Sunday, September 6, 2015

Primary Prep: In Their Own Words

Last week, Gossips invited all the alderman candidates in the upcoming Democratic primary to submit a statement for publication of what each of them most wanted to communicate to his or her constituents before the election on Thursday. They were asked to limit their statements to 500 words. All six candidates responded, and their statements, grouped by ward and in the order in which they were received, follow.


As the incumbent, I am in a three-way primary for our two seats. Perhaps this is the best of all possible scenarios, for it truly underscores the Democratic process, and hopefully the turnout will reflect the continued interest of our residents and their collective participation in the governance of our City.

My past four years on the Council I believe to be one of the more progressive periods in the legislative history of our City. It has not always been easy. And, on occasion, it has been an uphill battle against an entrenched mentality whose time is long past and whose methods are decidedly anti-progressive. But I firmly believe that a committed and contributing populace is the key to our continued prosperity. 

I have lived and worked in Hudson now for almost thirty years. The changes are remarkable, and we’ve become what we are by dint of an entrepreneurship unmatched anywhere in our state. There is a measure of serendipity, too. The City’s advances, its revitalization, is a product less of any comprehensive city plan than of the dreams and successes of its residents. I want to see that spirit kept alive, while we draw the city government into actually helping not retarding our development.

Unfortunately, not all of us have shared in this great creation. Many of our residents are unemployed and do not have adequate housing. For many our school system fails them with a graduation rate below 60 percent. For us to become a truly inclusive community we all must have a stake in our City.

To achieve that, the Council must be the bulwark and simultaneously the proponent of the wishes of the community. Elected officials must be fluent in the resolutions upon which we vote and must be willing to listen to our constituents.

During my tenure as Chair of Finance I have become acutely aware of how tenuous are our collective finances. We may be rich in people and talent but are not so in our income or savings. Almost 40 percent of the property in the City is off the tax rolls, leaving a disproportionate burden of taxes on a modest number of the population to shoulder.

For too long previous administrations and Councils avoided and frankly ignored the reality that our infrastructure was crumbling, and our rolling stock was aging. We now face the task of paying for these needed repairs and equipment.

In order to do so, I am working to establish Capital Reserve accounts, identifying known future expenses and saving in these accounts for the necessary expenditures. Working jointly, the Finance and Legal Committees created and the Council will this month send to Albany a new Lodging Tax to augment our revenues.

It takes a persistent, passionate, and independent voice in City government to make this happen. I enjoy what I do on the Council and hope I can continue representing my friends and neighbors in the First Ward for another two years.

Note: With the candidate's knowledge and consent, Haddad's statement was cut to meet the length requirement.

Thanks, Gossips, for this opportunity.

We are living through an extraordinary time in Hudson. The city has become the envy of surrounding towns and is being recognized nationally and internationally as a destination to discover.  

While it is exciting to see the streets crowded with residents and tourists flocking to restaurants, galleries, and businesses and to witness the influx of talented and inspired entrepreneurs, we are faced with a myriad of serious issues. These issues will require thoughtful and dedicated public officials who are willing to go beyond petty politics and get things done together for the betterment of Hudson.

Serving on the Historic Preservation Commission and chairing it for the past three years has provided great experience in working with both residents and city officials. Serving as alderman for the past four months and sitting on the Police, Economic Development, Legal, and Arts, Entertainment & Tourism committees has been educational, challenging, and extremely rewarding. I come from a long background in business and will bring these skills to the job.

Our children and the education we provide for them are important to me.

Our river, the development of our waterfront, and the improvement of the community’s access to the river are of great importance to me.

Our rich history of people, places, and architecture is very important to me.

I love this city and I understand where it is headed. I celebrate our history, our diversity, and our future.

My agenda is simple: Do what is right and best for both the First Ward and the entire community. Be fair. Be honest. Be dependable. 

I hope to continue to bring these attributes to City Hall, and I ask for your support and your vote next Thursday.

Hudson is my home. I care about this community and our future. I care about our shared history and how it helps us understand what we are today. I have some experience, some talents, and some understanding which may be useful in helping Hudson become a city that works for all its residents. The Hudson Common Council is one place where my efforts may be applied to nudge the City towards a better future, and I would appreciate your support in making that possible.



Age 32, 61 Short Street, Hudson
Daughter--Jaley Claire Mignott 
Mother--Jacinta Wildman-Keith

While working in the Human and Health Service fields for over fifteen years, I understand the importance of receiving quality service and benefiting from accessibility of resources within our community. A lifelong resident and employed in our community at the Department of Social Services in the Day Care Subsidy and Medicaid Departments and currently with the Mental Health Association in the HCSD as a Family Support Specialist, I see the needs of our community firsthand. Understanding the importance of education and having knowledge of diverse issues faced here in Hudson, I became a certified trainer of Youth Mental Health First Aid with the National Council for Behavioral Health in 2014. Going forward, I will continue my advocacy for equality, diversity, and unity in the City of Hudson.

