Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Candidates Debate

Tonight, the two people vying to be the Democratic candidate for Common Council president--Tom DePietro and Steve Dunn--faced off in a debate, moderated by Lynn Sloneker, station manager at WGXC, at John L. Edwards Primary School.

Dan Udell was there videotaping the event, which went on for close to two hours, so Gossips will not undertake to recount everything that was said. One came away believing that both men were intelligent, thoughtful, and well-informed, with a deep and genuine commitment to Hudson. While Dunn tended to refer to his skill set--law degree from the University of Michigan, MBA from the University of Chicago--DePietro called attention to his on-the-ground service to Hudson. A card found on every chair in the room delineated that service: Hudson Planning Board (chair), Hudson Industrial Development Agency, Hudson Community Development & Planning Agency, Hudson Waterfront Advisory Committee [it should be noted that DePietro serves on the previous three boards or committees because he is the chair of the Hudson Planning Board], radio host and fundraiser for WGXC. When, in answering a question about what the candidates would do with $10 million if it could be used anyway they pleased, Dunn mentioned programs at the Hudson Area Library, DePietro took the opportunity to say that he had just completed his training to teach in the ESL (English as a Second Language) program at HAL.

DePietro and Dunn both professed how much they love Hudson. DePietro said he had "never felt more at home anywhere." Dunn called Hudson "a place that has given me meaning and satisfaction as I have never known before." In answering a question about gentrification, Dunn said, among other things, "Everybody wants to move to Hudson." That statement, along with the heartfelt complaints heard last week from people who fear being displaced, reminded me of a conversation I had with a child who lived on my block back in 1995. (I bought my house and took up full-time residence in Hudson in 1993.) I was trimming the ivy bed in front of my house, which I'd planted the previous year, when the child stopped and engaged me in conversation. Among other things, she asked what I was going to do with the things I'd planted when I moved away. When I told her I wasn't planning to move any time soon, she said with disbelief, "Don't you want to leave here when your life gets better?"

Gentrification transformed Hudson from a place where you went when you were down on your luck and left as soon you could to a place where everyone wants to live and everyone wants to stay. The trick is to keep Hudson in the sweet spot we seem now to have attained.

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