Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Notable Moment at the Housing Forum

Dan Udell's video of Thursday's affordable housing forum goes on for an hour and twenty-seven minutes, as did the forum itself. If you don't have time to watch it all, there's one bit you might want to see. A little more than an hour in, at 1:07:17, Paolo Vidali, the CTO and founder of the digital marketing agency Hidden Gears, explains that his business is in Hudson, but he lives in Greene County because the cost of real estate in Hudson is too high. He then asks if there is anyone who represents Galvan present at the meeting.

When Rick Scalera, who is seated right behind him, indicates that he does, Vidali observes that there is "a ton of vacant property" that belongs to Galvan and asks if there is any initiative to develop that property into "something that has an affordable component." 

Scalera responds by saying that Galvan is now working on four sites: 215 Union Street, 260 Warren Street, 11 Warren Street (a portion of which is being readied for the Salvation Army), and a fourth site he can't remember. He says he thinks Galvan "would be more than happy" to go into the affordable housing market "if the City shows a little love." He then alleges that "at least four projects" proposed by Galvan had been turned down by the Common Council, but he only makes specific reference to two: one proposed for Fifth and Warren streets, the other for Fourth and Columbia streets. 

The project for Fifth and Warren was the Starboard project proposed in 2010 by Eric Galloway's Lantern Organization. This would have created thirty-three units of permanent supportive housing, at the corner of Warren and Fifth streets, for men with mental disabilities and substance abuse problems.

That project was abandoned after a public meeting at which the overwhelming sentiment expressed by the people who filled City Hall was that the project was a remarkably inappropriate idea.

The project proposed for Fourth and Columbia streets was Civic Hudson, the 2012 plan to construct a police and court building for Hudson with supportive housing on the upper two floors. The City would, at its own expense, build out the first and second floors for the police department and city court. On the two upper floors, there would be thirty-five studio apartments for formerly homeless adults.

That project was abandoned because the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP) would not approve the financing for the project in the face of objections from the Hudson Police Department, both the chief and the rank and file, who thought it inappropriate to combine police and court facilities in the same building with residential units.

After making reference to these projects, Scalera segues into questioning the Common Council's commitment to affordable housing, noting that only two aldermen were present at the forum.


  1. Let's have Galvan show a little love for the rest of us for starters. Scores of abandoned and derelict buildings all over the city under Galvan's ownership.

    Placing a proposed SRO smack in the middle of our commercial district was offensive. The organization's behavior has been beyond deplorable on so many levels.

    Not good peeps. That's been observed and documented over and over.

    Scalera is a paid employee of Galvan. Anyone giving him airtime when he speaks on behalf of Galvan is a downright fool.

    Galvan has recently created a seemingly innocuous and off-the-radar LLC that has bought up a bunch of properties in the First Ward. Most are abandoned, neglected or used as substandard housing for his workers, who I am fairly sure might be in ICE's cross-hairs.

    This is an outrage.

  2. At 6:41 a.m. this morning, Rick Scalera emailed me the following "clarification." (At least it wasn't a tweet at 3 a.m.)

    "Since you didn't have the time to stay for the forum to end let me clarify something. I was not there in an official capacity for Galvan but rather to let the people attending know they are very much committed to providing affordable housing in and around Hudson. The rescuing of Housing Resources is a prime example. Developers of this type of Housing are not readily available and should they be, a community needs to be prepared to partner up with them. I was pleased to hear that there may be a new willingness to do such. Otherwise it will be ten more years of the same conversation an in the interim, families will be forced to go elsewhere. One has to wonder if that isn't the plan for some in the first place."

    He's right. I didn't stay to the end of the forum. I left after an hour to go to City Hall for the Planning Board. I did, however, watch Dan Udell's video to the end before writing this post, and I watched again this morning to see if I missed the "new willingness" he speaks of. All I heard was Bill Hughes, who has always seemed in the thrall of Galloway, saying he had "reached out" to him.

    1. Q: Was Mr. Paolo Vidali also attending the meeting in an unofficial capacity?

      My apologies for the insinuation, but it just seemed like a set-up. I really hope I learn that I'm wrong.

  3. President Trump has proposed wasting billions of our tax dollars on a wall with Mexico, hiring more ICE agents, and nuclear missiles. Why the hell doesn't he propose giving us some money to build more public housing in Hudson for our citizens?