Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Last Night at City Hall

The informal Common Council meeting is when resolutions are introduced, giving the aldermen a week and a day to consider what's being proposed before voting on the resolutions at the regular meeting. At Monday night's informal Common Council meeting, the most exciting resolution introduced was First Ward Alderman Sarah Sterling's resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into negotiations with Holcim to buy the multinational corporation's holdings in Hudson: South Bay and the "deep water" dock. 

When Sterling first introduced this resolution, back in January, the mayor asked Cheryl Roberts to call Holcim and find out if they wanted to sell. Holcim said no, and that was the end of it. This time Sterling wants to "get serious and put this on the record." Council President Don Moore referred the resolution to the Legal Committee, but Fifth Ward Alderman Robert "Doc" Donahue called it "ludicrous" and "a waste of time."    

Later in the meeting, when Moore called for new business, John Friedman, a Democratic candidate for Third Ward alderman, expressed his support for Moore's op-ed piece and went on to say, "This city is very close to going one way or the other." He said that he supported the purchase of the Holcim property and told the Council that to fail to pursue it would be "abdicating your responsibility to the people who have invested here." This prompted Donahue to ask, "Do you get your material from Sam Pratt?"  

Hudson Democratic Committee chair Victor Mendolia told Donahue, from the audience, that he was out of order, and Moore told Mendolia that he was out of order, too.

Mayor Scalera then rose to defend Holcim, denying that they wanted their Hudson property reassessed based on the income generated and stating that they only wanted the current assessment of $4.5 million to revert back to the previous assessment of $1.5 million. He took Moore to task for claiming that Holcim wanted its Hudson property taxes to be reduced to zero.

At one point, Moore spoke of "getting the LWRP back," and Gossips asked where they were getting it back from. Moore explained that it was "in the hands of our attorney and the planners" for proofreading and editing--presumably to edit out all the inconsistencies that were pointed out at the meeting at Basilica Hudson. (An aside: Proofreaders and copy editors get about $35 an hour. What do you suppose the City is paying for this service?)    

After Linda Mussmann asked if it was appropriate for Moore to comment publicly about a lawsuit the details of which he was privy to, and Moore explained his action by saying it was a "defense of the public," Larissa Thomas, a.k.a. Larissa Parks, a Democratic candidate for First Ward alderman, asked the Council "not to give up [on acquiring Holcim's property in Hudson] no matter how long it takes." She went on to say that "to do so would be an injustice to this city that I love so much and to the people you are serving." Her statement drew applause from Mendolia, but after the meeting, Scalera was reported to have pulled her aside and told her, in effect, that she had a lot to learn.


  1. Carole,

    Thanks for this report.

    As far as my comments regarding Alderman Donahue, I stand by my comment that he was "Out of order" and I take issue with Council President Moore dismissing me. As a member of the public (and not an elected official) I have every right to point out that an elected official is "out of order" and will continue to do so whenever an elected official is.

    Victor Mendolia

  2. Maybe it's time for Scalera to pull us all aside, take off the mask, and tell us why it is so important for him to sell this town off to this hostile international corporation.

    Hudsons future has never been so much in the balance as shown in the latest events challenging ethics and integrity.

  3. Right on Vincent! If there was any doubt on whose side our current mayor is on, it was dispelled last night: he works for Holcim, not us, not the City, not its citizens, not its tax base. No. He works for Holcim. Doc Donohue seems to be applying for a job there as well -- in fact, Doc seems to be available for any party willing to drag this City back into what it was prior to its current renaissance, a corporatist, pollution-hungry, lowest-common-denominator collection of geographic points, willing to sell out its citizens' collective health and happiness for chump change.

    The most important thing any Hudsonian can do for him or herself, his or her business, for this City, is to vote this November for Nick Haddad for mayor: if the old guard succeed in electing Hallenbeck (and I apologize if I misspelled his name) then we're in for at least another 2 years of gridlock, declining property values, no support for our local businesses and a City Hall that is a rubber-stamp for outside interests.

  4. Right on John ! and Vincent ! vote FOR Hudson and Nick Haddad

  5. Sorry I can't attend these meetings, but thanks for the report Carole.
    Scalera's mask is surely falling off and am glad to hear new voices which are beginning to realize it. Spread the word. Go Nick Haddad.

  6. The disheartening and discouraging lack of progress with the LWRP is further evidence of corrupt governance and overarching corporate interests. Hudson deserves a break in the form of more thoughtful and effective leaders.