Thursday, October 15, 2015

What's in a Word . . . or Phrase?

Mayor William Hallenbeck often seems to have a less than perfect command of the English language. It's not altogether clear if he understands the meaning of the word gentrification, because it's hard to see how he can be "not in favor of gentrification" and think it's "not good for a community," while at the same time taking credit for "putting Hudson on the map" as a destination. Last night, during the debate, he spoke, for the second time, about Hudson doing its "due diligence" when it comes to affordable housing, said the youth of Hudson are "undoubtably" our future, and described the enterprise in Hudson as going from an "industrial revolution" to small businesses. Most of us just let his curious form of malapropism pass, mentally translating "due diligence" to "moral obligation," or something like that, "undoubtably" to "undoubtedly," and "industrial revolution" to "industry-based economy." Seth Rogovoy, however, takes issue with the mayor's use last night of the term figurehead in reference to HPD Chief Ed Moore and Commissioner Gary Graziano: "Mayor Calls Hudson Police Chief a Mere 'Figurehead.'"


  1. Hudson was on the map 20 years ago as a destination and no one in any city administration, and certainly no Hudson mayor, had any thing to do with it or lifted a finger ti make it happen. Three guesses who put Hudson on the map. Answer: it starts with small and ends with business.

  2. This is an interesting conversation, one that I would like to interject my comments into. The Mayor’s understanding of gentrification may have been misplaced, but his concern for the cause and effect was spot on and rightfully so. It’s true, the redevelopment of Hudson is trending which is driving property value and rents up, as a result, the affordability in Hudson is becoming increasingly more and more difficult. Is this a bad thing? No, if we do something to address the “effect” of displaced, lesser income residents of Hudson, an action I haven’t seen take place as of yet.

    In regards to Hudson being on the map, Hudson has been on the map long before 20 years ago. Hudson has been on the map for decades, centuries in fact. The history of Hudson is well documented and shows Hudson was frequented by people of wealth and high standing since the 1700’s to today. With each century, each decade there seems to be a change in industry and patronage, today is no different. Hudson went through at least two major changes in my lifetime here, going from the industrial boom, where there was a mom and pop business and bar on every corner, to today where small business has replaced the industry of old. On the map for 20+ years, NOPE, more like 200+ years, when Hudson just missed being the Capital of New York State, by one vote. I would argue that Hudson’s government has had plenty to do with its transformation over the years.

    1. The phrase "lesser income residents" is so broad - at least for this use - that it begins to lose utility.

      With Social Services representing one of the largest regular transfers of money in the county, if not the largest, and housing assured to many non-homeowners, what Hudson is in immediate danger of losing are the home-owning middle earners, those who can no longer afford their local taxes.

      The make-up of the city is definitely changing, but it makes no sense to discuss any of this without first identifying what's actually at risk.

    2. Mr Hughes,, You are right of course about 200 years, more in fact. Cf Byrne Fone, Historic Hudson: An Architectural Portrait. But as one who was in Hudson from 1980 until 2008, and was one of the small business, I can assure you that the attitude of Hudson City those days was decidedly hostile to (or simply uninterested in) the new small businesses-- at that time , in the 80s, almost all antiques shops.

    3. Mr. Fone, to your point, we agree, there was a lack of interest, even as late as the 2000's. I can include myself in that group, there was a lack of interest, caused by a lack of understand, which caused fear. I now realize it was a mistake, we all have made a few. It should be noted, some of the fears are still there, but many of us now realize the importance of the small business even if we don't understand the concept. Minds are changing, maybe not fast enough for some, but those in the ol' boys club are changing, let's not make the same mistake twice and push them away before a fruitful relationship can be had.

  3. No problem, if you wanted word detail, I could have said AMI, (area median income). Some reports put Hudson’s median income at $40,000+, some put it as high as $52,000, I looked at a report that broke it down by area and below 5th St. showed an average of a large portion of the population as low as $18,000 to $24,000, which would qualify as my general term used, “lesser income residents”. Getting the data that shows the breakdown of Hudson’s median income based on area, population, ethnic makeup etc. isn’t hard. It’s not like this discussion hasn’t been broached many of Hudson’s elected officials don’t want to have the conversation, I’m not one of them. I’m not new to this, I’m true to this.

    Talk about losing utility, invoking social services as though they are the total safety net for the population of “lesser means” is a stretch. For those in jeopardy of losing their residence for lack of ability to pay, social service will provide them with $511 a month or worse yet put them in a hotel on the outskirts of the County where they are isolated and in many cases lack the ability to prepare food. Not to mention, “we”, taxpayers pay $70 a day to provide such a “WONDERFUL” safety net. Many may have a problem with social services in Hudson, Columbia County or the Nation, the issue is a national issue, it can’t be addressed on the local level, but we can find better ways to apply services

    Losing Hudson’s home owning-middle earners would be a tragedy, this too would be classified as gentrification. I’m not unaware of this that is why I just posted a six point plan on my “facebook” page outlining some of the steps I would take to save the low income and middle class in Hudson, while growing its tax base. My facebook page is, William Hughes Jr., take a look.

    The need has been identified, action is needed at this point

    1. Mr. Hughes, I appreciate the attention you gave my comment.

      I was totally unprepared to read your comment on the loss of home-owning middle earners, that "this too would be classified as gentrification."

      This too?!

      If even lower income people are being priced out of facilities like Crosswinds, or the Hudson Terrace Apartments - and I wouldn't know otherwise - then I'd agree that would be gentrification "too." As I say, I didn't know that to be the case.

      Whatever the approach, whatever the bias, we agree that the situation merits more study towards better planning.

    2. “unheimlich”, Absolutely, I think the more this issue is discussed, the better understanding others have for why the issue is being discussed.

      Low-income housing, Affordable housing and Workforce affordable housing, have distinct difference, i.e. funding streams and who qualify. Hudson Terrace and Crosswinds aren’t the same, they don’t serve the same population for the most part, there’s some overlap, but little.

      I have to mention, the existence of both projects were in danger of not happening or being removed. The Hudson terrace and its 164 units were in serious jeopardy of not having its pilot renew. Although, it was pretty clear, by the occupancy rate and waiting list, Hudson terrace is/was needed, members of the Hudson Council at the time of renewing the pilot didn’t think so. When it was time for the Council to vote on the pilot agreement, it did not receive a unanimous vote from the City Council, but did receive a pilot and is now on year 4 or 5 of a 30 year agreement. In crosswinds case, the developer of that project was seeking a pilot to keep rent rates similar to those at Hudson terrace. This time, when a vote was taken, the resolution was defeated and the project was denied a pilot. The current crosswinds project was built with NYS tax credits which changed the application and income entry level of the project.

      Although the two above project exist, “I don’t agree”, we need more studies, there have been plenty of studies done. Columbia County did a study on homeless needs, Mental Health Associates did a study of housing needs for those with certain conditions, Columbia Opportunities did a housing study and the big one, which I was a part of is, PARC Foundation did a housing study, architectural plans and a scaled model of new housing to be developed throughout the 2nd and 4th wards in the City of Hudson. This housing was to be, market rate, low income and affordable housing. The project also included property for ownership as well as property for rent. The study was based on projected growth and housing needs in Hudson, ranging from low income to market rate. The study also looked at parking needs, traffic flow and carbon footprint.

      I don’t think things have changed since all of these studies were done a few years ago, I think the need has become greater, so, no, I don’t believe we need more studies. We should dust the old studies and plans off, along with new ideas and get started!!!

  4. At moments while reading this thread i get spasms of rewriting history in the gray synapses of reality.