Friday, October 28, 2011

Today, Friday, October 28, The Register-Star printed its election-year profile of all candidates running for city-wide offices: Mayor, Common Council President and Treasurer.  Reporter Tom Casey's interview with me is printed below.  What is also of note is that Bart Delaney, the Republican candidate of whom virtually nothing has been heard, emerges with an interview where it appears he is actively campaigning for the position.

Supervisor challenges sitting council prez
Moore: City needs strong council, government

By Tom Casey
Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
Friday, October 28, 2011 2:09 AM EDT
HUDSON — For Common Council President Don Moore, the past two years have been an investment.

“I’ve spent the last two years turning a part-time job into a full-time job,” said Moore. “The challenges facing the city deserved that much attention.”

Moore is seeking re-election to his position on the Common Council, and thinks the time spent there has been productive.

Citing the progress that the council had made under his tenure, Moore said he has worked to expand the responsibilities of the council with the progress made on the LWRP, the strengthening of agencies like the Hudson Development Corporation, and the completion of a re-evaluation of tax assessments by the middle of next year.

“Insofar as the goal has been to improve the economy, the tax base, and the quality of life in the city,” said Moore, “I think the council has done a good deal of work in the face of considerable challenges.”

Moore said what the city needs is strength in its government.

“What the city continues to need is a stronger administration and a stronger ability to carry out the responsibilities of the city and to meet the responsibilities of the city,” said Moore. “ I think knowing more now than I did two years ago only reinforces the fact that the office of the mayor, the office of the treasurer, and clerk can utilize the efforts of a stronger common council to assist ... that can streamline the ability of the city to carry out its duties to try and meet the needs of the city population.”

The Common Council president said his top issue for the city was to increase economic development, including attracting new businesses to bring in jobs to the city. The waterfront is one of those places, and Moore has suggested bringing in a committee of citizens and council members to address what  could be brought there.

“The LWRP is only one step on a very long road,” said Moore. “The subsequent work of developing the waterfront, the properties that are there, finding the grants, organizing the evaluation of how the South Bay can be used and restored —  these are projects that will take a great deal of time by both the people who work for the city and the people who can be brought in as volunteers.”

 Moore also wants to make property taxes fair in the city, by replacing the sole assessor.

“This city has had a series of sole assessors who have frankly not lived up to their responsibilities as public servants and have left a trail of miscalculation of erratic assessments and behavior,” said Moore. “I’d very much like to see this city be confident citywide that its assessments are as close to accurate as possible.”

Moore said the city also needs to be smart about how it spends and taxes. He pointed to last year’s property taxes saying the city was able to keep tax increases to only 1.76 percent and should look to maintain that restraint for 2012. However, he said cutting spending should not be done by undercutting services.

“Too severe a reduction means a jurisdiction might end up thoughtlessly cutting jobs,” said Moore. “That will not happen as long as I am here.”

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hudson’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP)

Two posts today.  Both are about the LWRP. 

The first is an editorial by Parry Teasdale in The Independent of October 7, 2011: “Hudson makes progress on waterfront” which can be read at: 
“…last week the Hudson Common Council took one of the most significant steps in decades aimed at changing both the zoning of South Bay and opening up the  overall waterfront of the city to new uses that should give the public more access than ever before to the waterfront along the Hudson River.

“The council adopted a document called a generic environmental impact statement for the city's long-delayed Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan. That clears a  major hurdle toward adoption of both the waterfront plan and changes to city zoning designed to make a revitalized waterfront possible.”

The second is a My View I authored that appears in The Hudson Register-Star today, Friday, October 14, 2011: “Hudson’s Future Protected by the LWRP.”

The full text follows:
One of the biggest questions about the LWRP: Does passing it open up the waterfront to industrialization?  In fact, no, the opposite is true. The new zoning prohibits manufacturing and processing at the port (and in the entire Core-Riverfront zone). The LWRP explicitly states that the “City’s support to encourage the use of the port for the shipment of raw materials, processed and/or finished goods should in no way be construed to support a return to cement manufacturing. The City does not support cement manufacturing in or near its boundaries.

Another question: what would rejecting or just not voting on the LWRP mean? The City would lose the LWRP’s new zoning, leaving the entire waterfront industrially zoned. Developers will wait for the new zoning before making commitments. If we leave the current zoning in place, we’ll have industrial zones that exist virtually with no restrictions. The port or the causeway could be developed without any restraints.

Here is why. If we adopt the LWRP now, the changes to the City zoning code would restrict the causeway and the port to shipping only. O&G already has the permits to truck across the causeway. The NYSDEC granted that permit in October 2009. Both the permit and the resurfacing were challenged by Scenic Hudson but upheld.

