Sunday, November 19, 2017

DRI Watch: Leverage Is All

The DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) Local Planning Committee (LPC) met last Tuesday, and the word that seemed to be used most often during the two-hour session was leverage. It was stressed that no project can be fully funded by DRI money, and a project's potential to leverage other money, from private or public sources, will be a significant factor in deciding which projects will be pursued. Another significant is factor is that projects chosen should be those that can be completed within two years.

One of the goals of last Tuesday's meeting was to confirm the boundaries of the DRI target area--the BRIDGE District. There had been a suggestion that the eastern boundary should be moved from Second Street to Third Street.

Although there was considerable discussion of the possibility, no decision was made to alter the boundaries.

Another goal of the meeting was to confirm the vision statement. This was the original vision statement:
Increased development of mixed-use projects that incorporate affordable and market-rate housing and transportation oriented design; workforce development; and re-imagining the waterfront for expanded public use and enjoyment. While tourism is a seasonal surge economy for the Hudson, the DRI application proposes to create an environment for high-quality, year-round, living-wage jobs.
Based on input received at the public engagement workshop on October 26 and from stakeholder interviews, the vision statement has been revised to read:
Increased development of sustainable mixed-use projects that incorporate affordable and market-rate housing and transportation oriented design; workforce development; access to healthy, affordable food; and re-imagining the waterfront for expanded public use and enjoyment. Preserve and enhance diversity in the district by prioritizing current residents. While tourism is an engine for the Hudson economy, leverage the DRI to create an environment for high-quality, year-round, living-wage jobs for local residents.
When asked about the weight the vision statement carried, Steve Kearney, from the Stantec Urban Places Group, stressed that "every DRI initiative must fall within the vision." Jeff Hunt, from the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, wanted the word commercial added after mixed-use, although mixed-use does seem to imply a mix of residential and commercial uses. Sara Kendall, assistant director of Kite's Nest, worried about the way tourism was presented in the statement and wanted to be certain the statement conveyed an understanding that economic development went beyond tourism.

Another thing to be accomplished at the meeting--what was identified as the most important thing--was to establish the goals of the DRI. Almost an hour into the meeting, Kearney presented these draft goals for consideration by the LPC:
  • Connect to--and improve--the waterfront
  • Prioritize mixed-income residential development
  • Increase access to high quality, affordable, and (when possible) local food
  • Create lower-cost spaces for entrepreneurs, creative workforce
  • Help train for, and help create, jobs
The conversation soon got mired in a discussion of leverage, with John Reilly, chair of the Economic Development Committee of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, pointing out that infrastructure--sidewalks, etc.--was a "dollar for dollar" investment, because "no one will want to invest in sidewalks unless you're giving them a toll road."

Ultimately, it was decided that transportation connectivity and green spaces should be included in the goals. It was also decided that the LPC needed to have another working meeting before the next public engagement workshop, which is set to take place on Thursday, December 7. That additional meeting for the LPC will take place on Thursday, November 30, at 6 p.m. at John L. Edwards Primary School.

Early on in the meeting, it was emphasized that the Hudson DRI website is the central repository of all information about the DRI. People with "prominent websites" were urged to provide a link to the DRI. Gossips has done this. The link now appears at the top of the right column.

For those for whom this synopsis of the meeting is insufficient, Dan Udell's video of the meeting can be viewed here.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hudson Dogs to Have Their Day

The dogs of Hudson may soon have two things they've been wanting for a long time: a dog park and the right to walk legally on leashes with their humans in Henry Hudson Riverfront Park.

The late William with Turner, a pup of our extended family, in the park illegally back in 2012 
As Gossips has already reported, the dreams of a dog park are soon to become a reality. On Monday, at the informal meeting of the Common Council, a resolution was introduced that would amend Section 70-4 of the city code to delete item A (11), which makes it unlawful for dogs "to be present at any time at Riverfront Park."

A resolution to repeal the ban on dogs in Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, which was put in place in 2002, was initiated by former Third Ward alderman John Friedman in March 2015. Despite a petition signed by about 200 people in support of allowing dogs in the park, the Common Council voted it down--a move that disappointed many dog owners and infuriated Dan and Mary Udell so much that they ceased videotaping Hudson Common Council meetings for more than a year. 

