Friday, September 4, 2015

Council To Vote (Again) On Rescinding Park Bond

The Common Council, at its regularly scheduled meeting next week, will again consider whether the recently approved $34M bond ordinance for parks improvements will be put before voters in November.

On August 24th, the Council voted on a bond ordinance that called for no artificial turf fields to be built. When that was approved, opponents hastily called a special Council meeting to overturn the decision. On September 2nd, the Council voted on the same issue, and again approved a bond ordinance that called for no artificial turf fields to be built.

The opponents have given themselves another chance to defeat the bond ordinance, and will vote on this Tuesday.

The meeting will be held on September 8th, at 7PM in Council Chambers.


Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

The sentences in those resolution are almost impossible to parse. There's no reason why the resolution has to begin with the word "approving," and then completely reversing it with "rescinding" and "amending." Why not just begin the sentence with those words? And why use the gerund when the verb is stronger and more clear? And what the hell is the difference between the two? One rescinds a bond ordinance that has been passed twice. The second deletes the bond ordinance passed twice. What are these clowns doing, and can we expect every resolution and ordinance to have to be voted on three times? It shows a lack of leadership, conviction and belief in a process where a vote by a legislative body means something.

Anonymous said...

Who claims the the honor of putting these resolutions on the agenda for the next meeting? Is there more to this mysterious falderal than meets the eye?

Jim Streeto said...

Hey Guys--

Got a couple comments, so I'll do two separate posts:


I do appreciate what you and Ed are trying to do in your blog, but please keep to your normal standards of accuracy. The "opponents" did not call a special council meeting; nor was that what the vote on September 2 was really about.

To put the chronology in proper order: the public works and recreation commission of the common council began a comprehensive study of all the parks and rec facilities in Middletown well over a year ago. Contrary to some representations, including some on this very blog, public input was not only welcomed but actively solicited from the start. I'd love to take credit for the comprehensiveness of the resultant study, but the two people really driving the bus in terms of thoroughness and inclusiveness were Councilman Serra and Councilman Bauer. The resultant study by Milone and McBroom is publicly available.

There was a councilmatic workshop sometime this summer (the exact date escapes me), again with public input. Many of the individuals active in the various youth sports programs came, commented, and asked numerous questions. These were factored in to the ultimate plan.

Coming very, very late to the party, a number of members of the middletown environmental community and the conservation commission began raising objections to the use of artificial turf a week or so before the already-scheduled public hearing on the bond initiative and the renovation plan. While late, their input brought a number of concerning studies to the council's attention. At the meeting on August 24th, it was decided to abandon any use of artificial turf in a very close vote.

Your input was valuable in making that decision, by the way--for those of you who missed it, Stephen came to that meeting and made an impassioned and eloquent speech urging the council to abandon any use of artificial turf in favor of natural grass, based in part on the fact that grass makes for better soccer games. For those of us who didn't play soccer growing up, this was highly educational.....

more comments to Ed in a sec.....

Jim Streeto said...


I agree with you the resolution, as worded, is slightly confusing, based on the need to comply with appropriate legal language. On grammar--well, you got me, I had to actually look up what a "gerund" was. Apparently, its a verb converted to a noun by the use of "ing" (skiing, reading, writing, biking). Based on this definition, I'm not clear on your critique--which word is the gerund? I mean, we can "go skiing" but we can't "go approving" or "go rescinding" can we?

But you're right, the construction is awkward. There has been a "plain English" movement in the law for some time now. But many people are concerned that by changing the language of commonly used legal constructions you also change the meaning, and it really hasn't caught on.

In any case, I'd submit that "almost impossible" or not, it is clear what is being considered, based upon your comments. You accurately summarize what is under consideration here--so its obviously not unclear for a discerning reader of ordinary intelligence, even if the legal construction is awkward. If you really want to focus your wrath on unclear legalese: how about taking the courts to task for incomprehensible instructions given in criminal cases in which young men (they are almost always young men) are sent to jail for the rest of their lives?

I took initial offense at "clowns" but then recalled I've used the same term from time to time (I won't tell you how WE characterize YOUR initiatives at the BOE from time to time :) ). And believe me when I say I have no desire at all to sit through another hour of debate on a topic that's already been discussed in committee at considerable length, and on the council floor at 3 separate meetings each lasting over two hours. But I don't think it shows "a lack of leadership, conviction and belief." I think it reflects two very different perspectives on a controversial and important issue costing in excess of 30 million dollars.

So no, I'm not looking forward to tomorrow night's debate. But I think this one rates careful listening. I don't think it belongs back in committee though--the only issue of serious controversy at this point is artificial turf, and I really believe the community's positions on that point are staked out.

Anonymous said...

Still not clear why this requires another vote. It gives the impression that those elected officials who favor artificial turf for the project will continue to try to force it on the referendum with vote after vote.