If the Council adopts the LWRP with the new Core-Riverfront zoning, the current use at that time, whatever that is, is “grandfathered,” it is allowed to continue. Under the new zoning it becomes what is called a “non-conforming” use. Changes to non-conforming uses – like altering buildings, repaving roads — that require approval by the City would then be considered “changes of use” and the Hudson Planning Commission would impose conditions spelled out in the zoning code. If the City grants a conditional use permit, the owner must abide by conditions that would include: site plan approval, restrictions on hours of operation, noise, dust, light, and screening and viewshed concerns.
What about Holcim’s ownership of the Hudson port and wetland, including the causeway? To answer that, two fundamental questions need to be addressed: one of law and the other of finances. First, property rights are a legal principle that protects us all. The City cannot simply take over the South Bay and port. It could only do that through a successful eminent domain action. Second, the City could not afford to pay anything like what it would take to buy those properties even if we were to win an eminent domain decision. Would it benefit the City to own the port?  Absolutely. Must we find another way to own it? Yes. Do we hold up the LWRP while we figure how to do that? No.

Passing the LWRP is only the first step. Then, the City must determine which of the many projects and land parcels (some city- and state-owned, some privately held) on our waterfront we want to develop, in what order of priority, and then pursue the private finances and public grant money to make each a reality.

As we know, Hudson has a very limited amount of land.  Many of our potentially most attractive properties are along the waterfront. But right now our waterfront is a patchwork of well-developed park and revitalized older buildings, alongside exhausted and underutilized industrial buildings and land. The LWRP spells out policies and proposes new laws — zoning codes, consistency law — that refresh the possibilities for new business investment and jobs, housing, a more robust tax base.  It also offers a path to recovery of the South and North Bays that give us confidence we can preserve and enjoy the natural beauty right at our doorsteps. The LWRP protects against decisions that aren’t right for Hudson. It is a roadmap to smart choices for our future.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Statement by Don Moore, Common Council President Organizing Common Council Meeting, January 10, 2011

This is the second of the precious two years during which we are privileged to work together for the betterment of the City of Hudson, to fulfill our oaths of office, to accomplish the work set before us, and to help the people of our City understand the challenges as we see them.  We must act and we must communicate.

We have many specific opportunities some of which I will speak to in a moment.  The most important challenges we face are these.  We must maintain the local business growth we now enjoy, creation of jobs and how people in Hudson get to jobs -- transportation, and we must increase our tax base while at the same time looking to restrain spending in the face of reduced resources.  Couple this with the very real, and in many ways desirable possibility that the Governor and the State Legislature by the end of this year may establish a two percent cap on annual property tax increases.  The Governor believes such a cap is a matter of fairness to local tax payers.  He proposes this action at a time when the State's budget is in deficit, state costs will be cut, and our local costs are rising.  We certainly wish him well.  At the same time, it is only prudent that we keep a very close eye on our wallets while we see how this works out for him.

Hudson is fortunate in its budget for 2011.  We had and still have a general fund surplus.  We held our property tax increase to under 2 percent.  There is some comfort we can take in this -- but for how long?  I firmly believe that the Council must play a part in addressing each agency of the City to help determine where efficiencies can be accomplished now and for the years ahead. We will not do this alone.  The Mayor, the Treasurer, and I have the lead on budget formulation. But what I have learned in my first year as Common Council President is just how few people there are who make this government work. We are operating a 21st century government with a 19th century structure.  It works because we have no choice.  What makes it work are many skilled hands working cooperatively, as many as we can possibly convince to put a portion of your efforts in service to the City.  

Volunteers.  I am a tremendous fan of our fire department.  I am so for many reasons.  But the one most on my mind is that those 500 active and inactive members are a shining example of giving time and talent to our community, of volunteerism that adheres to thoroughly professional standards, with little thought of a return other than the sure knowledge that they protect the City.  They exemplify as do many others, this virtually unpaid Common Council is another excellent example, of putting time aside for the City.  In his first inaugural address, President Kennedy said this, “united, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do." 

Careful spending.  Cooperation.  These must be our guiding  principles.  And I believe they are. The record of the last year has shown that Hudson's elected officials have worked together. These are not times when any of us gets to rest on our laurels.  So what do we have ahead of us?

Since property taxes are at the top of many people's lists -- we are all aware of the controversies surrounding the 2010 assessments -- one initiative the City will soon sign is a contract with a highly respected property tax assessment firm to complete the city-wide revaluation and to do so with professionalism and transparency. Much of the current controversy remains centered in court proceedings.  Those actions will take their own course.  But in times such as we are living through, when real estate for home owners and small businesses is so much a part of what value many people hold, fair and accurate assessments must be a foremost goal of the City.  We will have more detail on this initiative soon.  But I can assure everyone that the Council must and will be an active participant in this process.  Credibility equals openness. Openness is inseparable from participation.      