This time we may hope for a better outcome. The resolution now before the council is the initiative of Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), who in 2015 was one of the aldermen opposed to lifting the ban on dogs in the park.

Friday, November 17, 2017

In Defense of Our Alleys

In today's Register-Star, there was an editorial about the proposed law that was the subject of a public hearing earlier this week. For most of the day, the editorial was only available in the print version of the newspaper, but as of this evening it can be read online. Most worthy of quoting, in Gossips' opinion, is this argument: "Transforming the city's historic garages and horse carriage houses is equally a dead end. The expense to convert these structures, which will likely have to be demolished and rebuilt, would be prohibitive. These projects would result in a considerable loss to Hudson's rich heritage, but they would not create affordable housing." The rest of the editorial can be read here: "Try another approach to Hudson's affordable housing crisis." 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Getting There from Here . . . on Foot

Tonight at 6 p.m. at 401 State Street, the Columbia Land Conservancy is holding a public meeting to receive input on the conceptual design for a proposed trail connection from North Second Street to the Greenport Conservation Area.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Proposed Law Draws Criticism from Public

It was almost a full house for the public hearing on Monday on the proposed law that would eliminate the requirement for offstreet parking for apartments in basements and converted accessory buildings and would permit businesses to be established in parts of the city now zoned residential in buildings that had previous commercial uses.

The goals of the legislation seem noble enough: to create more affordable rental units and to allow people to establish commercial enterprises in buildings in residential zones that had historically housed commercial enterprises. An example of the latter is Basil Nooks' plan to open a restaurant specializing in Caribbean food in a building he owns on North Third Street, which up until 2004 had been an eating and/or drinking establishment for decades. 

The proposed local law met with some pushback from those present at the public hearing--from Kristal Heinz, who didn't want commercial enterprises in her neighborhood in the Boulevards; to Gossips, who worried about the devastation of the authenticity and charm of the alleys the law would encourage; to Craig Haigh, code enforcement officer and former fire chief, who warned of the public safety issues such a law would create.

Amanda Purcell reported on the public hearing in today's Register-Star: "Residents speak out on zoning law change." Dan Udell was there to document the hearing, and his video can be seen here. The public hearing begins at 13:20.

In the end, it was decided that the proposed local law needed some work.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Marina Abramovic Responds

On Sunday, Gossips published the link to an article that appeared in the New York Post, which began with the statement, "The artist is present but the cash is gone." Today, a press release from Marina Abramovic responding to that article made its way to Gossips, and content of which follows:
On November 12, 2017, the New York Post published a front page story about me in the Sunday edition with the headline "The Art of the Steal." Normally, I wouldn't care what was written in a tabloid newspaper, but the allegations are so false, libelous and in every way untrue that I must address them.
The article claims that I raised 2.2 million dollars for my institute since 2011 which is not true. In fact the majority of those funds were direct contributions of my own money which I earned as an artist. I contributed over 1.1 million dollars in cash donations to the institute on top of what I spent to buy the building which I donated to MAI in 2013.
The Kickstarter campaign accounts for $661,452. After Kickstarter's administrative fee, the amount we received from the campaign was $596,667.
The Kickstarter was created to fund schematic designs of OMA New York for the building in Hudson, NY. The bill we received from the firm for this specific design work was $655,167.10. We used the Kickstarter funds to pay OMA New York's design fee.
The New York Post article also claims that we did not reward all of our Kickstarter backers. As reported by ArtNew on November 7, 2017, the only people that did not receive their rewards are the ones that did not respond to our requests for information. We welcome those backers that did not receive what they deserved to contact the institute directly via Kickstarter or on our website.
When we received the proposal from OMA New York, we were overwhelmed by the originality and beauty of the project. However, they informed us that the project cost would exceed 31 million dollars. We looked for a cost effective solution together with OMA New York and a consultant but the building had many issues to make it work within a manageable budget. The board of MAI decided to cancel the building project and to focus our efforts on bringing our projects to people around the world.
To date, MAI has partnered with many institutions and artists internationally. We have presented 13 art experiences in 12 countries the majority of which were free of entrance and open to the public. The events have been attended by over 675,000 people. Most importantly, wherever we go, we strive to foster emerging performance artists and create a platform for their work while also engaging the broader public in participatory exercises from the Abramovic Method.
I reject the New York Post's allegations of theft. The Kickstarter funds were directed for the purpose intended. Over the last four years, the original vision of the Institute evolved and I am proud of this work.
Marina Abramovic

