To the Editor:
“Excuse me, can we please refrain from silliness, Mr. Lester,” commanded Mayor Kuchinski, in response to spontaneous clapping from the public.
If you did not attend or watch on cable the Hopewell Township Committee meeting on November 13, 2018, you should watch the end of the video of the meeting on the township website. Why? Because you are not going to believe Mayor Kevin Kuchinski’s latest rule regarding members of the public, who attend or speak at township committee meetings, unless you see and hear it for yourself.
Previously, Mayor Kuchinski imposed a three minute per speaker arbitrarily-enforced time-limit rule. He invented a no reserving a portion of your three minutes to speak for a second time in the same speaking session rule. He decreed that there will be no answers to individual speakers until all speakers have asked their questions rule. Now, he whimsically created a no clapping rule.
After listening to the last speaker at the November 13 township committee meeting, several members of the audience began to clap, no doubt, to express approval of the speaker’s point. I confess that I joined in and clapped.
Now, you are probably thinking what any third grade teacher would say: Stop complaining, you are the one that got caught. In my own defense, your honor, it just never occurred to me, after attending township committee meetings for many years, including presiding over one year’s worth of township committee meetings as mayor, that brief approval of a speaker’s point by clapping should be prohibited conduct. I admit that I never thought that Mayor Kuchinski would decree a no clapping rule to compliment all of his other rules.
I am just glad that the uniformed police officer that Mayor Kuchinski sometimes sits in the back of the municipal auditorium, among the handful of residents that attend these meetings, was not present on the night that I clapped.
Speaking of the uniformed services of police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians, whom we often honor as heroes in the municipal auditorium, I am wondering who will tell their admirers the bad news: no clapping says Mayor Kuchinski.