Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Not to Be Missed

Sam Pratt offers scathing criticism of the Common Council's decision to make a fifty-year commitment to Holcim in a parody of covering a press conference: "BREAKING: Hudson Aldermen reveal new 'super powers.'"  


  1. Oh, that this were as absurd at the talented Mr. Pratt avers...unfortunately, he hits the nail on the head...while new aldermen on the Council are trying to bring Hudson into the 21st century, under the so-called "leadership" of Don Moore, it just isn't possible. Why do we comtinually settle for mediocrity?

  2. Well said, Clown Town!

    The parody itself hit the nail on the head.

    I hope that the council meeting's Minutes will document the news about the unique causeway zoning:

    Where the Core Riverfront District hugs the length of the causeway, the district is no wider than the road was when the zoning was amended over a year ago.

    Planning oversight will be required any time that road is repaired, which means that the current dimensions of the road must be known as soon as possible, and before the landowner illegally expands its width for the fourth time in three years.

    People do still care about this, right?

  3. unhiemlich ~ As someone who has only lived here 7 yrs,and have been dealing with difficult "City" created situations ever since,
    trying to get up to speed with this situation,is a difficult task.
    The more I find out ,the more I find out
    how much more I need to find out,
    to even begin to understand what
    just happened with the 7 acres.

    I'm still reeling from the the fact that the authors of LWRP have not found it at the least, very inappropriate to still have as their decorative "Header" a huge photo
    of the recently City seized "Furgary"
    with an idyllic scene from the riverfront life of the evicted members,
    created by Furgary's many generations.
    I find it appropriate,only as an ironic pictorial for this document ,
    screaming out,as a cautionary tale unfolding as I write.

    I find by reading the Archives of "Gossip" articles and Comments, helpful in trying to grasp all this.
    This one ,I would like you to ask you to look at, as the most knowledgeable person I know of on this,at least from South Bay's point of view.
    I wonder if you could try to simplify what needs to understood ,
    to start to really get what is going on here.
    Tuesday, June 8, 2010
    Holcim and O&G Respond
    "Last night at the informal Common Council meeting,one of the communications received was a letter to Common Council President Don Moore from Holcim attorney Donald Stever and O&G's Kenneth Faroni." [link to letter]
    In one of the comments is quoted
    Coastal Resource Specialist Nancy Welsh
    "desired land uses for the waterfront can be mutually advanced,"
    and that they might not "hinder one another,"
    she explained that any
    "trade-offs being made [must] explain the underlying rationale."
    This is what I am trying to understand.
    The truth of"the underlying rationale."
    of "City" and "Holcim"

    1. Nancy Welsh belonged to a generation of dedicated public servants at the state's Division of Coastal Resources who have all since been replaced by the most discouraging bunch of bureaucratic functionaries imaginable.

      In letter after letter to the City of Hudson, Welsh would express her incredulity over this or that latest failure of the city to heed the state's corrections following its last batch of criticisms of Hudson's output. (Nowadays the same agency will bend over backwards to accommodate a municipality's malicious idiocy.)

      In the excerpt cited by Holcim/O&G where Welsh referred to land uses being "mutually advanced" and not "hinder[ing] one another," she was adhering to the state's 44 Coastal Management Policies, which were themselves derived from the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972.

      In New York state, water-dependent uses are given priority over merely "water-enhanced" uses of the state's shoreline (see CMPs 1 and 2).

      That begs the question as to which uses are truly "water-dependent" in any given situation, a question which became yet another point of disagreement among the harshest critics of Hudson's LWRP. Some of us believed that the same foolish impulse broadcasting hollow threats about "eminent domain" was similarly fixated on what was and was not a situation of "dependence" at the port.

      I maintain that if more citizens had been more moderate in their approach, and thus less smitten with the easy fantasy of applying simplistic trump cards, we'd all have been more dedicated to seeking a resolution in terms of Nancy Welsh's final point on trade-offs requiring justification via underlying rationales. Indeed SEQRA itself requires just that! the 44 CMPs notwithstanding.

      We certainly had the city over a barrel on this point (and so did the Furgarians concerning interests they'd made known through all the proper channels, though it's clear only in retrospect that the authors of the LWRP cheated them too).

      Unfortunately, the handful of people who worked so hard to exercise Welsh's last option didn't have much support from this community. Almost none, really. The moderate approach recommended by Welsh was compromised by an instinct for self-righteousness which ultimately proved less useful in the end.

      Sometimes I wonder whether the biggest mistake we moderates made was in not asking for donations.

    2. thanks ,unheimlic.
      I have many,many more questions.

  4. The odd thing is that the City of Hudson seems willing to engage in a deal with Holcim for a piece of land that has no industrial or commercial utility for the company. The City is actually doing Holcim a favor here by taking some acreage off the tax rolls. Further, those little peninsulas of land are wonderful, but how is the public supposed to access them, given that the road that leads to those properties is within the CSX rail right-of-way, and immediately adjacent to the Holcim / O & G / Colrusso gravel loading operation? A resident hoping to make use of those parcels of land would have to drive their vehicle or bike within 20 feet of moving rail cars on one side, with an unsightly industrial operation on the other. I just can't wait to pack a picnic basket and take the kids down there for a lovely outdoor experience.

    1. Gizmo, here's Cheryl Roberts verbatim, as her words appear in the city's Generic Environmental Impact Statement:

      "[In] particular, rather than obtaining an option to purchase the 7 acres south of the port, the intention of Holcim is to deed this land to the City in return for any legally available tax benefits" (GEIS 3.1.3).

      Holcim may also have dispensed with an outstanding legal issue which I outlined in the "Not In Our Lifetimes" Gossips post (2/11).

      Currently, the only way to legally reach the city-owned peninsula south of Holcim's 7 acres is by boat. Among Roberts' and Mussman's most coveted plans laid out in the LWRP, the placing of a marina and a giant parking lot at The 7 Acres will provide public access to the nearly inaccessible city-owned property immediately downriver.

      That's how they're prepared to sell their abominable idea, so be careful what you pine for!

  5. The great irony here is that the folks who made eminent domain the centerpiece of their opposition to the LWRP (the very document we got stuck with in the end) are the same ones who years ago made the case that remediated materials from the Dunn building had to be removed over the South Bay causeway rather than city streets.

    Fast forward to today and witness the regular semi-truck traffic over the causeway and a new agreement with the target of their eminent domain fantasy not to attempt to take their property for 50 years.

    Pattern here anyone?

    Of course there was a third approach to opposing the LWRP's plans for South Bay which began by taking measure of an adversary's strengths. The few pragmatists who tried this approach agreed that the most stable outcomes tend to be ones where everyone loses something, an insight which many state programs that involve the public are founded upon.

    But as a direct consequence of the lack of public support from among the ever-growing crowd of eminent domain proponents, the authors of the LWRP were given enough cover to be able to ignore a moderate alternative defended by the sensible few. The omission was in flagrant violation of SEQRA, the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

    For the remainder of the public who opposed the city's LWRP, their "activist" drama combined with their short attention spans were wholly reserved for the implausible eminent domain scheme.

    It is to these erstwhile champions of eminent domain that we owe our thanks for the city's latest agreement with Holcim. To argue otherwise is only to perpetuate that same losing pattern.