Help for Our Landmark Church

The New York Landmarks Conservancy recently announced seventeen Sacred Sites Grants, and among them is a $25,000 Sacred Sites Challenge Grant for the First Presbyterian Church at Warren and Fourth streets, to help fund repairs and partial replacement of the existing roof structure and roof.

Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, said of the recent award, "We are pleased to continue to support the ongoing restoration of First Presbyterian--an important example of Hudson's history and architectural merit. The supportive Friends Group demonstrates how much First Presbyterian means to the entire Hudson community." In May 2014, the Conservancy awarded $50,000 to the church for the restoration of the church's principal stained glass window. 

The Conservancy is a private non-profit organization whose mission has been to preserve, restore, and reuse New York City's and New York State's architectural legacy for future generations. Since its founding, the Conservancy has loaned and granted more than $50 million, which has leveraged more than $1 billion in restoration projects.

"This is a wonderful award," said Phil Forman, president of the Friends of the First Presbyterian Church. "It is validation of the importance of this building in the architectural and historic landscape of Hudson. And it will act as a stepping stone to generating more interest in the restoration of this wonderful building. We are extremely grateful to the Landmarks Conservancy for their support."

To make your own contribution to this major restoration project, which is expected to take more than eighteen months, go to

Monday, November 13, 2017

DRI Watch: LPC Meets Tomorrow Night

The Local Planning Committee for the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) meets tomorrow night--Tuesday, November 14--at 6 p.m in the cafeteria of John L. Edwards Primary School. It's your chance to sit for two hours on aluminum cafeteria benches meant for children between the ages of 5 and 8 and observe the twenty-five members of our LPC interact with the professional planner from Stantec. There will be very little opportunity for public input. Nonetheless, Gossips encourages you to attend. 

Six Candidates Poised to Challenge Faso

If you missed the Congressional CD19 Candidates Forum yesterday, as Gossips did, Dan Udell was there for us all. His videotape of the event can now be viewed by clicking here.


A Busy Night at City Hall

Much of interest is happening at City Hall tonight, Monday, November 13.

At 5:30 p.m., there is a public hearing on the proposed city budget for 2018. The budget can now be reviewed online and explored using the new graphic interface OpenGov. Click here to get started. A special meeting for the Council to vote on the budget has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 21. 

At 6:30 p.m., the Common Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed law meant to facilitate the conversion of basements and accessory buildings into dwelling units by eliminating the requirement for offstreet parking for such units. That law can be reviewed here.

At 7 p.m., the Common Council holds its informal meeting for November. To review the agenda for that meeting, click here.

Susan B. Returns to Hudson . . . After 123 Years

The Mother of Us All, the opera about Susan B. Anthony directed by Hudson's own R. B. Schlather, opened at Hudson Hall on Saturday, November 11. On Saturday, too, a review by Russell Platt appeared in The New Yorker: "Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein's "The Mother of Us All" Is Avant-Garde Opera for the People." Platt concludes his review by saying, "Surely Schlather’s production, which is already sold out, could float down the river to the big city."

Gossips was there on opening night and was wowed. I can think of no better word to express the experience. I've heard that Sunday night's performance was even more powerful. The Mother of Us All is a major achievement for the newly renovated and reopened performance space at the historic Hudson Opera House and a major achievement for Hudson. 

A note of explanation about the title of this post: Susan B. Anthony came to Hudson three times to speak on the subject of woman suffrage at City Hall, the same building we know as the Hudson Opera House and Hudson Hall. Her first appearance was in April 1855, the first year the building was open. She returned in August 1859 and again in March 1894.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

What Happened to the Money?

