July 20th, 2021 Council Meeting Notes - DEI
Public Comments were extensive. While council meetings seldom have a specific purpose or focus, this meeting was the 3rd reading of Kate Schlademan’s resolution to request financial and council support of community wide dialog on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Original Proposal here: http://hudson.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=de46cc85-1e4d-41b6-9f00-5a9160985f96.pdf
A bit short of 2 hours of Public Comments debating the proposal. This item was removed (withdrawn) from the agenda by a vote of 4 to 2, with Nicole Kowalski and Kate Schlademan voting to keep the item on the agenda, but table it to October 19th. Hal DeSaussure, Beth Bigham, Skylar Sutton, and I voting to have the item withdrawn. Bill Wooldredge was not in attendance at the meeting. Kate Schlademan made a statement that she will likely reintroduce this again even though it was removed from the agenda.
The reason for my position, directly, is that government is not in the business of determining education on processes of thought. If city council is to be non-partisan, it should focus on financial issues and city development. I am not your father, I am not your priest, I am not your philosophy teacher.
If you want to understand my thought process as a person (rather than a councilmember), I am happy to share it. I do not believe in identity politics. They divide us. I believe in racial philosophies that revolve around color-blindness. And before critics go off about that statement, the case for colorblindness does not mean we do not recognize race. It means we all deserve equal treatment ‘without regard to race’. I also do not believe people change by force. They change because they choose to self-educate.
My self education has included the following list of books (and my opinion of them).
1: Ibram X Kendi – How to be an Antiracist. Identity politics at its core. The most divisive book I read and openly critical of the foundational arguments of Dr Martin Luther King. I am a big supporter of Conversations with Coleman, who wrote an open letter to Ibram Kendi and discussed that in one of his podcasts. That podcast is on youtube and linked below. It is 20 minutes long and amazingly well stated.
2: Robin DiAngelo – White Fragility. I learned some things from this book. It is also comfortably in the core of Identity Politics, which is built off many of the tenants of Critical Race Theory from the field of legal studies that came up in the late 70’s and 1980’s.
3: Peter Wood - 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project. This is a bit longer and a difficult read if you have not read the 1619 project itself, but it deconstructs fallacies in the 1619 project which are factually historically incorrect. If you hear the term “revisionist history”, much of it is based on the 1619 project attempting to change our understanding of history. While debunking some of the 1619 project, it also provides insight into racial realities of the time – which were not always kind.
4: Thomas Sowell – Intellectuals and Race. I could list a few books by Thomas Sowell in my library but this was by far the best. Well worth reading. I will also mention I started reading Maverick: A biography of Thomas Sowell by Jason Riley recently.
5: Nic Stone - Dear Martin. While this book is fictional, it is a good read. I believe it provides insight into what I believe are likely real life stories and situations encountered by young black men through its narrative.
6: Martin Luther King Jr – Strength to Love. I really do not need to expand on this. The vision of MLK and equality, the case for treating people without regard to race is where we should be in life.
7: Zaretta Hammond- Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain. This is meant for educators, but it was insightful as well. It is not a-political, though I would not describe it as 100% political either. My positive take away – teachers need to expect excellence from everyone. Teachers need to connect with their students in a way the student feels comfortable. I would also argue that I learned affirmative action should probably be abandoned in place of better childcare funding for people near the poverty line. Better childcare results in higher education and higher standards of living regardless of race; and if there are racial inequities this is probably the best way to resolve those long term.
8: Zora Hurston – Dust Tracks On A Road. A 1942 memoir. I would strongly suggest this and make sure you pay close attention to the chapter ‘Seeing The World As It Is’. Notable quote – “No, instead of Race Pride being a virtue, it is a sapping vice. It has caused more suffering in the world than religious opinion, and that is saying a lot. Race Conscious is about the same as Race Pride in meaning.”
I have more. Take it or leave it, be critical or not. I got something out of all of these books, even if that something was a better understanding of ideas I find distasteful. But it is your job to decide how to live your life, not mine to force your hand – and certainly not my place to introduce any co-mingled racial and political ideals as “council endorsed”.
The remainder of the meeting was relatively short.
The Estates at Canterbury On The Lakes have been dedicated to the city, as well as Nottingham Gate Estates Phase IV and V.
Section 648.12 of the general offenses was repealed. It was a sound ordinance that conflicted with 1207.10 and in some cases allowed contractors to start loud work earlier than most Hudsonites would like.
We reviewed Rec and Fitness Centers in the area as a general review of rec center needs / desires. Staff presented their findings, which shows Hudson is generally well served by centers in our area. A full listing is included below.
Everyone moving to Hudson should get a copy of this. It is also good to know everyone in Hudson is within 15 minutes drive of a rec center currently, the vast majority within 10 minutes drive.
We also applied for a grant to fund a large portion of adaptive signaling expenses. The total cost of the adaptive signaling is estimated at $2,896,174. The grant would cover 80% of these costs, leaving only $579,234 for the city to cover. The map for those locations is below http://hudson.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=6852ca30-e552-43c6-a465-7569e0e5793f.pdf