Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The First Review of Tonight's Debate

Gossips is still working on an account of tonight's debate between mayoral incumbent William Hallenbeck and challenger Tiffany Martin Hamilton, but Seth Rogovoy has already published his review: "Mayoral Dabate: Hallenbeck: 'Stop Gentrification--Build Affordable Housing'; Hamilton: Support Business and Build Community." It is recommended reading.


  1. A Republican mayor in favor of "affordable" housing and who is anti-gentrification (i.e., thanks for all of your collective capital infusion, attention to detail, risk-taking, sweat equity and vision.....but just piss off you damn citiots). Who doesn't visit or patronize Warren Street businesses, which make up a huge portion, and most, of his city's commerce. Who claims that an unseen bicycle-patrolling police force is making us safe despite drug deals occurring constantly in broad daylight on our streets and in our alleys. Who asserts that an arcane city code trumps federal law. Who aids and abets the specter that is Galvan, along with master puppeteer Scalera, in holding sway over our city and scores of derelict and unfinished buildings with innumerable code violations. Who can't fix a bridge or separate storm water from sewage. Who allows City Hall to block the physically disabled from access to services. Who could give a fig about historic preservation. Who allows our jewel of a riverfront to rot amid an abandoned building, a sad kayak launch and an old boy private yacht club. Who takes credit for "low" property taxes that aren't low (and are subject to an Albany-imposed cap) in one of the worst school districts in the state. Who lacks discernment, finesse and nuance.

    Wake up everyone. Enough is enough. Vote him out.

    1. Here is a reply submitted by Susan Troy:

      Good Morning Observer,

      "Affordable housing" really seems to be a bee in your bonnet. It seems to ignite more anger than passion. So in the interest of a good, a fair, a productive community conversation, thanks to TGOR, this forum provides an avenue to allow me to understand your perspective.

      So, please, let's talk.

      And I'll gladly reveal my identity, as I always do.

      Thank you.


    2. Whoa. Hold your horses Susan.

      I now learn that one of the candidates declared personal bankruptcy?
      And the other candidate can't speak proper Englsh?

      Hudson has a surfeit of affordable housing. Any form of government-supported housing in Hudson reeks of corruption and obeisance to a failed system that supports the demented dreams of our fading blue collar ruling class, which wantonly profited from such yesteryear schemes, that are now proven failures.

  2. The scary thing is HOW the mayor would separate sanitary from stormwater, which explains why he can't do it.

    The current proposal is straight out of the 1940s. Of course the mayor is all behind something his people spent years developing, but they developed it without public input, and without any notion of mitigating its negative impacts. Instead, they envisioned themselves being awarded the grant automatically.

    What they didn't expect in their immense arrogance is that there are well-meaning people at the State and Federal levels of government who are looking at this proposal and thinking, "this plan is from the 1940s."

    So, no vision, no ideas, and a deep contempt for the general public, which pretty much sums up everything else you said.

  3. Good Morning Observer,

    Well, obviously I disagree that Hudson has an excessive number of government supported housing units.

    I would ask you to provide specific instances of corruption surrounding the development, rent-up, and management of the currently existing government-supporting housing in Hudson.

    Perhaps you know things I am unaware of; if that's the case, not only do I think it would be fair for you to share those specifics right here on TGOR for everyone to read, but I also think it is imperative for people who care about their communities to share what they know. You know, the whole "sunlight is the best disinfectant" theory.

    This conversation also ties into a separate conversation on TGOR regarding some long-time Hudsonians' feelings that they are simply not wanted here anymore.

    So for instance, there is a handful of men who work for cash for some of the local antique dealers. These guys load and unload trucks, run errands, do clean-outs, wash some windows, do some painting. These men cannot afford $600.00 or $700.00 or $800.00 a month rentals. Do their "employers" care where those guys sleep in thirty degree weather? Do their "temporary bosses" care where these guys take shelter in a severe Summer storm, or during a long, deep snow storm accompanied by freezing rain?