Since Marina Abramovic announced last month that she would not be pursuing her grand plan to transform the former Community Theatre on Columbia and Seventh streets into the Marina Abramovic Institute, many have wondered what would become of the $2.2 million she had raised for the project, in particular the $660,000 raised in a Kickstarter campaign to which some Hudsonians had contributed.

Yesterday, it was reported in the New York Post that Abramovic will not be giving the money back. According to a spokesperson, it has already been spent to pay Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas for the proposed design for the dramatic conversion of the building, which now will not happen: "Marina Abramovic raised $2 million for canceled art project, hasn't given money back."


Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Great War: November 11, 1917

Today--November 11, 2017--marks the 99th anniversary of the day the World War I ended. A hundred years ago on this day, the Second Battle of Passchendaele, which began on October 26, had ended the previous day.

No American forces took part in the Second Battle of Passchendaele. Rather it was fought by the British, the Canadians, and a combined Australian and New Zealand corps. But a least one American--a Hudsonian--died in that battle. It was Malcolm Gifford, Jr., the great nephew of the artist Sanford Robinson Gifford.

Gossips has told the story of Malcolm Gifford, Jr., the child of privilege who was arrested in April 1914 for allegedly robbing and murdering a chauffeur he'd hired to drive him from Albany to Troy the previous year, while he was staying at a friend's house after being suspended from his prep school. He was tried twice for the crime, in July 1914 and February 1915, but both trials ended in a hung jury. After the second trial, he was released on a $25,000 bond, and there was not a third trial.

At the beginning of 1917, before the U.S. entered the war, Gifford, then a student at Williams College, enlisted in the Canadian army. On November 8, 1917, in the Second Battle of Passchendaele, he was killed in action. On November 19, 1917, the day his father, Malcolm Gifford, Sr., received a telegram from the director of war records in Ottawa informing him of his son's death, the following head appeared on the front page of the Hudson Evening Register.

The article about his death mentioned nothing of the previous charges against him. Instead it focused on the nobility of his actions.
The noble principle for which the Allies were battling against Germany inspired the young football star, and anxious to do his "bit" for democracy he was one of the first Williams college men to offer his services to Canada. A short time after joining the Canadian artillery, he was serving England and there during the long and rigid training, he made a most commendable record.
Particulars relative to the circumstances in which he lost his life were not contained in the message received by his father, but the statement that he "was killed in action" tells a story of heroism, loyalty and bravery. His battery for nearly three months has seen strenuous fighting, and has won admiration from the war heads. The casualties have been many, but the 43rd has gloriously held her ground, pounding away at the Germans uninteruptedly and effectively, proving beneficial to the infantry charges and withstanding gas attacks and rigid countercharges.
Other newspapers were not so kind. The Albany Evening Journal recounted the whole sordid story in the front-page headlines accompanying the article that announced his death: "Malcolm Gifford, Twice Tried as Slayer, Killed on Battlefield in France"; "Wealthy Youth Dies Fighting in Canadian Unit--Juries Disagreed on His Case"; "Was Charged with Murder of Chauffeur." The Troy Times in reporting his death identified him in the headline as "Young Man Who Figured in Murder Case."

A commemorative book from the Welcome Home celebration that took place in Hudson after the war, on September 8 and 9, 1919, included, among the photographs of the twenty-four men from Hudson who died in World War I, this photograph of Malcolm Gifford, Jr., in the uniform of the Canadian Field Artillery.


Friday, November 10, 2017

The 2018 City Budget

Last night, there was a special Common Council meeting to receive the proposed 2018 budget. It seemed at first, the meeting couldn't happen since there were only four aldermen present--Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), Robert Donahue (Fifth Ward), Michael O'Hara (First Ward), and Rick Rector (First Ward)--and there was no quorum. Abdus Miah (Second Ward) arrived late, having been summoned by phone. It's unclear if his presence was enough to make a quorum, but it didn't matter. At that point, it had already been determined that a quorum was not required simply to receive the budget.

