To the editor:
I watched the Planning, Real Property and Economic Development Committee Meeting of the Sullivan County Legislature on May 5 and was listening to Ken Walter’s …
To the editor:
I watched the Planning, Real Property and Economic Development Committee Meeting of the Sullivan County Legislature on May 5 and was listening to Ken Walter’s Public Comment with interest.
He had made some excellent comments in the previous meetings; most notable for me was that the county Board of Election’s enthusiasm for consolidation of polling places was antithetical to democracy because it would prevent a lot of people from voting, especially people without transportation.
Ken attends every legislative meeting and sometimes voices opinions that illuminate these meetings which, when animated, usually sound like a Sopranos rerun. Ken was explaining a study he had undertaken to see how many Sullivan residents are receiving Medicaid now versus pre-pandemic when his microphone was suddenly cut off.
The legislature had voted some months ago to limit public comment to 3 minutes, and the clerk was tasked with enforcing it. She had performed this unenviable duty previously by giving warning that time was about to elapse, at which time the person speaking could politely request additional time, which was usually granted as courtesy. This time there was no warning, and some legislators objected.
The Chairman of the Legislature, always unable to resist his impulse to bully, told the legislators that they had voted for this (which they had not) although he was not the Chairman of this Committee, who alone is empowered to determine whether to grant additional time to speak.
It was just rude and disrespectful to cut off the speech of this venerable 81-year-old retired teacher who had spent the time to research his topic, spent the money to make copies to distribute of his findings, and who was attempting to educate our legislators about the reduced living conditions of their own constituents. It’s painful to watch these meetings and it’s a damn shame.
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