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After undisclosed meeting, Catskill Village Trustees announce there will not be a 'Black Lives Matter' mural on Main Street

Jul 01, 2020 6:39 am
After what may have been an illegal vote, Sarah Trafton reports for Columbia-Greene Media that Catskill Village trustees announced on June 30 they will not allow a "Black Lives Matter" mural to be painted on Main Street. No meeting was announced beforehand on the Village of Catskill website nor on the social media accounts that are not accessible to all citizens. The Catskill Village website says meetings are on the second and fourth Mondays of the month, while no towns hold meetings on the fifth Mondays or fifth Tuesdays which only occur four times a year. Trafton does not report when or how the trustees came to this decision. At a June 24 meeting, several trustees tried to persuade folks from the Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition in to painting the three words on a side street, or to hang it on banners above the street. The meeting ended with officials asking the activists to provide more details, but taking no action. It is unclear when this decision against painting the mural on Main St. was made, and it does not seem to have happened in a public, legal way. The Daily Mail story does not account any vote, nor is any vote mentioned in the social media message the village posted on a private media site. The cities of Albany and Schenectady, have painted "Black Lives Matter" on their streets, and Hudson officials are promising a mural there too. Claire Cousin, from the Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition, took issue with the trustees social media message about the decision. “The village stating that they will not respond to demands but would rather be invited to a conversation is misleading,” she said. “We have had numerous conversations with Mr. (Village President Vincent) Seeley since the time of our start when tenants from Hop-O-Nose were seeking basic assistance from the leadership in Hop-O-Nose and, very simply, a better quality of life.” The board cited several reasons for denying the request including, "If it is approved, we set a precedent for any other group with a political message to be allowed to create a mural." They also wrote that, "The lettering on the actual street could lead to confusion for some drivers," even though that has not been an issue in any other cities across the country. Over 2,400 people have signed an online petition in favor of the Main Street mural. The 2020-21 budget for the Catskill Police Department is $1.3 million, or 26.5 percent of the $4.9 million spending plan.