The budget for 2018 presented to the Council last night by Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton sees a 5.45 percent overall increase in spending. The biggest increases--aside from the City's contribution to Hudson Area Library, which will more than double from $120,000 to $250,000--are for the Youth Department, which will see a 41.2 percent increase, and Law/Attorney, which will increase 46.1 percent from last year to cover the anticipated costs of ongoing litigation. There will also be a 14.1 percent increase in the budget for animal control to fund an animal enumeration project, intended to ensure dog owners' compliance with local licensing requirements.

Some departments will see a decrease in their budgets, the greatest being a 47.4 percent decrease for the Senior Center, because the City will no longer have to pay the Galvan Foundation $50,000 a year, as it has in 2016 and 2017, for outfitting the space in Galvan Armory.

The proposed budget also raises the mayor's salary from $45,000 to $60,000, the level it was in 2005. Hamilton explained that the mayor's salary had been "adjusted in prior years to accommodate pension requirements." She also made the point that the mayor, who is the chief executive officer for the City, is paid less than any other department head, as illustrated by this bar graph.

The increase would make the mayor's salary about equal to the treasurer's salary, which is $60,148.

Rector, the mayor elect who is now an alderman, said of the proposed salary increase, "This is very awkward for me," and stated his intention of recusing himself from the vote on the budget.

The presentation of the budget concluded with the following bullet points, which present "The Big Picture."
  • While many think the tax cap is 2%, the maximum allowable annual tax cap is actually determined using a complex, multi-step calculation. The maximum allowable increase for 2018 is 5%, but we are pleased to present the Council with a 3% ($149,017) increase, while still providing significant improvements across City departments.
  • $408,554 is taken from the fund balance to achieve a balanced budget.
  • Year-over-year expenditures are increasing 5.45%, versus a 2.52% increase last year.
  • Total expenditures are increasing by $577,100 from $10,588,605 to $11,165,715.
  • In addition to identifying cost savings in various departments, we are able to keep the tax increase low with the following anticipated revenue increases (based on trends and the newly enacted lodging tax):
  • $100,000 increase in sales tax revenue
  • $10,000 increase in Planning Board fees
  • $30,000 increase in Amtrak parking lot permit fees
  • $10,000 increase in building permit fees
  • $240,000 in lodging tax revenue and $7,000 in lodging tax registration fees (note that half of the lodging tax revenue will be added to the City's general fund, and the other half set aside for use by the Tourism Board to promote and market tourism)
  • In every department and for every building, utilities costs are decreased to reflect the downward trend we saw in 2017 as a result of cancellation of all Viridian contracts.
Audience member Steve Dunn questioned why money was being taken from the fund balance in order to balance the budget, suggesting that doing so was not sustainable. Treasurer Heather Campbell explained that the City now has a policy in place to control how much needs to be in the fund balance to ensure that the City is neither putting itself in fiscal jeopardy nor taking more from taxpayers than is necessary. She pointed out that the fund balance is now higher than it needs to be, and taking $408,554 from the fund balance will put it back within the parameters.

There will be a public hearing on the budget on Monday, November 13, at 5:30, at City Hall. Prior to the hearing, all budget documents will be available online at the City of Hudson website. There will also be link on the website to the budget data presented in OpenGov.

In Memoriam: Leo Carlin

A familiar man about town, walking his handsome gray poodle, Beau, on Warren Street and around courthouse square, Leo Carlin died on Saturday.

Flâneur and raconteur, Leo was generous with his praise and support for things that met with his approval and equally generous and often harsh with his criticism of things that did not. An unapologetic Luddite, Leo never figured out how to comment on Gossips and instead frequently reacted to posts with cryptic email messages. In the very last email I received from Leo, he lamented,  "How can you discuss city planning with a group who rarely travel south of Kingston, or [have] seen an architectural journal? They have no sense of vistas . . . or that architecture can change a city, even if only a street corner." 

Leo indeed had that "sense of vistas," as well as a refined appreciation of architecture, art, music, food, and other people. A mutual friend, at whose home I first met Leo, said of him, “He knew how to throw a good dinner party and how to be a good guest. A lost art on both accounts.” 