    For many, many Hudsonians, who worked all their lives in low wage jobs - so they have already paid into the system, which provides the subsidies for government-supported housing, essentially they paid, to some degree, their rent decades in advance, they acutely feel as though they are not just being kicked to the curb in their hometown, they feel as though they are systematically being displaced.

    Does that matter to the new, out-of-town owner of a multi-family building who gives current, decades-long tenants thirty days to get out? Apparently not.

    There seems to be so much anger, so little understanding in Hudson. It's such a small place geographically. The entire city is so fractured. For many Senior Citizens and for many young adults who are not award-winning writers or critics, who are not almost famous actresses or published poets, who instead make your breakfast for just over minimum wage, or serve as a Nurse's Aid, or work in a bank, or in a retail position, they are not reading TGOR, or going to debates, or writing Letters to the Editor. They're working two part-time jobs, or one full time job, grabbing as many overtime hours as they can.

    So Observer, I look forward to reading whatever proof of corruption you have with regard to the various forms of government-supported housing in Hudson. I'm even using your term, and not re-posting the nuances of "affordable housing". Done that. Hope you read it.

    And, I also look forward to you revealing your identity.


    1. You prove to me first that Hudson needs more government-subsidized housing.

      The candidates' debating affordable housing is just a lame attempt to win votes. Lack of skills and education necessary to enter today's workforce, and what to do about it, is a real issue that merits discussion.

  4. Well, we certainly agree that for people to achieve financial success, they need skills and education.

    In the meantime, they still need safe, sanitary, affordable housing.

    I no longer have access to "official" Waiting Lists, however, here are the contact names /telephone numbers for the people/agencies who maintain those lists:

    Tina Sharpe, Columbia Opportunities. (518) 828-4611

    Jeff First/Susie McNamee, Hudson Housing Authority.
    (518) 822- 9743

    Stephanie Lane, Housing Resources of Columbia County. (518) 822-0707

    Kathy Kane, Crosswinds. (518) 828-1163

    Hudson Terrace Apartments. (518) 828-0600

    Providence Hall. (518) 828-4700

    Schuyler Court. (518) 828-4700

    So I trust that since you believe that "lack of skills and education necessary to enter today's workforce. . . is a real issue" you are a fixture at the Hudson City School District Board of Education meetings, and a volunteer - maybe a participant in Lisa Dolan's literacy project where she teams up members of the community with young readers - so that you can lead that discussion here, at TGOR.

    I look forward to reading that discussion, most especially your specific observations and your specific ideas for improving the school district.

    I am hopeful that the people listed here, Tina Sharpe, Jeff First and/or Susie McNamee, Stephanie Lane and Kathy Kane will share their data here, as well as the managers of the other facilities listed.
    Additionally, perhaps Bill Fisher, who serves as Columbia County's Fair Housing Officer, and may be reached at (518) 822-0707 will share his observations regarding the need for government supported housing in Hudson.

    Finally, if you had carefully read my previous post, I offered no opinion on whether Hudson needs more government-supported housing; I simply responded to your assertion that "Hudson has a surfeit of affordable housing."


    1. You have proven to me by your list, which I am well aware of, that there is certainly a surfeit of bureaucracy!
      A city of around 6000 in a county of 62000. It would make our nation's capital blush with jealousy. More bureaucrats at the Dept. of Agriculture than farmers, etc.

