Saturday, July 25, 2015

How's He Doing?

On April 20, 2112, 100 days after he began his first term in office, the Register-Star published an interview with Mayor William Hallenbeck in which he outlined his "highest priorities, biggest issues as mayor of the friendly city": "100 days deep, with goals aplenty."  

Today, 100 days before the election in which Hallenbeck is seeking a third term in office, mayoral challenger Tiffany Martin Hamilton looks back at that interview to assess how effective the mayor has been in achieving his goals: "Let the campaign begin: Challenger questions mayor's record."


  1. The Foster's Refrigeration remediation site figured prominently in the City's Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program application in 2012. At a time when the Governor was funneling more and more money into the State's BOA Program, it's a fair question to ask Mayor Hallenbeck why Hudson's BOA application failed?

    It didn't help when the public complained to the State that the City had created a bogus "Steering Committee," which listed the names of private and public individuals who later claimed they were unaware that this committee existed.

    DPW Superintendent Perry reported that he was not on this committee, although his name was listed.

    Mayor Hallenbeck was listed on the BOA Steering Committee, along with Common Council President Don Moore. Perhaps they were innocent bystanders as well.

    Other problems with the BOA application were acreage estimates from the City's superseded Zoning Code, and multiple references to proposed Zoning Districts which were, in fact, already in existence.

    Worst of all was the omission from the BOA program of the site of the former Standard Oil distribution depot at East Beach, a spit of land at the inlet for the South Bay. Was it only a coincidence that grandiose plans to develop the same site were presented in the 2011 waterfront program (LWRP)?

    A few months after the BOA application was submitted, the same officials who drafted the LWRP (largely on their own, and despite a storm of public protest) became ambitious to pursue their plan for the Standard Oil site. Curiously, these same officials were listed as serving on the BOA Steering Committee: Council President Moore and City attorney Cheryl Roberts,

    Was it unfair to connect the omission of the Standard Oil site from the brownfields program - a context in which it eminently belongs - with the ambitions of the individuals who had done so much to advance their own waterfront program? (You might also ask why the advising attorney for the City's BOA program didn't know that the BOA Committee she allegedly served on was a fake.)

    In hopes of moving their cherished project forward at East Beach, President Moore and Mayoral appointee Cheryl Roberts foolishly submitted comments in a Short Environmental Assessment Form which were demonstrably insincere and false when compared with their many previous statements.

    The State "SEQR Handbook," which is designed for the protection of the public, seemed to describe the situation perfectly:

    "Project sponsors are responsible for the accuracy of the information they provide for EAFs ... Presentation of a misleading or knowingly false statement on such a document could also result in criminal prosecution of the person making the statement. This action would be considered 'Filing a false instrument,' a 'D' felony in New York."

    Accordingly, the public filed a criminal complaint with the NYS Attorney General in which it presented the probative evidence.

    Probably the right people knew the right other people, in that way that connections and favors matter far more than the law in this corrupt State. The complaint was never answered, but it's resented to this day and likely further complicated the public's subsequent (and unsuccessful) conservation efforts against these same parties. (It's an interesting question to what degree our public officials ever allow for the public's resentment of them?)

    But I am remiss. The subject of this post was supposed to be the mayor, and he's almost missing in my comments.

  2. Just because the mayor has gone almost missing in your comments unheimlich doesn't mean the mayor doesn't almost go missing in general.