Hudson has lost another of its inimitable characters. Rest in peace, Leo Carlin. You will be missed.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Way Things Are in Hudson

With all the horrible stories of police brutality and the tendency by some to paint Hudson police officers with the same brush, this is a story that needs to be shared. It is quoted from the Hudson Police Department Facebook page. 
HPD Rescues Convicted Man
At 7:07 am HPD received a call from a motorist who spotted a man lying on the ground in the playground adjacent to Bliss Towers, 41 N 2nd Street. Three minutes later HPD officers arrived on the scene and discovered 31 yr old MICHAEL A JOHNSON of Hudson, unconscious and not breathing. Officer David Card administered CPR, aided by Sgt Jason Finn and Officer Nick Hodges. JOHNSON was soon revived and transported by Greenport Rescue Squad to Columbia Memorial Hospital. Officers suspect that JOHNSON may have been intoxicated or impaired, and had been outside in the freezing weather for most of the evening.
Charges are pending against JOHNSON as he had been ordered to stay off Bliss Towers property.
JOHNSON was arrested by HPD on August 18, 2017 for possession of a loaded stolen handgun on the 200 block of Long Alley. On October 27, 2017 JOHNSON plead guilty to the charges and is out on bail awaiting sentencing in County Court on December 5, 2017.
"Mr. JOHNSON has commanded a lot of attention from our Department over recent years. Aside from his dozen or so arrests since 2009 and his possession of a loaded weapon during our violent summer, he was also the uncooperative victim of the elevator beating on July 13th at Bliss Towers. Our three Officers responded without hesitation and saved his life. Three minute response time." Chief Moore

It Isn't Over Until It's Over

The Register-Star reported today, as if it were a fait accompli, that Shershah Mizan had been chosen to replace John Friedman as an alderman from the Third Ward: "Friedman resigns; Democrats tap Mizan." According to Gossips sources, however, what was reported in the Register-Star isn't exactly true. The meeting at which the Democratic caucus allegedly decided--informally and without a vote--that Mizan would serve out Friedman's term was attended by only three or four of the eight Democrats on the Council. The city calendar indicates that a special meeting of the Common Council will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14, "to consider an appointment to fill a vacancy in the office of Alderman of Third Ward due to resignation of John Friedman." Presumably it will be decided then who will take Friedman's place for the next two months.

Parks and Open Spaces

This past summer, the Conservation Advisory Council conducted a survey to learn what people think about the natural areas and public recreational spaces in Hudson. They published the results today, which are summarized in this word cloud.

The CAC provided this information about the methodology employed to gather input:
Many people completed [the survey] online. To reach others, we surveyed in person at the Saturday farmer’s market, Promise Neighborhood’s block party, the Black Arts and Cultural Festival, and Rock Solid Church’s children’s fair. A resident of Hudson Terrace Apartments was also hired to survey face-to-face in that neighborhood. In all 222 people responded. About one-third lived outside Hudson. While we reached people in a random way, given Hudson’s population of about 6,700, a response rate of 148 City residents has approximately a 95% statistical confidence level.
Click here to review the highlights of the survey results. This document also contains a link to a report on all the responses to the survey.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Looking Ahead to 2018

Here's a challenge: Name all the Democrats jockeying to be the candidate who will challenge John Faso next November. Whether or not you can name them, you can meet six of them on Sunday at the Congressional CD19 Candidate Forum.

The six candidates participating in the forum are Brian Flynn, Jeff Beals, Antonio Delgado, David Clegg, Gareth Rhodes, and Pat Ryan. 

The forum takes place on Sunday, November 12, from 3 to 5 p.m., at Montgomery C. Smith School, 102 Harry Howard Avenue. Following the forum, there will be an hour-long reception during which you can meet and speak with the candidates. Seating for the event is limited, and reservations are required. Click here to secure your place.

To learn more about the forum, watch this video, featuring county Democratic stalwarts Cyndy Hall and Pam Kline.


Following the DRI

Since early October, the Downtown Revitalization Initiative has had a Facebook page: Hudson Bridge District. Now, it also has a website: Hudson DRI.

