and wonders if the town will do this again. Supervisor Oberly answered that it is already planned to be a part of the process for the new Master Plan. Ms. Blackwood continued by confirming what Mr. Seelbach said about school taxes being too high."

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Aug. 8 '06 Clinton Town Board Mtg. Public Discussion-- June Sanderson spoke two separate times:

"June Sanderson, Deer Ridge Drive, said solar power lifetime is only about 20-25 years. She agrees with Norene on the importance of protecting our drinking water. She also talked about a near accident on Centre Rd./Hollow Rd. and said a blinking light would not have helped. She suggested talking to the county and perhaps the road could be reconfigured."

[Joel Tyner, Ron Brands spoke.]

"June Sanderson, Deer Ridge Drive, talked about the new member appointed to the Planning Board, stating he is a town employee, married to a town employee who is also a member of ZBA and she wonders if there is any conflict of interest."

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June 12 '07 Clinton Town Board Mtg. Public Discussion-- both George, June Sanderson each spoke 2x:

"George Sanderson, Deer Ridge Drive, talked about the finding of chlorides when the water testing was done by the CAC. He explained that the most common findings are chloride in the water, due to the salt on the roads.

June Sanderson, Deer Ridge Drive, asked if the Proclamation to the Historic Warren Lodge is recognizing the building or the site?...Regarding repairs for Highway vehicles, she suggested including the mileage of each vehicle and the year purchased when approving repair work. She also suggested for historical value having a way of recording unusual events such as unusual weather and what impact it may have had on the town.

George Sanderson, Deer Ridge Drive, noted that he has seen mercury-filled light bulbs brought in with normal garbage at the town recycling center in the past and hopes it's still not happening. He mentioned that although the land assessments may have had a 50\% increase, that shouldn't raise the tax since it would equalize and everyone would pay their fair share.

June Sanderson, Deer Ridge Drive, praised Norma Dolan because at the ZBA Norma raised the question as to how the town is recording land agreements and was concerned that there may be a deficiency in that area-- they must record all land agreements."

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Apr. 10 '07 Clinton Town Board Mtg. Public Discussion-- June Sanderson spoke two separate times:

"June Sanderson, Deer Ridge Drive, asked who owns the land across from Firehouse 2 and suggested the owners fix up their property...June gave her opinion that rather than Community Day, the Town could sponsor a Harvest Festival in the Fall and bring in talents from the town residents."

[Joel Tyner spoke.]

"June Sanderson commented that the environmental issue was a good observation. She also announced a panel discussion on global warming will be held at IES auditorium on Thursday, April 19th at 6 pm."

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From http://www.TownofClinton.com ...

"Rules for public participation at Town Board meetings

1/13/2004

The Clinton Town Board meets in public, as required by law, so that town residents may observe their local government at work. In addition, Town Board meetings are televised, recorded and re-broadcast by means of a Government Access Channel provided by the local cable franchise, providing additional opportunity for residents to observe their representatives at work.

In order to provide adequate opportunity for individuals to address the Town Board verbally, meeting agendas may include up to two (2) Public Discussion periods. In order to maintain order and to preserve the legal distinction inherent with a Government Access channel, Public Discussion periods are subject to the following rules:

Public Discussion periods:

1) There is no legal requirement to open a meeting to Public Discussion. A member of the Town Board shall make a motion to open and/or close a meeting to Public Discussion, which must be seconded and then approved by a majority of the Town Board (3 yes votes). Nothing in these rules shall be construed as to prevent additional public discussion periods during a Town Board meeting, subject to a motion.

2) The first Public Discussion period will generally occur after the approval of the minutes from the prior meeting, and shall be restricted to comments about issues on the current agenda for that meeting. Comments about issues that are not on the current agenda shall NOT be accepted.

3) The second Public Discussion period will generally occur at the end of the Town Board meeting. Comments during the second Public Discussion period shall broadly address Town of Clinton Government activities and issues. This section shall not be construed to limit or prevent a speaker from petitioning the Town Board to pass a resolution expressing an opinion or sentiment about a non-local issue, or an issue not within the direct purview of the Town Board.

4) If a member of the public violates these rules, the Town Supervisor or other presiding officer shall call that member to order and shall explain the rules. If a member of the public fails to follow the directions of the presiding officer, that person shall be prevented from speaking further. In extreme cases, the Town Board may adjourn, and may refer the matter to a police agency.

5) The decision of the Town Supervisor or presiding officer with regards to these rules shall be final.

Public speakers:

1) A member of the public who wishes to speak during Public Discussion shall raise his/her hand and wait to be recognized by the presiding officer of the Board. Upon recognition, the member of the public shall proceed to the public microphone and shall state his/her name and address before proceeding further.

2) Each person shall be allowed 3 minutes to speak in accordance with these rules, provided that such time may be extended by majority vote of the Board. All comments, statements and questions shall be addressed to the Town Board. There shall be no interaction with other members of the audience. At the end of the allotted time, the presiding officer shall notify the speaker, by use of the gavel or by other means, that their time has expired, and the speaker shall return to his/her seat without further comment.

3) No person shall be allowed to speak a second time until all members of the public have had an opportunity to speak at least once. No person shall be allowed to speak more than twice during a Public Discussion period."

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Hillary JenkinsBy:
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