The Union re-poll due to take place at the end of 2nd week following presidential candidate Krishna Omkar’s disqualification by an election tribunal has been plunged into turmoil after the Returning Officer received no valid nominations. The unprecedented situation has forced Alex Priest, the current Returning Officer, to issue an interpretation and ruling on how the Union will now proceed, as there are no rules specifically covering this outcome. In what appears to be an attempt to avoid suggestions of undemocratic handling of the elections, the Returning Officer’s ruling has gone contrary to what had been expected by those close to the Union and what had been reported in the press. The original tribunal hearing disqualified Krishna Omkar from last term’s overturned Union presidential election, and forbade him from running in any subsequent Union elections. The tribunal board directed that a re-poll for the position of President should be held, and laid down criteria for eligibility, namely that those eligible to run for President at the original election, except Krishna Omkar, would be eligible to run in the re-poll. Charlotte Fischer and Claire Hennessey, who was Secretary in Michaelmas, were both eligible to be nominated under the criteria. However, Fischer resigned from Standing Committee on Monday of 1st week, citing sexual harassment from committee members and “personal attacks”. As Cherwell24 has now learned, Hennessey has not stepped forward to run, leaving no nominations for election.In the absence of nominations, it was expected that current Librarian Ed Waldegrave would assume the presidency for Trinity Term, with the subsequent elevation of officers below him. However, the Returning Officer has instead directed that the re-poll be deemed to have not occurred, and so another poll will be held, with nominations closing Friday of 3rd week. To ensure a contested election, the eligibility criteria have been relaxed so that more candidates are able to be nominated. Cherwell24 is aware of at least six potentially eligible candidates. In the interpretation and ruling, the Returning Officer notes that, “The democratic election of Officers – especially that for the Office of President – is a fundamental principle which underpins all for which this Society stands.” He goes on to state that he believes that the ruling is in the “best interests of [the] Society and its members.” Sources close to the Union have told Cherwell24 that elements within the Union had “exerted extreme pressure” on the Returning Officer to avoid holding another poll and instead appoint Ed Waldegrave as President for Trinity Term. However, when contacted, the Returning Officer was unable to comment. It is, however, understood that the original tribunal and appellate board chairmen, as well as several other senior figures within the Union, were in favour of a democratic solution. Nominations for the poll open Friday of 2nd week and close 3pm Friday of 3rd week. Presidential elections for Michaelmas term are still scheduled to take place in 7th week this term.
Former Congressman and Ambassador Bill Hughes, standing in center, is joined by his family and members of City Council during a 2018 ceremony honoring his late wife, Nancy. By Donald WittkowskiThroughout his long and distinguished career in politics and public service, there was one constant in the life of former Congressman and Ambassador Bill Hughes – Nancy, his wife of 61 years, was always there by his side, Hughes recalled.Nancy Hughes, who died in January at 82 years old, was fondly remembered Thursday night for her devotion to her husband, her children and her grandchildren and her dedication to her beloved Ocean City, her home for more than 55 years.“Nancy loved Ocean City. I don’t have to tell you that,” Bill Hughes said during a ceremony in her memory at Thursday’s City Council meeting.Councilman Keith Hartzell, who read from a resolution honoring Nancy Hughes, told Hughes that he believed his “greatest accomplishment” was his marriage to such a remarkable woman.“Thank you for the wonderful gift of your wife,” Hartzell said.Bill Hughes, 85, was surrounded by members of his family, including his son, Bill Jr., and daughters Lynne Hughes, Barbara Hughes Sullivan and Tama Hughes, in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The Council members joined the family for the ceremonyThe Council resolution honored Nancy Hughes for dedicating her life “to the service of her family, friends, church, country and community.”It noted that she was the cornerstone of her husband’s political career as a South Jersey congressman from 1975 to 1995 and as ambassador to Panama from 1995 to 1998 under former President Bill Clinton. Her duties included serving as her husband’s political confidant and running his campaign offices.“She was at my side the entire time we were together,” Hughes said.From left, Bill Hughes sits in the Council Chambers with his daughters Barbara Hughes Sullivan and Lynne Hughes and son-in-law Doug Walker.Hughes described stressful days in Washington, D.C., politics that Nancy would help him overcome. He said both of them found comfort in returning home to Ocean City.“That kept us going, knowing we would just be back in Ocean City,” he said.“It’s a great town,” Hughes added. “This city has been special to us.”They are honored together by having their names on the Bill and Nancy Hughes Performing Arts Center at Ocean City High School. The resolution said Nancy Hughes was dedicated to the school district and its students, including her involvement in the campaign to build a new high school.Mayor Jay Gillian is quoted in the resolution as saying that he considers Bill and Nancy Hughes as among the greatest influences in his campaign for “Unity in the Community.”“That’s not only how he governed as a former congressman, but how they both lived their lives,” Gillian said. “They taught me that I could be the best mayor by working with everybody.”Surrounded by her family, Nancy Hughes died on Jan. 4 at home while in hospice care, after an eight-year battle with a neurological disease similar to ALS.Former Ocean City Environmental Commission member Donna Moore urges Council to stop the use of what she says is a cancer-causing weed killer on public grounds.In other business Thursday, Council heard warnings from a former member of the Ocean City Environmental Commission about the potential health risks of a weed-killing chemical used by one of the city’s landscaping contractors for public grounds.Donna Moore told Council that the chemical dithiopyr, which is commercially used to control crabgrass, acts both as a pesticide and herbicide. She said it is a known cancer-causing agent and potential groundwater contaminant. She also explained that it is toxic to fish, mollusks and plankton as well as insects such as honey bees.Moore urged Council to have the city’s contractors begin using a more environmentally friendly chemical to control weeds on public grounds. Council told her that the city plans to study other possible chemicals as an alternative to dithiopyr, but no decisions have been made.“Your dedication to your cause is certainly to be commended,” Councilman Bob Barr said to Moore.Councilman Michael DeVlieger said he supports the idea of using an eco-friendly alternative, but added that it must have a proven track record and cost about the same as dithiopyr.“I thank you for your efforts. You’re on a virtuous mission,” DeVlieger told Moore.In response, Moore thanked the Council members for their “receptive ear.”“I’m speaking for a voiceless entity, which is the environment where we live,” she said.Former Councilman John Flood, a candidate in the May 8 mayoral election, questions the city’s spending on entertainers for the Night In Venice summer weekend celebration.Also Thursday, John Flood, a former councilman who is challenging Gillian in the city’s May 8 mayoral election, questioned why the city is spending a total of $116,000 to hire four entertainers during the annual Night In Venice boat parade weekend over the summer.In response, the Council members explained that the entertainers are part of efforts to draw more visitors to town, boost business for local merchants and capitalize on the publicity that bigger-name performers will generate for the city through social media.“It’s money well spent. It’s well thought out,” Hartzell said.Hartzell and other Council members also pointed out that the city spends only a tiny amount for tourism-related entertainment compared to the multimillion-dollar tourism budgets of other seashore towns that compete with Ocean City.
Last weekend was the 10th annual World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), and this year’s theme highlights the positive contributions that families make for their loved ones and others in the Down syndrome community. This beautiful and thought-provoking video is called “Being Different, It’s Normal.” Created by the Jerome Lejeune Foundation USA
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