The website includes basic information about the DRI program and information about past and future DRI meetings in Hudson, and lists the members of the DRI Local Planning Committee. It also includes a page devoted to the Housing Task Force which presumably is overseeing a housing initiative being pursued in tandem with DRI process. The page provides the following tripartite statement of purpose for the task force. 
1. Understand Hudson's current housing needs via review [of] past and current prepared reports as well as through studying best practices & successful strategies for housing development.
2. Develop near-, mid-, and long-term actionable solutions e.g. municipal resolutions, financing sources, public-private partnerships with a timeline that will work in tandem with the DRI in the near term. 
3. Build community consensus for solutions via ongoing, transparent communication and inclusive outreach.
It also provides a list of the people who make up the Housing Task Force

The task force met this past Monday at 9:30 a.m., in a meeting that eluded Gossips' notice. Its next meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 20, at 11 a.m., at 1 North Front Street.

Unofficial Election Night Results

The three citywide candidates--Rick Rector for mayor, Tom DePietro for Common Council president, and Heather Campbell for treasurer--were all running unopposed, hence the unofficial election night results provide no surprises. In the race for mayor, Rector got 1,214 votes, and there were 89 write-ins. In the race for Common Council president, DePietro got 1,312 votes, and there were 10 write-ins. In the race for treasurer, Campbell got 1,106 votes, and there were 6 write-ins.

Now for the contested local races. 

In the race for the two Second Ward alderman seats, the unofficial tally is: Tiffany Garriga 168; Dewan Sarowar 137; Victor Mendolia 102; Martin Martinez 51. In the race for Second Ward supervisor, the unofficial results have Abdus Miah besting Willette Jones 148 to 112.

In the race for the two Fourth Ward alderman seats, the unofficial tally is: Rich Volo 197; John Rosenthal 196; Lauren Scalera 107. In the race for Fourth Ward supervisor, Linda Mussmann appears to have unseated the incumbent Bill Hughes by a substantial margin: 201 to 109.

In the race for the two Fifth Ward alderman seats, the unofficial tally is: Dominic Merante 247; Eileen Halloran 200; Robert "Doc" Donahue 156.

There are still absentee ballots to be counted, but it seems unlikely they will change anything.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Hundred Years Ago in Hudson

In 1917, Election Day was yesterday, November 6. On November 7, this headline appeared on the front page of the Hudson Evening Register, not emblazoned across the top of the page, as one might expect, but still above the fold.

In the brief article that follows, the first sentence shares the news that the women of New York "were given unlimited suffrage at yesterday's election by a majority expected to be 100,000." The rest of the article reports other results of the election, among them that "Tammany Hall returned to power in New York city."

Women of Hudson, let us today celebrate the hard-fought victory of our forebears by exercising the right they won for us a century ago.

See you at the polls! . . . which are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Sustainability of Hudson's Water Supply

In June, Gossips reported that freshwater scientists from the Eastern New York Chapter of The Nature Conservancy had done a preliminary analysis of the watershed that is the source of Hudson's water and had offered to do a "deeper dive" into the topic--fleshing out a risk and sustainability analysis of our water supply.

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, November 7, at the Conservation Advisory Council's regular monthly meeting, The Nature Conservancy will present their plan for conducting such an assessment, which include:
  • Working with the Department of Public Works and other experts to identify and characterize the historical system performance of Hudson's water supply system as well as determine the desired performance metrics and system vulnerabilities.
  • Engaging with stakeholders to help reveal problematic climate and non-climate scenarios using "decision scaling" (a method for tailoring data to best inform water decisions). 
  • Conducting a source risk analysis to identify areas more likely to generate run-off and prone to transporting pollutants under poor land management to help determine source water protection with the highest return on investment.
The meeting takes place at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

A Predicament Needing a Solution

A week or so ago, Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) resigned his position on the Common Council. The reason for the resignation is that Friedman, who is an attorney, is representing a client who has brought a lawsuit against the City of Hudson. 

Typically, when an alderman resigns, for whatever reason, the Common Council elects someone to take that person's place and serve out the term. This has happened several times in living memory--most recently in 2015, when Rick Rector was elected to replace David Marston, who left Hudson to take a job in Minnesota. But with two months left in his term, it is unclear who will be elected to replace Friedman. The reason seems to be redistricting.