  5. PART 1 - In reply to “Observer” - re: Susan Troy First Review of Tonight’s Debate. Wednesday October 15, 2015

    The word of the day seems to be “surfeit”. Well, that’s impressive. To blow off an informative dialogue which offered the names and numbers of the professionals who could actually offer the statistics and status of low income housing in Hudson. And do this with a comment only serving to detract from the real issue facing the City as far as low income families by referring to a “surfeit” of bureaucracy that would make Washington “blush with jealousy” is the perfect response from an individual with no experience in dealing with real bureaucracy and intent on hiding his head in the sand.
    I understand it is much easier to jump to conclusions and make judgement through speculation, ignorance, or simple denial, rather than have the cojones to actually contact someone to get accurate information, which would most certainly poke a hole in the theory that there is a ”surfeit” of low income housing in the City. However, I am going to give you the figures for each agency in town, with their cooperation, the status of waiting lists, available units etc. Like it or not. Please try to absorb the data presented to you, before making any more distracting or misinformed comments.
    Waiting List Information
    (As of September 1, 2015)
    Providence Hall General Waiting List - 10
    Schuyler Court - 1 BR -19
    2 BR – 18
    3 BR – 12
    Bliss Towers / Columbia Apartments
    1 BR – 47
    2 BR – 35
    3 BR – 15
    4 BR – 4
    City of Hudson Section 8 Program – Since April of 2014 we have issued 35 Section 8 vouchers of which only 7 were used as there are no units available in the City or no landlords willing to participate in the program. The Section 8 program waiting list is out over 3 years.
    Crosswinds – 1 BR – 47
    2 BR – 35
    3 BR – 26
    Housing Resources currently has 119, 1-2 bedroom units in the City, all of which are either leased up or in the process of being leased up which equates to no vacancies.
    Columbia Opportunities Section 8 Program sent out 20 letters this year to families offering assistance, and a total of 3 families leased up due to the shortage of low income housing for families in and around the City. This is mainly due to traditional 3 and 4 unit buildings being transformed into single and duplex types of structures.

    Executive Director
    City of Hudson Housing Authority

  6. PART 2

    This tells me by accurate facts and figures that there are exactly 268 low income families, or rather applicants, waiting assistance in the City of Hudson with a population of nearly 6000 (using your figure). This represents nearly 5% of the population, on a low income housing waiting list. (Not taking into consideration of course, that the same families may also appear on all or some of the other agencies lists, or the number of families put up in hotels or motels throughout the County by DSS.)
    Now, according to Webster’s Thesaurus, the synonyms for surfeit are as follows; excess, surplus, glut, flood, oversupply, overabundance, etc. I happen to know that there are no vacant units with the 4 major providers of low income housing in the City of Hudson and, I know that your statement was not based on fact, but merely wishful thinking.
    So, the factual information would support, that in fact, there is a surfeit of low income families in need of safe, secure housing in this City. I have passed this information to both Mayoral candidates as an FYI to let them know there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
    Also, just to let you know about the surfeit of bureaucracy in the City’s Low income housing industry. The Hudson Housing Authority/Bliss Towers/Columbia Apartments/City of Hudson Section 8 Program, is under the auspices of the Department of Housing & Urban Development as Federal Project No NY061-1. We manage 132 units of conventional Public Housing, as well as approximately 80 Section 8 vouchers with 2 Office Staff members.
    Providence Hall and Schuyler Court consist of 150 units is managed by an office staff of 2 and is privately owned as is Hudson Terrace which manages 168 units with 3 office staff. Crosswinds manages 70 units with 1 office staff person and is also operated by a private developer.
    Columbia Opportunities manages 236 Section 8 Vouchers funded by the State of NY. With minimum office staff.
    All housing providers in town have no legal or formal ties to each other but share information to keep up to date on industry developments and regulations as well as tenant issues.
    Do I wish there were no need for low income housing? Absolutely. We all do. Unfortunately, it is a necessary evil in this economic environment. The renaissance in the City unfortunately has had an unpleasant trade off. Gentrification, unemployment, and increased poverty. The days of low income units standing unleased, derelict and vacant are over. And until something has been done to bring gainful employment to a relatively unskilled labor force, or some training is provided to these families, I am afraid it will be here for a while. Unless of course, low income families are forced jump into the river and swim to Amsterdam.
    In the future before any comments are made regarding low income housing, I would suggest that you refer to Ms. Troy’s list and contact one of the professionals who deal with it every day rather than forming any conclusions about what the current needs are.
    Disclaimer - The opinions expressed in this article are only those of the Executive Director of the City of Hudson Housing Authority. All facts and statistics presented in this document are verifiable and accurate thanks to the cooperation of the management of Providence Hall/Schuyler Court, Hudson Terrace Apartments, Columbia Opportunities, Crosswinds Development, and the Hudson Housing Authority.
    -Jeffrey K. First PHM, Executive Director
    City of Hudson Housing Authority