Monday, October 11, 2010

Saturday Night with the Mayor

Attendance at the event at Eric Galloway's house on Saturday, described as a meet and greet with Mayor Richard Scalera, was by invitation only. Gossips was not invited. What is reported here was gathered from reliable sources who had been invited to attend and did. Yes, the report is hearsay, but this is, after all, The Gossips of Rivertown. Anyone who wants to correct, take issue with, or elaborate on anything said is encouraged to do so by posting a comment.       

On Saturday night, invited guests, described by one observer as "young and well dressed," gathered at Eric Galloway's antebellum mansion on Allen Street to meet the mayor of Hudson. Before the event, Hudson was abuzz with speculation about its purpose, and afterward some people present reported that they were still unclear about what it was meant to accomplish.

With the fifty or so guests seated in chairs arranged in rows, the evening began with Tom Swope introducing the mayor. In his introduction, Swope explained that when he first came to Hudson he was not a fan of the mayor, but he soon changed his attitude. Later on in the evening, Jamison Teale professed his loyal support of the mayor, boasting that, unlike Swope, he had supported the mayor from the beginning. Gail Walker also declared her fondness for the mayor, calling him a "decent guy."

Before he began what was described as a "long presentation" about his accomplishments during his many years in office, Scalera assured the audience that he was not running for mayor again. Rather, he said, he plans to run at the county level. Exactly what county office he would be seeking is unclear. He lives in the Fifth Ward, and in 1999, when he decided to run for Fifth Ward supervisor instead of mayor, he lost. Also, no one in the crowd on Saturday night seemed to be a resident of the Fifth Ward. In fact, word has it that a few people on the guest list were neither residents nor property owners in Hudson.

Having disclosed his political plans for the future, Scalera talked about his accomplishments in office over nearly two decades. (With the exception of two years--2000 and 2001--when Ken Cranna was mayor and two years--2006 and 2007--when Dick Tracy was mayor, Rick Scalera has been the mayor of Hudson since January 1994.) The highlights, according to reports, were the new water treatment plant, paid for with a no-interest loan which the City is now repaying with income from a "rent to own" deal, negotiated by Scalera with A. Colarusso & Sons, for more than 200 acres of land surrounding the City's secondary water supply, and the waste water treatment plant now under construction, financed by federal stimulus money. Both projects provide evidence of his ability to find money to finance major capital projects from sources other than local property taxes. Scalera also cited "cleaning up Warren Street" as one of his accomplishments and mentioned specifically putting lids on the trash barrels to prevent people from dumping household trash in them. 

Speaking of accomplishments he hopes will soon be realized, Scalera told the group that he is committed to getting the LWRP adopted this year and that next week the City--or rather Hudson Development Corporation (HDC)--will close on the old Kaz warehouse at the head of Tanners Lane. Although he seems not to have talked about the plan for this property on Saturday, more than a year ago he explained that his intention was to raze the building to expand the parking lot for the train station and provide additional parking for people attending events at the waterfront.   

Following the mayor's presentation, there was a question-and-answer period moderated by Peggy Polenberg. One audience member asked if the mayor was for or against demolishing Bliss Towers. He said he was definitely for it. At some point in the discussion, presumably in the context of the conversation about Bliss Towers, Scalera said he hoped "people would buy up these buildings and make them beautiful." It wasn't clear what he meant by "these buildings," but it's assumed he was talking about surviving pre-Urban Renewal houses in the Second Ward. 

Another audience member asked how many of the 7,000 people living in Hudson received some kind of social services. Scalera said he didn't know, but someone in the audience offered the information that more than 60 percent of Hudson residents rely on social services.

The oft-cited fact that 50 percent of the properties in Hudson are not on the tax rolls--either tax exempt or receiving some kind of PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes)--was also mentioned. On the topic of the heavy tax burden levied on the few, Scalera allegedly made the observation that the taxpayers of Hudson have to support a large police force (the police force represents half the City budget), but the people who make such a large police force necessary do not own property and do not pay taxes. 

When asked to share his vision for the waterfront, Scalera said he was hoping a restaurant will open on the waterfront very soon, which seems to lend credence to the suspicion that there's a plan afoot to sell the old Dunn warehouse building across from Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, now owned by the City (or maybe by HDC), to some private developer--perhaps to Eric Galloway. The mayor also spoke about attracting to the waterfront some big, fabulous industrial enterprise that would utilize the railroad and the river to ship goods out of Hudson. Might he have Aerocity wind turbines in mind? 


  1. I love it. A mayor that has not had one town meeting with citizens, holds a closed-door meeting with friends in a mansion that enjoys the most egregious property assessment break in the City. Is it any wonder that Tom Swope, head of the Board of Assessment Review, should be there to introduce the Mayor? What is so amazing, to me, is the shamelessness of it. Hudson's own Tammany Hall. ---peter meyer

  2. It's no coincidence that three of the four people speaking up for Scalera above were appointed to positions by the Mayor; and the fourth is intimately connected to another Scalera appointee and Eric Galloway employee.

    For years, Rick has tried (with only limited success) to "pick off" a few members of his opposition by flattering them with appointments and attention. It's telling that he needs a private, unchallenged setting and an audience of people who mostly don't know his political history to launder his reputation.

    —Sam Pratt

  3. Galloway's "antebellum mansion" only became so and was made what it was not when he upped the "ante" by adding columns from another house, another age
    (and another proportion) making it yet another and prominent casualty of the restoration wars he has declared on Hudson--"bella" in his eyes; casus belli in the opinion of others

  4. Galloway, Swope, Henry, and three other men unbeknownst to me
    were having dinner at DaBa on Friday evening. I cocked an ear but was too far away to hear what was cooking. Good report, Carole. I love the cleaning up of Warren Street part. Maybe it's time to invite the Mayor to another HADA meeting, let's think of a suitable venue.

  5. I really doubt if "all of hudson" was abuzz regarding the cocktail party and q&a session with the mayor of hudson. Perhaps just those with their own personal agendas or those that don't approve of either the mayor or Eric Galloway.

    Anyone can easily invite the mayor to their home for cocktails, a meet/greet, a meal, a game of touch football, a walk in the yard or any other reason would seem. The fact that Mr. Galloway did and the level of interest in it is so curious.

    The cocktail event was civil, interesting, educational and informative. It was for people that may have never had the opportunity to meet the mayor or for those that know him to simply catch up with his perspective of a variety of concerns shared by most hudsonites and people living in the neighboring communities. It was not political and there appeared to be no agenda by either the host of the guest of honor. was a simple cocktail gathering with
    a good forum in a lovely home that had no rules, etc.

    Trying to overhear another's conversations at a restaurant?

    Why not introduce yourself and ask "what's up....heard you had a cocktail party"?

  6. If "Fakes&Frauds" is so big on open communication and "introducing yourself,", why does s/he hide behind an alias to take potshots at commenters like Jennifer, who use their real name?

    I'm posting every day this week documents about Rick Scalera's record and politics for those who either have short memories or were not here to witness all the Mayor's antics:

    --Sam Pratt

  7. Mea Culpa....
    My apologies to "Jennifer".
    Never meant to offend....just an observation to all the interest in
    a saturday night gathering for friends of Mr. Galloway's in his private home.

    The account of the evening, in my humble opinion, remains true.

    Keep up the grand work gossips! I so enjoy what you do!