There has been some controversy and many questions regarding the Municipal ID Cards. The Common Council has examined my proposal, reviewed what other communities are doing, held public sessions and received input from our residents and all concerned.
So exactly what is this Municipal ID card, who will want one, who needs one?, and so many other questions have been asked and answered - and that brings us to tonight.
I have said from the beginning that this Municipal ID has different meanings to different people depending on your personal circumstances.
First of all, it hurts no one for us to do this. So many communities throughout the country have this in place, and they have seen benefits in areas such as police and community relations.
Since April 2011 the Mercer County Area Community ID Card has been issued with the endorsement of the offices of the Mercer County Sheriff, the Mercer County Prosecutor, and the police departments of several municipalities. The card is issued by the non-profit Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF) and is accepted by law enforcement agencies, municipal agencies, clinics, hospitals, libraries, social service agencies, and many stores and banks. Although it is not an official government ID card, it facilitates access to basic community services.
That would be a long term goal of our program. Of course, it would be up to the individual agencies as to whether they would accept the card here, but I would hope that after the adoption of this program a focus would be put on libraries, for example, to accept it. Our city agencies will accept the IDs. To maximize the success of the card, programs can be developed to offer discounts to restaurants, city park rentals, and/or price reductions on seasonal passes to our summer programs and pools.
Under Section 325-4, Section C, the security protections for the IDs would include watermarks or other methods, along with bar codes. The success will depend on the creativity of the public and private sector. Maybe it will be a benefit to certain businesses that adopt a program to market to them, maybe not. Again, this hurts no one.
We will also utilize the IDs to identify volunteers on our boards. Currently, only some of our board members carry ID cards and this is one we give to our Fire Police. Again, the card means different things to different people.
With the national immigration debate hitting new lows, we must also recognize and acknowledge that this card will help undocumented people who are living here now.
For us, and we have heard it here from Board Members, the ability to provide proof of identity is something we take for granted. But it’s not only undocumented people who face this difficulty - many seniors do also.
We have heard from many in our community that they understand the concerns raised by Alderman Masi, and rightly so, that this may be a tool for Immigration officials to find them. They understand that there are risks, but they can also be reassured that this city government will utilize the courts to protect this information if necessary.
Imagine the fear of leaving your home for a gallon of milk, and find yourself unable to identify who you are to local police - either as a victim or witness to a crime. This should concern us. This alone should justify us doing this. But this inability to provide proof of identity impacts every aspect of their lives, 24/7. How can giving them some comfort in their lives, some sense of safety in their homes, and removing some semblance of fear from their kids’ eyes be bad?
So I have talked about what the IDs are; here’s what they are not.
1. No reference is made to one’s immigration status.
We will get a sense of where the nation is on this issue tomorrow, but as that debate continues let’s do what we can here to make Middletown stand out as a community that is welcoming.
2. You must be a city resident to receive one and certain types of ID must be presented to be approved.
3. They can only be used for the purpose of proving identity.
4. You cannot legally drive or use it to fly on airlines
5. The IDs cannot be used to get a driver’s license
6. The IDs do not authorize you to work
7. The IDs cannot be used to register to vote and do not change your immigration status.
8. If you commit a crime you will be prosecuted.
I want to ensure the public on both sides of this issue that I and all the members of the Common Council have listened intently for a number of months about your concerns. Like the national debate, there have been many comments about this program that are just not true and I hope that I have clarified them for you. Many residents had legitimate concerns and questions and I hope we have addressed them for you and relieved your concerns.
I need to share one of the conversations that I had with a guy I grew up with in Middletown. He had concerns and some of them mirrored the national debate about immigration. We were on opposite sides of the national discussion and the conversation was going nowhere. I then reminded him of something that has always stuck in the back of my mind about him. Over the years he always told me about his Mom, now in her 90’s, a graduate of MHS, who is proud of her Italian ancestry, but had refused to attend any of her high school reunions.
She had a successful professional career, raised a beautiful family, she had 4 kids and many nieces and nephews in our ethnic neighborhood growing up. She’s a lifelong resident and loves Middletown. I asked him, “Do you remember why your mother didn’t attend those reunions?” He remembered. Throughout school, as the child of a poor immigrant family living in an immigrant neighborhood, the pain caused by the mistreatment of many never left her.
We have an opportunity to change the story of many people and children in our city.
When they look back at tonight’s vote they will know that the elected representatives and the overwhelming majority of residents in our city cared enough about them to recognize them as people, as members of our community, and that they are welcome in the City of Middletown.
Tonight’s vote will demonstrate who and what we are as elected officials representing the City of Middletown.
Chapter 460 Vehicles and Traffic, Traffic Regulations, Section 460-14 Night Parking:
The parking of vehicles is hereby prohibited on all highways and streets within the City between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., from the 15th day of November until and including the 15th day of April of each year, except on the westerly side of Rivervale Road.
It shall be unlawful to delay, hinder or obstruct any vehicles or equipment engaged in the operation of snow plowing or snow removal in the City streets. After a precipitation of snow of 2 1/2 inches or more, and thereafter until the streets are plowed and cleared of snow, it shall be unlawful for any person to park any vehicle upon any street while said street is being plowed or cleared unless such vehicle is attended by a person capable of operating it. The owner or a person in charge of or in control of any vehicle standing in any street shall move or cause the same to be moved so as not to be in the path of the equipment plowing or clearing the street of snow.
