New Paltz: The surveillance tape of the last village board meeting

Not sure why I watched it.

Well, I didn’t really watch it. I took in some of the early moments and then kept jumping forward, compressing the ordeal down to about twenty minutes of hard viewing.

I will not pick on the new mayor, who seemed prickly and uncomfortable and was leaning on the lawyer at the far end of the table to fill in the blank spaces of, I presume, the “legalities” of “the process.” If you know what I mean.

Zimet was there, speaking from the gallery, working her latest hustle, something about having one building for town and village governments. She was being, as usual, very urgent, highlighting the urgency with dark implications. (There’s a committee studying all this! Again!  A duly constituted committee is the Velveeta cheese of local municipal process.) The mayor averred that the citizens are still, after more than a century, confused by the difference between village and town governments, and that maybe having them in one place would solve the problem.

Perhaps a twenty-minute refresher course in local civics at the high school (do they still teach anything like civics at the high school, or the middle school, or anywhere?) once a year would do the trick and avert the need for major construction. Meanwhile, that could be put on a YouTube and said confused citizens could be referred to it. Maybe even candidates for political office could watch it.

Don Kerr, local media star and now a trustee, seemed to be the only one on the board daring to raise questions about…things. Kerr is preternaturally restrained by the extreme roundness of his deferential attitude, which encloses his point (if he has one, and I’ll assume he does) within a nearly opaque bell jar. Just spit it out, Don. Try things like, “I don’t like this,” or “let’s try it this way,” and don’t worry about the fur going up on Tim Rogers’ neck. He’ll get over it. Or he won’t.

Despite the awkwardness of this meeting, it was a comparative relief from the prior board where one trustee seemed determined to drive Jason West to the welcoming arms of the Hemlock Society.*

* Silly me, the Hemlock Society, dedicated to putting you out of your misery, changed its name over a decade ago and then merged with another organization and is known today as the New Paltz Times.

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