To the editor:

As we return to in-person meetings, a Register-Star article, Claverack Changes Meeting Streaming, highlighted whether to continue streaming access. Claverack will stream regular town and planning board meetings but not other meetings.

Accessibility and transparency are keystones of democracy, which works if citizens are informed and engaged. I watched Claverack town meetings on Zoom during the pandemic, wanted to be involved, and decided to run for the town board.

Growing up, my parents became involved in local politics when the town of Ghent proposed a zoning regulation they felt protected property values of the well-off. Through their work the regulation changed. Going door to door to discuss the issue, my dad, an auto repair shop owner, and my mom, a homemaker, affected change. This experience impacted my decision to teach in a high poverty school and to stand up for causes I believe in.

Claverack should use every opportunity to engage its residents. Elderly residents may not feel comfortable driving at night to a meeting and streaming is a solution.

Claverack should also have opportunities for residents. I am heartened by the formation of the Claverack Climate Smart Committee, which has proven valuable in developing a viable plan for hydropower in our new town hall construction. We need other committees; on elder and youth needs, agriculture and more.

All this would benefit our town. I say, the more the merrier, because that’s what democracy is. Let the Claverack Town Board be as open, welcoming, and accessible as possible.

Brenda Shufelt


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