There are two people--Shershah Mizan and Calvin Lewis--running unopposed to become Third Ward aldermen beginning in January 2018. A seemingly logical solution would be for the Common Council to elect one of them to replace Friedman and let him start the job early. The problem is neither one of them lives in the Third Ward that elected Friedman. The lion's share of the Third Ward that elected Friedman and that he represented has now been absorbed into the First Ward.

So the question, which apparently hasn't been answered yet, is does the Common Council elect Mizan or Lewis to represent for two months people they won't be representing come January 2018, or does the Common Council elect someone who actually lives in the pre-redistricted Third Ward to represent, for two months, the people who elected Friedman?

Whatever is decided, and whoever is responsible to make that decision, it would be nice if they moved ahead. There is still some business to be done by the Council in 2017, not the least of which is approving the 2018 budget. There's a special meeting of the Council this Thursday, to receive and consider the 2018 budget. A full complement of aldermen should be in place for that task.

Food, Glorious Food

A couple of months ago, we bid good-bye to Relish. But tomorrow, Relish En Route returns! . . . but only for a few hours.

From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. (or until they run out of food), the bright green food truck will be back at the old stand, 60 South Front Street, right across from the train station, offering something for everyone--from vegan and gluten free to beef. So, after you have voted--or before, if you need to build up your stamina for the task--go down to Relish En Route with cash in hand and get yourself something delicious.

More Time for History

On Friday, the Hudson Area Library announced that, thanks to a crew of volunteers, the History Room will be open to the public more often than it currently is. The new expanded hours for the History Room are Tuesdays from 1:45 to 6 p.m.; Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. 

History Room volunteers (from left to right): Brigitte Gfeller, John Craig, Sue Bellinger, Barbara Weisberg, and John Kane.
During these hours, people can request information on local history, browse the collection of city directories, yearbooks, and local history books, and research items in the archival collection.

I Was Right the First Time

On Tuesday, when listing the properties that would be offered at auction on Saturday, November 4, I indicated that a property identified only as "Spring Street" was a vacant residential lot. At the auction on Saturday, the property was identified as 15 Spring Street, so after the auction I drove out to Spring Street to find out where 15 Spring Street was. I found the number 15 clearly displayed on a little house and reported that it was the property that had sold for the minimum bid of $7,384.15. This morning, I was informed by Matthew Parker in the city treasurer's office that 15 Spring Street, despite the number that appears on the house, is actually a vacant lot adjacent to the house. My sincere apologies to the owners of 15 Spring Street for reporting that their house had been sold at auction. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Not to Be Missed

The New York Times today has an article about The Mother of Us All, the opera about Susan B. Anthony by Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thompson, which will performed from November 11 to November 19 at Hudson Hall, to commemorate the centennial of women getting the right to vote in New York State: "Celebrating Women's Rights, 'That Most American of Operas.'"

Photo: Lauren Lancaster|The New York Times 

Walker Evans Revisited

On Friday, when I published the photographs taken by Walker Evans in Hudson in the 1930s, I promised to reveal where each was taken. So, for those who haven't already figured it out on their own, here we go.

This Greek Revival portico and entrance is found on 32 Warren Street.

This building, with its elaborate Greek Revival door surround, is 454 Warren Street, today the location of Nolita. Since the 1930s, that remarkable door has been replaced by a window.

Photo: Alan Coon
These men are on North First Street, just a little north of Prison Alley. In the background at the far right can be seen the side of 32 Warren Street and, across the street from it, the building shown below, which once stood at the southwest corner of First and Warren streets.

The corner turret of the building that was once the Iron Horse and is now Governor's Inn makes it easy to identify the vantage point of this photograph: South Seventh Street, between Warren Street and Cherry Alley. It's interesting that decades later there is still angle parking on this block.

These two pictures show 363 Allen Street, a house that once stood at the southern end of West Court Street. The photograph below shows West Court Street in the 1880s.

In the 1970s, 363 Allen Street was the location of the Columbia County Department of Health. The house fell into disrepair and was demolished sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Its site is now the location of the parking lot for the Columbia County courthouse.

Thanks to Sam Pratt and Alan Coon, who were first to make some of the discoveries shared here.