Towns split over no-hate-here resolutions

GHENT—The City of Hudson, Village of Chatham and the Town of Gallatin passed anti-hate/anti-violence resolutions at their board meetings last week. They join 11 other Columbia County communities that have passed “no hate here” resolutions since the Columbia County Board of Supervisors voted, unanimously, in mid-July of last year, in favor of such a resolution.

The push for anti-hate resolutions comes in response to a group calling itself White Lives Matter, which posted small signs with links to racist slogans in Columbia County in 2021. A handful of people supporting White Lives Matter briefly demonstrated in Chatham last month.

Those actions have led to an effort to persuade the remaining towns in the county to adopt anti-hate/anti-violence resolutions similar to the county’s. According to Hate Watch founder Michael Richards, a Chatham resident, 10 Columbia County municipalities have yet to act on similar resolutions. They include: the Towns of Clermont, Copake, Kinderhook, Stockport and Stuyvesant; and the Villages of Kinderhook, Philmont and Valatie.

The Columbia Paper contacted by email the supervisors of some those towns for comments regarding future resolutions. Two towns, Claverack and Greenport, decided not to introduce a local anti-hate resolution, although Claverack Supervisor Clifford “Kippy” Wiegelt (R) sponsored the Anti-Hate/Anti-Violence resolution adopted by the Board of Supervisors last year.

Greenport Supervisor Kathy Eldridge (D) wrote in an email, “The Greenport Town Board had a discussion regarding this resolution and unanimously agreed it is not necessary. … I supported the resolution at the county level, which covers the entire county population. That is sufficient.  There is no need for duplication.”

At the February town meeting in Stuyvesant during the public comments section, town Democratic Committee Chair Lee Jamison says she brought up having the town adopt a “no hate here” resolution. Ms. Jamison said the board will take up a resolution at the March town meeting.

There were verbal fireworks at this month’s Livingston Town Board meeting when a resolution was discussed. Town Democratic Committee Chair Pam Kline reported “jeers” from some in attendance. Nevertheless the board voted in favor of the “no hate here” resolution before it.

Copake Town Supervisor Jeanne Mettler responded to the Columbia Paper email query, saying, “I have heard that there will be a request for Copake to approve this Resolution, but to date no formal request has been made.”

The other town supervisors who had not responded to the Columbia Paper email by the publication deadline were from the Towns of Clermont, Kinderhook and Stockport.

The county resolution adopted, last year, reads in part: “County reaffirms our commitment to a status of inclusion for all races, religions, nationalities, gender identities, sexual orientations. . .; and . . . on behalf of all residents of Columbia County we maintain . . . that violence of any kind is unacceptable and condemn any act of aggression, hostility or violence . . . based upon race, religion, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation . . .”

Mr. Richards, who helped organize a well-attended anti-hate rally in the Village of Chatham earlier this month, lists the following communities that have adopted their own “no hate here” resolutions. They are:

Enacted as of February 15, 2022

(chronological order)

Town of New Lebanon

Columbia County Board of Supervisors

Town of Taghkanic

Town of Germantown

Town of Ancram

Town of Chatham

Town of Hillsdale

Town of Ghent

Town of Austerlitz

Town of Livingston

Village of Chatham

Town of Canaan

Town of Gallatin

City of Hudson.

Communities with votes pending, or that do not plan to adopt “No Hate Here” resolutions:

Town of Clermont

Town of Copake

Town of Greenport

Town of Claverack

Town of Kinderhook

Town of Stockport

Town of Stuyvesant

Village of Kinderhook

Village of Philmont

Village of Valatie.

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