Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Of Interest

There are some articles in today's Register-Star that merit attention.
  • Tom Casey reports on the discussion of the Furgary Boat Club that took place at Monday night's informal Common Council meeting--the last meeting of the Council before the July 16 deadline for eviction: "Mayor seeks input on Furgary lease." Mayor William Hallenbeck defended the City's position that the shacks must come down "for liability reasons" but also reportedly "asked the public to offer suggestions of what the city could do legally [to] lease the land to the Furgarians."
  • Nathan Mayberg reports on the reaction of Hudson officials to the plans being discussed by the Columbia County Department of Social Services and the Galvan Foundation (or is it the Lantern Organization?) and the Mental Health Association of Columbia and Greene Counties: "City officials: Out of loop on homeless shelter." The article reports that "representatives of Galvan, including Supervisor Rick Scalera, D-Hudson5, met with Hudson officials . . . to provide more information on the project." According to the article, Scalera is planning to "recuse himself as a supervisor from matters involving the homeless shelter," because, as he says, "That would be a clear conflict of interest." Since the perennial mayor of Hudson is obviously using his influence to promote the project with city officials, including his fellow supervisors, one wonders at what point in the process the recusal will begin.
  • Tom Casey reports which not-for-profits in Hudson benefited from the Galvan Initiatives Foundation's largesse in its first round of grant awards. The biggest grant--$40,000--went to Paula Forman's after-school program for girls, Perfect Ten.


  1. One refrain which went unchallenged at last night's CC meeting was that the city's hands are tied. That refrain (and the misleading "public/private" dichotomy) were decided upon beforehand.

    Everyone should take an appreciative step back after reading Tom Casey's piece in the Register Star today, even if Furgary is not your cup of tea.

    The Register Star's account of West Meadow Beach on Long Island presents a similar case to Furgary, and in the most understated way. Read it carefully though and understand that it is a gentlemanly challenge to those claims that the city's hands are automatically tied. This is the kind of reportage which does the paper proud.

    The Long Island case is not alone. There is also "Cedar Grove Beach Club" on Staten Island, a city borough.

    Both cases concerned seasonal cabins on disputed land, and both were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    At "Cedar Grove Beach Club", Robert Moses originally directed their taking by eminent domain for a parkway that never happened. Afterwards, the bungalows were leased back to their former owners by the borough. However, the city reserved the right to retake the land for public use which it did decades later. The cabins were leased to club members until only a few years ago.

    There are certainly precedents for such leasing arrangements, but despite the language of their own LWRP which specifies the priority of onshore necessities for traditional harbor uses ("e.g. fishing"), the Common Council seemed satisfied after learning from their lawyer-cum-political candidate that the "Spirit of Hudson" enjoys a lease because their facility is not "on-shore."

    Argh!! Does anyone even read the nonsense that becomes law in Hudson?!! You don't and they don't, even though we are paying for it.

    And of course there would be no official reference to previous lease negotiations with Furgary during last night's meeting. A mention of the lease that was under consideration by the Allen administration in the early 1990s would have ruined the whole "hands are tied" narrative. Boy-o-boy, it's no wonder they're in such a hurry.

    You know it's odd to consider that in 1992 Hudson city attorney Carl Whitbeck was negotiating a lease with the Furgarians for land that the city later claimed it didn't own (and later went to court to prove it didn't own!).

    But of course it is Furgary and not the city who is suspect for doubting the character of its negotiating partners.

    A variation of the same narrative was delivered by the council President last night when he pointed out that Furgarians took no interest in the LWRP. And this coming from the very man who repeatedly and very publicly frustrated the public's attempt to participate in that process; the man for whom all things would become "transparent" under his watch.

    Getting tired of being managed folks? I have a message for you: sit down and shut up.

  2. I have previously brought the West Meadow Beach situation to the Mayor's attention. I used to use that beach as a kid and continue to visit it whenever I visit my mother who lives nearby.

    The shacks should be repurposed as much as possible.

  3. Let's be careful not to conflate a potential lease with the after-the-fact issue of "repurposed" cabins.

    The Register Star correctly presented the West Meadow Beach arrangement, whereby "a deal had been made with the help of Assemblyman Steve Englebright that allowed for an eight-year extension of their lease."

    At Staten Island's "Cedar Grove Beach Club," an indefinite lease was enjoyed until such time as the city had plans for the property. The arrangement lasted for decades.

    Our message to city attorney Cheryl Roberts is that liability concerns were not an insurmountable obstacle on Staten Island or on Long Island.

    Where a commercial fishery is involved - even if currently dormant due to a statewide moratorium - state policy clearly encourages such arrangements.

    But the attorney is already well acquainted with these matters; in her LWRP she single-handedly adapted the selfsame state coastal policies to Hudson's circumstances. She even provided explanations!

    So why is everyone in City Hall now suddenly blind to the policies adopted in their own, crookedly-won LWRP?

    I speak for a large segment of the citizenry denied participation in the LWRP process when I ask:

    Why the sudden blindness?

    Why the fake concerns about liability?

    Why the hurry?

  4. why not

    we are the power over you

    we will do as we please


  5. Just so Vincent.

    Notice how they'll take things a bit further each time too. That much of it's a vicious game, and always an experiment.