More Tsuris for the Embattled HDC
Reading Hudson's Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) application last year, many were surprised by some language contained therein--in particular, these statements about A. Colarusso & Sons and its operations on the waterfront: "city officials and neighboring business owners support the expansion of Colarusso (page 18); "Key improvement to be considered . . . reduction of truck traffic through residential areas of the BRIDGE District by re-routing Colarusso trucks onto a widened two-way haul road at the City's south border" (page 47); "On any given fair weather Saturday, brides in their gowns might pose for photos at Basilica Hudson, while just outside gravel is delivered by truck from the Colarusso quarry to the deep water port across Front Street" (page 37).
It's been something of a mystery how and why this language got into the document, and a few weeks ago, on April 20, Sam Pratt submitted a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request to the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) for "records created between January 1st, 2017 and December 31st, 2017 which mention, discuss, originate from, or otherwise concern the A. Colarusso & Son company ('Colarusso')." At the HDC board meeting on April 24, the FOIL request was accepted as a communication. Sheena Salvino, executive director for HDC, commented that "all communication relating to Colarusso" would be emails about the DRI application "as it went back and forth" and told the board she was seeking the advice of the HDC attorney to find out what they were obligated to provide.
Pratt reports what has happened since then in a post published yesterday on his blog: "State: Yes, the Freedom of Information Law applies to that Hudson agency."
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I'm still waiting for the Director of HDC to explain how we are supposed to build a great waterfront for our community around a gravel dump and a truck route.ReplyDelete
The Secretary of State ruled in 2005 that heavy industrial use was incompatible with the best use of the Hudson Waterfront.ReplyDelete
From a social, economic, cultural *and* environmental perspective — the second highest official in our State decided, with the tacit approval of the governor — excluding such incompatible activities would provide the most benefit to the most people in Hudson.
Get rid of the dust, noise and traffic, and Hudson will have more jobs, more business, more recreation, more positive development, more cultural activity *and* a healthier ecosystem.
Instead, craven officials and politicos ignored this clear and prescient guidance, and appeased Colarusso. I will name here a few those directly culpable for continuing the agony, rather than ending the decades of controversy once and for all: Don Moore, Victor Mendolia, Linda Mussman, and Cheryl Roberts. Among others.
HDC now appears committed to repeating the mistakes of past agency directors and boards, attempting to hide its business in the shadows.
This never works out well for such agencies and officials. On rare occasions that they succeed at keeping their secrets, they lose the public’s trust. On the rest of the occasions, the public forces their secrets out into the sunlight anyway, and they again lose the public’s trust.
I have actual knowledge that Sheena was given the advice that she said she was given, and I researched the matter myself a few months ago, and concluded that the HDC was not exempt the the disclosure rules that apply to any other government agency (so some things are confidential such as personnel matters and information that might prejudice the agency's negotiating position, but most things are not). So the advice she was given in my opinion was wrong, and apparently the author of the communication that Mr. Pratt received agrees. I appreciate Sam's efforts to help correct this error.ReplyDelete
I hope Sheena has all her foil request completed before she takes the high road out of Hudson in August . Has Don Moore been given all the passwords, because he is edging his way into her job.ReplyDelete
In other news, I learned a new word - tsuris. A delightful bonus is that, after looking it up, I find that it is a Yiddish word.ReplyDelete
There really is no question that HDC is subject to FOIL, and the State COOG is the authority on that.ReplyDelete
Any lawyer who told Salvino something different would really have to have done either a real sloppy research job, or was just telling his/her client what they plainly wanted to hear.
(In fact, I dimly recall this whole question being hashed out and settled some 15 years ago with HDC, with the identical conclusion. Possibly when Edward Gomez was publishing his Hudson River Herald.)
If you like Yiddish words, we've got a million of them!ReplyDelete
Good to see Sam active in Hudson matters again. Welcome home Sam :)
Oy vey. Lots of meshuggeners trying to run things around here. I'm getting shpilkes.ReplyDelete
Mazl tov and bravo, Sam.ReplyDelete
If everyone took the energy that is being used to try and eliminate a great business like Colarusso's, and applied that energy to something productive, Hudson would truly be a better place.ReplyDelete
Getting LWRP passed asap would be a mitzvah for Hudson...enough with the goniffs and schlemiels of HDC! And to Herb: having a massive gravel operation at the waterfront is incompatible with Hudson’s productive economic future. The state has declared this to be true. Also, Colarusso had no trouble doing business before they had the dock. Also, since when do we trust corporations to act in the interest of this city? They are wholly motivated by their own self interest, which in this case would destroy our waterfront.ReplyDelete
Hudson would not be what it is without companies like Colarusso's! Just because their type of work does not fit your fancy, you think you can just come in and demand he leave? Get a grip. Good luck because you won't win.ReplyDelete