Friday, March 21, 2014

"God's in His Heaven, All's Right with the World"

Public safety was, as Gossips understands it, the justification for the "emergency demolition" today of 12 North Second Street. Certainly the site, as it was left this afternoon, surrounded by the impenetrable protection of plastic snow fencing, represents nothing like the threat to public safety that the building posed before the bulldozer/backhoe was unleashed on it.

What is it about an old house that inspires such fear and loathing?


  1. What is it about an old tree that inspires such fear and loathing?

  2. Good aquestions. But in Hudson we have a deeper -- or at least more fundamental -- question: a dysfunctional political process that allows people who hate old houses (and old trees) to exeercise their pet fears and loathings (and, in the case of real estate mini-barons, greed), wihtout paying the least attention to a fair and democratic process. Was there a conditions report on this house done? When was it done? Who did it? Was it presented to a public forum? We allow ourselves to be bamboozled by the "deeper" questions when, in fact, following basic democratic rules would have been sufficient to stop such shenanigans.

    1. Spot on!

      Yesterday I was musing about the compartmentalization of city government where anything even remotely like a comprehensive approach to policy-making is entirely left to the city's lawyers. Yes that is "dysfunctional," but I think a more apt term to describe Hudson is pathological.

      Just get a bunch of people together, add power, inject some of our inexhaustible proclivities, a.k.a. "human nature," and you've got yourself a government. To use a boating analogy, together we can always come up with some sort of a half-assed rudder (just look at some of those Common Council resolutions!), but until you add lawyers the vessel has nothing like a keel, and no sideways control. Yet together we're ever fixated on the rudder.

      I mean, imagine asking a lawyer to decide some health care issue for you! Oh wait, we did exactly that ...

      Okay then, another hypothetical closer that's on topic: if yesterday's house demolition had been Albany's responsibility, would it deeply shock us if we found out that a "conditions report" was only planned for after the destruction? We all know such things have happened, yet we never tire of "allowing ourselves to be bamboozled."

      Every level of government dysfunction and fragmentation is a reflection of our individual dysfunction and fragmentation, which is what every culture probably has the hardest time acknowledging. We want to care about the world, but it's easier to behave as if we're isolated children looking up to the governmental parent/imago for permission, and also to have somebody to criticize.

      Until we accept that government serves at our pleasure, why on earth would a politician believe it?

      Either way, a lawyer is never going to believe it.

    2. billy hughes sage words of wisdom are enough for this town - whats your problem ?

  3. what about those that take the "dirty" money and assist, or look the other way?

  4. demolition from neglect - the fate of the fugery

    1. Exactly right, and for no good reason. It's not that you can't schedule a visit in there, but only if you're not going to do maintenance.

      Seems to me the city's doing the same thing with the Ferry Street Bridge, practically inviting the deck to get beaten to bits by speeding yahoos.

      By summer the bridge will be closed even to pedestrians and aggravated boaters who have to use Broad Street will be cursing anyone who wants to preserve the bridge's historical integrity.

      You think that's not exactly what the city wants? Ever hear the phrase "municipal vandalism"?

    2. I think it was the owner though, and not the city, who destroyed the house on 2nd Street.