The Register-Star reported on the discussion of the LWRP and the truck route that took place at last night's informal Common Council meeting: "Council, supervisors clash on LWRP passage." An audiorecording of the entire meeting can be accessed at the WGXC website, and in the fullness of time Dan Udell's videorecording of the meeting will be shown on Mid-Hudson Cablevision's public access channel. In contrast to these more comprehensive accounts, Gossips is going to focus on last night's display of the wit and wisdom of Fifth Ward Alderman Robert Donahue, commonly known as "Doc."
The first topic Donahue chose to discourse on last night was the Historic Preservation Commission. Predictably he defended the right of the church board to put vinyl siding on Emanuel Lutheran Church--indeed, the right of all people to do whatever they want with their own property. Also predictably, he called for the Historic Preservation Commission to be disbanded. Alluding to Third Ward Alderman Chris Wagoner's comment quoted in the Register-Star that vinyl-siding a historic church wouldn't happen in Nantucket, Donahue challenged: "If you're so enamored of Nantucket, why don't you move there?"
In his response to Donahue, Wagoner stressed that Hudson's historic architecture is its greatest asset. It is what brings people to Hudson and will do so increasingly in the future. Wagoner argued that for this reason the city's historic architecture needs to be valued and protected--for the common good. He then suggested to Donahue, "If you want to move, I don't think anyone would care."
When the discussion of the LWRP and the truck route turned inevitably to jobs, Donahue offered his own unique brand of revisionist history. He chided his fellow aldermen--most of whom were not in office in 2005 when St. Lawrence Cement withdrew its proposal to build the world's largest cement plant in Greenport--for driving St. Lawrence away. "They were voted away," said Donahue, "because this council voted against the host agreement." When the Common Council voted to reject the host agreement, it was a significant victory but only a symbolic victory. Two days before SLC had been denied critical permits by the State of New York, and earlier on the day of the Common Council meeting in question, SLC had announced their intention to abandon the proposed "Greenport Project." In Donahue's mind, however, the Common Council of 2005 singlehandedly drove away St. Lawrence Cement and the prosperity that having the world's largest cement plant on its border would have brought to Hudson.
Toward the end of the meeting, Victor Mendolia talked about the need to minimize and contain industry on the waterfront as much as possible. He also shared his conviction that "if we had a first-class hotel on the waterfront, it would change everything."
To this Donahue responded, "That rock ain't goin' away. It's gonna stay there and hopefully get bigger."
Thus spake Doc Donahue.