EDITORIAL: These cards are no game

AT THE OUTSET the number of index cards in the pile came to 37. It looked like a manageable number of questions for the Chatham Town Board, the board’s attorney and its planning consultant to address in the next two hours. But the work of the “question card chasers” was just getting started. The final card count came to more than double that.

The board provided white index cards and pencils to Chatham residents–well over 200 of them–who filled the garage of the Tri-Village Fire Company in Old Chatham Monday evening. Many residents came prepared with brightly-colored, neatly-handwritten cards, or cards printed on paper thick enough for wedding invitations, a few torn scraps of paper and a pile of lasagna-size strips from laser-printed pages–a question on each about Chatham’s proposal for a new zoning law.

The idea behind the cards was that they would focus attention on the questions, not the questioners. Well, it’s a promising theory. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Why celebrate July 4th

THE FOURTH OF JULY is a holiday that ought to bring the nation together. It’s okay if British guests utter snarky opinions about how we’ve handled what was once their global backyard. This moment we celebrate the great things our ancestors accomplished, and if we’re serious about it, we’ll acknowledge the human toll and wonder what we will leave behind.

The American Revolution was just over the horizon here. Captured British cannon from Fort Ticonderoga during the first winter of the war were transported to Boston, where the new Continental Army besieged the British and forced them to retreat from that city. And as the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia finished the Declaration of Independence at the beginning of July 1776, British troops were landing in New York City.

The Redcoats were preparing for what they expected would end the insurgency of the upstart colonials–what we might call today freedom fighters or guerillas? Instead they come down to us as patriots because they were successful and our history textbooks are written here, not in England. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Is a bigger law better?

EVERYBODY NEEDS AN EDITOR whether you write for a living or occasionally tweet your thoughts. Even editors need editing, as readers of editorials might have noticed.

The software in our gadgets reduces misspelling but doesn’t yet reliably correct for missing context or lack of clarity, though gmail will gladly finish your sentences.

From corporate PR spin, to academic jargon and semi-translated instructions for foreign-made products, there’s a world of misinformation and confusing prose unrelated to malicious disinformation and hate speech. Sometimes you find it in legal documents. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Time to make choices

THERE’S AN ELECTION next week. But not for everybody. It’s a primary that allows the members of some parties in some places to pick candidates for a handful of offices.

How much do primaries matter? Not much until you get your tax bill. Then, some people get angry. Others shrug. “They’re all no good,” they’ll say, because we’d rather blame anybody but ourselves.

There will also be another vote in early August, when a handful of people who know exactly whom they’re voting for and why, will pick Democratic candidates for state Supreme Court judges. It’s called a judicial convention and it will have a direct impact on Columbia County. More about that below. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Join the parade

WE DIDN’T START covering the Hudson Pride Parade and the ever growing number of events that are part of the annual OutHudson Pride Festival until 2012. By then it was the third annual festival and growing each year. This week the celebration marks its first decade. It’s a milestone worth noting.

When the first festival was held in Hudson, same-sex couples could not get married. Marriage equality became law in July 2011, so when that third year came along, there was real progress to celebrate. By now most kids don’t remember when two adults who loved each other couldn’t get married because of their sexual orientation. All kids face plenty of challenges ahead, but their world is a little more just, now that same-sex marriage is a legally protected right.

Kids are a part of this festival. Some of them identify as LGBT or Q. Others don’t but are there with family or friends anyway. If you ask, they might tell you it’s a fun way to spend a few hours… as long as they get some screen time too. Read more…