Saturday, April 27, 2013

And So It Begins . . .

Election Day is a little more than six months away, and the local election season has just gotten started. The Hudson City Democratic Committee has begun interviewing candidates for the various positions, with the goal of fielding a full slate. The first hat to be tossed in the ring--besides that of the mayor--belongs to Victor Mendolia, former chair of the HCDC, who on Friday declared publicly that he will seek the position of Common Council president, the seat currently held by Don Moore. 

In a press release, Mendolia expressed his intention to seek the Democratic, Working Families, and Green party lines and outlined his agenda, which he said he believed "a broad coalition of Hudsonians can get behind and can garner wide support on the Common Council." 

As part of that agenda, Mendolia defined this list of issues:
Open Government  As required by open meetings laws, all proposed resolutions and local laws, including supporting documentation, will be posted online in advance of meetings and prior to any votes being taken. Unless these is a real emergency, Common Council members will always have the time required by the Charter to consider resolutions put before them. Accurate minutes of all actions taken at Common Council and committee meetings will be posted online on a timely basis.
Holcim Land Deal  The Holcim land deal as it stands now should be abandoned. If the plan does go forward, no land conveyance should take place until a Phase 2 environmental study is done and under no circumstances should any limit on eminent domain takings be a part of any deal.
Ownership of the Port  The city must be the steward of its own waterfront. The LWRP calls for the city to eventually own the dock. Instead of focusing on land which Holcim doesn't want and the city will not be able to develop, we should be focusing on owning the port and dock. It is the only way to be certain that what goes on on the dock is in the city's interest. Owning the port would hasten the cleanup of the derelict buildings and structures at the waterfront and would encourage development. Development at the waterfront would be a huge economic engine not only for the city, but for the entire county as well. So the city should not have to go it alone. I would immediately look to partner with Columbia County and/or non-profit entities to begin exploring ways to purchase the Holcim dock or take it by eminent domain.
Columbia Street Redevelopment   Warren Street is booming. What we need is more commercial space to add to the great success we already have going. I would champion new zoning to help restore Columbia Street as the secondary commercial strip it once was. The new zoning would require all new development at corners to include commercial space on the ground floor and allow for one extra story of residential. Small mom and pop storefront businesses should also be allowed as of right in the mid block. The area around Helsinki, Etsy, and the county building might also be considered to be developed more densely, preferably with underground or rooftop parking.
Truck Route--Short Term  We should immediately begin hyper-enforcement of existing traffic rules regarding speed and jake braking on the truck route and place electronic signs at the entrances of the city warning truckers of increased enforcement. I would support decreasing the speed limit on the route, especially near schools and daycare facilities. If possible, weight limits on thru trucks should be imposed and enforced. The city should consistently make it as unwelcoming for truck traffic as state law allows, to encourage trucks to take other routes.
Truck Route--Long Term  There must be a better long range solution to the truck route which is strangling the city, Fairview Avenue in Greenport, and to a lesser extent the hamlet of Claverack. I would work with our state legislators to fund studies leading to by-pass connections for Rt. 66 and 9H that could allow trucks to avoid not only the city but the Fairview corridor and Claverack's hamlet as well.
Housing  We must better protect tenant's rights to live in safe and properly maintained buildings. I will advocate for strict enforcement of our building codes. Any new rental housing at the waterfront will set aside 20% of its units for low and moderate income renters. In the case of co-op or condominium development, there will also be a similar set aside for affordable home ownership. As Bliss Tower continues to move toward the end of its useful life, there must be a renewed effort to either replace the building or do a major upgrade to rehabilitate it. That decision must involve the residents of the building and not be imposed upon them.
Technology  The city should immediately begin utilizing social media for communicating with residents to keep them informed. The City of Hudson website must be completely modernized. The website must contain clear and easy to find instructions for parking, snow emergencies, meetings, and accessing city services. In addition, it should promote the city as a tourism destination and easily link people to information about Hudson they are seeking. Smartphone apps should be integrated and promoted citywide and in city produced or sponsored media of all types. Unreliable and slow broadband service is holding back our economic development. The city must negotiate a better franchise agreement with the current provider or seek another cable provider to service the city's needs. A studio facility for the production of public access television, which was required under the previous agreement but never provided, must be a part of any deal.
Green Initiatives  Within the first year I would be committed to having at least one 50 kilowatt solar array on every suitable city owned building and facility. In addition, I would put forward new initiatives to require all new public buildings, sidewalks and streets to include permeable surfaces, rain gardens and other modern rainwater control systems. A major tree planting initiative, particularly on the North Side, would also be included.
For Don Moore's response to Mendolia's decision to challenge him as Common Council president, a position he had held since 2009, see the article in the Register-Star: "Mendolia to run for council president."


  1. Thank God. The prospect of Don Moore out of city government means that we have something to look forward to. Go, Victor!

  2. Although it isn't explicitly mentioned, Mr. Mendolia's ideas are consistent with allowing the community to participate in the waterfront planning.

    Imagine, doing what the state has recommended all along!

    After so many years of failed "planning" by our betters, that would be nice change from the oppressive oligarchy of the Moore-Roberts regime.

    The last LWRP workshops were in January 2007, but the public was was ignored. The public comments on the LWRP/GEIS were ignored.

    It's the same arrogant people in charge today. Watch them try and change their stripes by November!