Top Issues to include:
1. Keeping Property Taxes within State Tax Cap
2. Creating optimum parking solutions for all residents, addressing strategies to include creating one way streets like Short Street, and lifting the street parking ordinance on Carroll Street
3. Create alternative routes for our trucking system, that passes through Columbia Street
4. Upkeep and removal of snow in the winter months of our streets and drainage systems
5. Promoting optimum Mental Health Services to all our residents

Hello & thank you for the invitation to use Gossips of Rivertown as a platform for the upcoming Primary being held this Thursday. For those of you who may not know me, my name is Lauren Scalera, and I am running for Fourth Ward Alderman. I have been asked to release a statement on what I feel is most important for voters to know about me. The following issues, in no particular order of priority, are issues that I would like to address if elected:

Affordable housing: Unless I’m mistaken, I haven’t seen a commitment from this Common Council that shows they are serious about providing affordable housing. For too long it has been talked about, and everyone agrees there is a need in Hudson. We as a Council will need to team up with developers who have a history of creating this type of housing and prove that we are dedicated to this goal by approving tax breaks. The first order of business should be to sell the vacant lot on the corner of Fourth and State, with the condition that it must be an affordable housing project.

Sidewalks: To the residents of the Fourth Ward--take a look around. It is dangerous to walk our streets. The sidewalks are in terrible condition, and there are no safe routes to Middle School and High School. There was a state grant in place to remedy this situation--I’d like to know what happened to it. As far as the current residential sidewalks, I’d like to be a part of a committee to work on this issue.

Parking: As I walk around, it is clear there are parking issues on Columbia Street adjacent to the Columbia County Dept. of Health Building. I would like to meet with County officials to help resolve this.

Library/Senior Center: Soon the "crown jewel" of the Fourth Ward will be complete, with a brand new multi-million dollar Library and a long-term commitment for space for our seniors. As a Fourth Ward Alderman, I would like help promote this new addition which will provide new educational and recreational opportunities for all to enjoy.

Speeding: As I go door to door on Harry Howard Avenue, it has become apparent that most people are concerned about speeding and the lack of enforcement in that area. I believe we should invest in a speed detection machine, similar to Greenport’s, as a tool to slow down traffic, in addition to ensuring regular enforcement.

Current Library (& soon to be former library): When the Library moves into its new location, many residents are concerned who the new tenants of 400 State Street may be and if the building will be well maintained. While we may not have control over who will occupy the building, the owner of this historic building should provide this information in a timely manner to the elected officials of our ward in hopes that we may be a part of the conversations that occur.

As Fourth Ward Alderman, I plan to faithfully attend Council meetings--having duly prepared in advance--and then bring information back to my constituents. I will do so via a website and regular Meet & Greets throughout the ward, by listening to people’s opinions, and then voting accordingly. My primary goal as an Alderman is to create and encourage regular communication with my constituents so that I can do my job, which is to truly  represent them.

The Fourth Ward is very diverse, and I plan to set up times to meet people from Warren Street to State Street and from Crosswinds to the Firemen’s Home.

I want the Fourth Ward to have a voice and have active and vigilant representation in Common Council meetings. More generally, I want to bring common courtesy, respect, decorum, and politeness to the Common Council meetings. I think that my experience as a working professional, a certified yoga instructor, a small business owner, and a landlord will serve me well in achieving this goal.

I love Hudson, and have committed myself to contributing to the community on multiple fronts.

I have brought jobs to Hudson. Last year, I was given the opportunity to hire three individuals, in Hudson, and set up an IT support office for a financial services software company. Based on my over twenty years' experience in Wall Street financial companies, implementing accounting and reconciliation systems, I had the background necessary.  There are now three new full-time, 9 to 5 professional jobs with benefits in Hudson, which were created within the past year, with me leading the team.

I grew up in a union household and a household of educators. Both of my parents are retired NYS schoolteachers, as well as my uncle and aunt. Education, to me, is very valuable, and I will do what I can as Alderman to understand and help the education needs of my community.

I have organized countless community and volunteer events, parades, and festivals in Hudson over the past several years. I am in regular, daily contact with Hudsonians up and down Warren Street, at the hospital, at the Farmers' Market, and in my own neighborhood. I make myself available.

I live in the Fourth Ward full-time. I own two houses in the Fourth Ward, and I spend most of my time here. I am committed to making this ward a better place for all people.

I look forward to continuing to serve this wonderful community.


Sincere thanks to all the alderman candidates for submitting their statements. The Democratic primary is this Thursday, September 10. Democrats in the First Ward vote at St. Mary's Academy, on the corner of Allen and Third streets. Democrats in the Fourth Ward vote at 401 State Street, on the corner of State and Fourth. The polls are open from noon until 9 p.m. Vote yourself and encourage your friends and neighbors in your ward to vote as well!

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