Please be advised that as per City of Middletown Code, Section 460-22, Parking Restrictions to Aid Snow Plowing and Snow Removal, "Parking on City Streets is Unlawful after a Snowfall of 2 1/2 Inches or More to Aid in the Safe Plowing of City Streets..."
Also as weather conditions deteriorate please stay off the roads and keep the Fire Hydrants in your area clear of snow when safe to do so.
This is for your safety and the Safety of your Neighbors.
We appreciate your cooperation
Joseph M. DeStefano, Mayor
Mayor DeStefano gave his State of the City Address on Tuesday, February 19, 2019.
Click here to read the full report → pdf State of the City Address for 2019 (10.60 MB)
RESCHEDULED TILL WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20 AT 5:00pm
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Orange County Legislature will hold two Public Hearings regarding updates to the Orange County Comprehensive Plan. The two public hearing dates are as follows:
February 20, 2019 meeting will be held in Legislative Chambers, Orange County Government Center, 255 Main Street, 2nd Floor, New York at 5:00 PM; and
February 27, 2019 meeting will be held at OCCC-Newburgh Campus at 3:00 PM; alternative date/snowdate March 13, 2019 at 3:00 PM at OCCC-Newburgh Campus.
FURTHER NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that copies of said Comprehensive Plans (Core Document Update and Chapter 6: Transportation) are available at the Office of the Clerk of said County Legislature, 255 Main Street, 2nd Floor, in the Orange County Government Center, Goshen, New York, where they may be inspected by any interested person during usual business hours.
Copies of the plans are also available for inspection at:
• The Office of the Orange County Department of Planning, 124 Main Street (1887 Building), Goshen, NY 10924
• A copy of the comprehensive plan will be deposited with each reference desk of every library in the County.
• The Orange County Website: https://www.orangecountygov.com/376/Orange-County-Plans- Documents
• Copies of public comments to date may also be found on the website.
2019 COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN UPDATE PUBLIC OUTREACH TO DATE
The County Planning Department, in cooperation with the County Planning Board, has completed significant public outreach to date. This outreach – summarized as follows – was focused on:
• Use of coUrbanize social media tool and related digital and in person outreach.
• A public hearing on a first draft of the proposed Update, held Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at the County Emergency Management Center in Goshen.
• An open comment period on the first draft of the proposed Update, as available online and at the offices of the Planning Department. That comment period closed Wednesday, January 2, 2019.
These comments have been reviewed by staff, with the County Planning Board, and when relevant have been incorporated into the Final Draft Plan Update provided to the Legislature for review and adoption.
To help determine the focus of this new Comprehensive Plan, the Planning Department led public outreach to gauge what issues were most important to County residents. Outreach included discussions with the Orange County Planning Board, three public meetings held throughout the County, press releases, and an outreach project facilitated by coUrbanize. The last-mentioned outreach technique was especially helpful in reaching a wide audience because it was based on an interactive website where people were able to respond to questions posed on the site. The site was linked to outdoor signs the Department installed throughout the County, each of which posed a question and asked pedestrians to text their answer to a specific phone number; these questions asked, “Why do you ride public transit?” and “What housing options does your community need?” among others.
Those answers would also be posted on the website automatically. All answers were pinned to a map on the coUrbanize site. In total, this generated 425 comments from 64 users, and 199 responses from County Planning.
Outreach has continued for this process by way of a Facebook page created specifically for this project. Although public engagement on this page has been very sparse, it offers another way for ongoing community outreach, and another way for the public to contact us with other concerns.
CoUrbanize users typically commented around a few major themes:
• Traffic issues around the Harriman/Monroe area and Newburgh area, but transportation related projects such as increased ferry service, better commuter train service, and train connections to Stewart Airport were also brought up frequently. Better/more convenient public transportation and a county-wide bus network were big topics of conversation.
• The desire for more trail connections to the Heritage Trail, particularly North- South connections, and the creation of a county-wide trail network.
• Nonmotorized transportation in general was commented on frequently, with people wanting more opportunities for biking/walking and a focus on pedestrian safety and sidewalks.
• Open space protection and preserving the character of the County were common topics.
• There was a big discussion on economic development in towns and villages across the County, but revitalization in Newburgh and Port Jervis were popular.
• Arts and culture were a hot topic, with many areas interested in more museums and performing arts/concert venues.
The coUrbanize users focused so strongly on the transportation and transit concerns that the County determined there was an immediate need for a Transportation Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan to address the existing concerns and the needs of future users of the transportation network. Some of these issues are addressed within this Plan, while others can be addressed through separate processes, by other agencies, or in future Plan updates.
Orange County Planning Board Public Hearing 12/11/18 -
Summary of the Orange County Planning Board public hearing, including attendance, may be found at https://www.orangecountygov.com/376/Orange-County-Plans-Documents
Other Public Comments –
Three (3) written public comments were received by the Department prior to closing of comment period, January 2, 2019. Two (2) comments were from individuals offering a range of general and specific suggestions. The third set of comments was made on behalf of a set of committees of the Orange County Citizens Foundation. All comments are on file with the Department, and all comments were reviewed and used towards final edits to the Final Draft Plan Update provided to the Legislature.