Friday, March 22, 2013

How Long Is Fifty Years?

At the end of last Tuesday's meeting, the Common Council went into executive session to discuss, as Council president Don Moore indicated, Holcim. Presumably, they were going to talk about the transfer of the nine acres on the waterfront. This reminded me of the conditions for the transfer that city attorney Cheryl Roberts explained last month, all of which will be in effect for the next fifty years. 

Thinking about the enormity of this commitment inspired me to consider just how long fifty years is by relating that length of time to the lives of the people involved in making the decision. 

Fifty years ago . . . 
  • Common Council president Don Moore was taking a year off from college.
  • Alderman Nick Haddad (First Ward) was a third-grader in Red Hook.
  • Alderman Abdus Miah (Second Ward) was a toddler in Bangladesh.
  • Alderman Wanda Pertilla would not be born for another four years.
  • Alderman Chris Wagoner was three months old.
  • Aldermen John Friedman (Third Ward) and Ohrine Stewart (Fourth Ward) were both somewhere between conception and birth.
  • Alderman Sheila Ramsey (Fourth Ward) was a twenty-four-year-old mother of two living in Hudson.
  • Alderman Carmine Pierro (Fifth Ward) was in the seventh grade. Five years later, in 1968, he would graduate from Hudson High School, along with classmate Rick Scalera.
  • Alderman Robert Donahue (Fifth Ward) was twenty-five, married, and selling life insurance for John Hancock.
  • City attorney Cheryl Roberts was a newborn.
  • Alderman David Marston (First Ward)--the only alderman who chose, by abstaining, not support the action--would not be born for another fourteen years. Fifty years ago, Marston's parents were still teenagers, and they very likely hadn't met yet.

As more evidence of the enormous length of fifty years, this is how high school students dressed in 1963.

This photograph is from the Hudson High School yearbook, Blue and Gold, for 1963, and shows the yearbook staff.


  1. 50 years from now becomes the problem for someone else.

    As you point out, it's a bit like someone asking "are we going to burden our grandchildren with the problems we create now"?

    Is that fair?

  2. For years the proposal had been "7 acres," and even that was controversial.

    Suddenly out of nowhere it's 9.968 acres and they bring it to an immediate vote. (Of course if you're a worthless member of the public then you didn't get to see the Resolution beforehand, which was worded "approximately 9 acres.")

    Actually, it turns out that what was a new proposal to the powerless taxpayers was actually planned for months by the city. It was only unveiled at the last minute ... if that's not too suspicious.

    Then right on cue we're instructed by the Overlords that it's all about an innocent and beneficent goal: "it will be parkland, now stop asking questions!"

    I asked Cheryl Roberts at a council meeting last September what became of the contaminants study of "the 7 acres" which she cited at a July 2010 "full council work session" on the GEIS:

    ""Our understanding, and they're saying they've done feasibility studies, the first phase or second phase done, and there's nothing there [i.e., no contaminants] that they're aware of on the 7 acres at the waterfront" (7/12/10, audio at WGXC at 1:48:24).

    Well that pretty much killed the discussions, even though everyone knew at the time that the Standard Oil had a depot somewhere down there.

    When I asked about it again last September - more than two years later - President Moore immediately interrupted saying that he didn't see the relevance of my question. Naturally I ignored a predictable ruse, and I pressed on until the aldermen began to get hot under the collar along with the usual politicians who inhabit the benches in the public's absence, and I finally goaded her into answering:

    "The city had been misinformed that [a] Phase I had been completed" (Common Council Minutes, 9/18/12).

    Big f****** surprise.

    So I predict that the alderman who abstained on February 11th will be vindicated, at least in principle. And the other council members are the usual disappointing others: same council, different names; born whenever; bad decisions outlasting their memories. Dead beats.

  3. 50 years ago I got married to an American and arrived in New York.
    Never dreamt of Hudson. Later I was captured by the beauty of the Hudson River Valley and here I've been for the last 30 years. Much has changed in Hudson, but some things never change.