Friday, April 10, 2015

"Protect North Bay" Petition Makes the News

The petition urging the Common Council not to declare the proposed sewer separation project a Type II Action--a petition authored by Timothy O'Connor, which Gossips has been promoting for the past week--is the topic of an article by John Mason in today's Register-Star: "Petition calls for review of storm water project." Mason never mentions how people so inclined can read or sign the petition, so here is the URL: Or you can just click on the aerial photograph of North Bay at the top of the column to the right. At this moment, the petition has 185 signatures.


  1. In the news story, every claim of the DPW Superintendent is incorrect. Every one.

    The state's SEQR Handbook defines "discretionary" decisions as "those where there are choices to be made by the decision makers that determine whether and how an action may be taken."

    Concerning both the whether and the how, the central purpose of SEQRA is to make every discretionary decision and action of government transparent and available to public scrutiny.

    It's been so gratifying to hear all the different alternatives people are coming up with for HOW to proceed.

    The DPW Superintendent will be sorely disappointed when he reads the actual wording of the national CSO Policy (1994), and discovers that WHETHER to proceed at all is far from assured. The decision to separate sewers is dependent on site-specific environmental conditions, and these are the proper business of the public to consider.

    Local officials obscuring their activities is as old as the hills. In this case, the DPW Superintendent misremembers what happened in 2009, when the public had its last opportunity to discuss sewers. A meeting in October 2009 discussed only "the nature of the improvements" to the treatment plant (that's from the Public Notice), while neither the Agenda nor the Minutes of the February 2009 meeting mentioned sewer separation.

    And did the DPW Superintendent really say that it's "preposterous" for the Common Council to "honor the spirit of" something?

    In fairness, let's say the newspaper got that wrong. Who would say such a thing?!

    But his word "preposterous" certainly attaches to the statement in the petition that the council made a "previous commitment to the South Bay."

    The Register-Star paraphrases the Superintendent: "[That] commitment is part of a document that has not been adopted yet."

    Oh dear, he's probably talking about the failed waterfront program.

    The petition, on the other hand, is citing the Common Council's previous SEQR review, in which the aldermen most certainly committed themselves. An environmental impact statement is separate from the action that it reviews, and Hudson's SEQR process was concluded with the SEQR "Findings Statement." After every review's "Notice of Completion," the Findings are the only remaining task.

    The Common Council's Findings Statement was filed with the NYS Department of State in 2011.

    So, not so preposterous after all.

    When given the bully pulpit, it's too easy for government to oversimplify, and in some cases (rarely) to mislead. This tendency is precisely what SEQRA was designed to remedy.

  2. How can we get more signatures?
    185 is pathetic

    To date there are 186 signatures on the petition and if I'm correct there are also 186 gossips' members.
    Anyone have ideas as to how to make the petition accessible to others?
    Will volunteers at key locations in Hudson requesting signatures and/or handing out literature concerning the North Bay be of value?
    If you're reading this Mr. O'Connor please post your recommendations.

    1. Just to be clear, tmdonofrio, Gossips has 186 "Followers," as indicated at the bottom of the right column, but it is read by many more people. It makes no sense to equate the two. Not all of the 186 Followers have signed the petition, and not all the current signers of the petition are among the Followers.

  4. Any (unbiased) comprehensive review of the North Bay would have separated the DPW building from shore before its fishermen. Gas, oil, diesel, salt and uncaring civil servants don't belong there.

    1. Perfect excuse to merge the Hudson DPW with Greenport's.

  5. 186 ain't bad! But there should be an easy link to the petition which people can forward to their friends. That link should be on everyone's electronic lips!

    1. How simple does the link have to be, Peter Meyer? Every element is pretty straightforward. Or just send people to and have them search for "North Bay."

    2. After thirty years of observation, you'll see, in Hudson, ten percent are pro and ten percent con, and eighty percent don't care.

  6. We can't know whether or not the DPW Superintendent was specifically addressing the petition's insinuation that $600K of federal money was obtained under false pretenses (which it most certainly was!), but elsewhere he was arguing with the petition's specific points.

    Here's the sequence in the Register-Star concerning fraud:

    "[The petition] accuses the city of a misrepresentation in its grant application when it called sewer separation 'a major condition of Order on Consent.'

    "'Because the plan is actually discretionary in nature,' states the petition, 'it is arguable that the competitive federal funds were obtained under false pretenses.'

    "Public Works Superintendent Robert Perry said Wednesday it was not discretionary."

    Ah! First of all, it is discretionary (see above). But was he ever going to answer the charge about defrauding the federal government?

    The engineering component of the grant application explained the justification for the project, except that the explanation was false.

    Almost certainly, this false claim won Hudson the award over other municipalities that did not claim their projects were required by Orders on Consent.

    And now that the grant has been awarded (the funds yet to be released), it's significant that the Resolution under consideration by the Common Council does NOT repeat the application's falsehood about the Consent Order. The Resolution calls for a SEQRA exemption based on two inferior arguments.

    Nothing assures a SEQRA-exemption like an Order on Consent, but the fact that the Consent Order was completely dropped as an explanation is an implicit admission that the claim was always untrue.

    And even if it was a mistake to begin with, by now it is now an admission of fraud against federal taxpayers.

    Because the US Department of Housing and Urban Development will be informed of the circumstances (these are HUD funds), the city may be asked to account for this serious irregularity.

    The friendly City of Hudson is not in good hands!