Economic development, especially the small businesses that today make up the life blood of the City's economy, must continue to be a primary focus of the City's resources and advocacy, both financial and people.  I am delighted that the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce will locate its offices at the foot of Warren Street and that the renovated historic Washington Hose building will be its new home.  I am convinced that the economic vitality of the City will be measurably improved with that anchor at the gateway between Warren Street and the waterfront.  The Hudson Development Corporation will be a co-tenant of the Chamber and a leading program intended for that facility will be job counseling and playing a strong part in revitalization of underused properties owned by the City.  

We will also pass the Local Waterfront Development Program, the LWRP, and I hope that plan will spark new development and a fairly substantial increase in our property and sales taxes. The LWRP should be back in our hands from the Department of State within a month or two for Council review.  Once approved, I look forward with the Mayor to assembling a group of active and dedicated people into a new LWRP Advisory Board to help the city solicit further mixed use development -- commercial, residential, environmental, and recreational -- on our waterfront. The LWRP is a complex undertaking with many interlocking parts that involve matters of law -- who owns what and who regulates what, land use planning, grant writing and fundraising, environmental research of our bays and their remediation -- to name just a few of the moving parts. Once adopted, we need do everything we can to maintain momentum in bringing the LWRP's plans to life.

The Mayor has also announced a number of promising initiatives either as issues of spending or law that have and will come before the Council:  a new configuration of programs for youth, new programs for senior citizens, new cooperative agreements with the County to improve public transportation within Hudson and with Greenport and Albany; and consideration of a new restaurant on the waterfront.  

Finally, there is a concern that is uppermost in my consideration as an elected official representing the entire City.  That is the issue of the most vulnerable among us: those without jobs, or adequate housing, those who may be homeless.  This aspect of what government can and must do is where cooperation with the County and with private social services agencies is paramount.  Although often among the most intractable problems, time and again we have shown that if we work together, what we believe is unattainable is within our reach. We can dream, but can we see our way clear to fulfill our goals?  We can. No all of them, but certainly many.  Take one step at a time -- together. Then we can translate our beliefs into action. 

In that spirit, I leave you with a thought from Italian poet and activist Danilo Dolci, "Words don't move mountains.  Work, exacting work, moves mountains".  

Let's get back to it.  Thank you.  It is an honor to serve with you.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Draft LWRP & Draft GEIS Are Back for Common Council and Public Review

The latest and likely last version of the City's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (DLWRP) and the accompanying Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) have been returned to the City by the NY Department of State. The LWRP contains a substantial number of revisions to the City Charter and the City Zoning Code and maps that the Common Council must review and consider for adoption. There will be a formal presentation on December 7 at the Common Council, then a public hearing will be scheduled, and a 60 day period for public review and comment. The documents are each lengthy. They are available on the Hudson City web site at:


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thanks for Your Support

Victory always has many mothers and fathers. Mine does. I know full well that my successful race came as the result of support from many people, those who advised, those who endorsed, especially those of you who voted for me, I carry your hope for Hudson as my own and your encouragement as my guide. To those who chose to exercise your franchise but voted for my opponent, I will do my best to deserve everyone's confidence.

Here is the Register-Star report:

Moore, Hallenbeck take city's toughest races

Don Moore, seated, Democratic candidate for Hudson Common Council President, is congratulated by Second Ward Supervisor Ed Cross after preliminary vote totals showed Moore edging out Republican challenger John Porreca Tuesday night. Standing left is Second Ward Alderman Abdus Miah and, seated background, Hudson City Treasurer Eileen Halloran. (Robert Ragaini/Hudson-Catskill Newspapers)
By Jamie Larson

Published: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 2:30 AM EST

"Democrat Donald Moore has won the race for Hudson Common Council president, beating out Republican John Porreca. In his first time running for elected office Moore secured 581 votes, with former Alderman, Porreca trailing with 504..."

For the full story, follow this link:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Register-Star Endorses My Candidacy, ccSCOOP Profiles

The Columbia County on-line publication, ccSCOOP, has profiled my opponent, John Porreca, and me.

First, thanks to All of the people who have endorsed me, most importantly Mayor Rick Scalera and Treasurer Eileen Halloran, and my fellow Democrats from the Hudson City Democratic Committee


One step at a time, but not bad news for a rainy day:

Register-Star Endorsement

Common Council President


Saturday, October 24, 2009 2:14 AM EDT

The race for the city of Hudson Common Council president, pits Democrat Donald Moore against Republican John Porreca.

Moore has lived in Hudson for three years and is retired from university administration. Porreca, a self-described hometown boy, is a former Third Ward alderman.

Jobs — or lack thereof — for city of Hudson residents is a concern of both candidates. The city has seen more than its share of companies closing up shop and it this has had a devastating effect on Hudson.

Porreca said he feels that Empire Zone program funds should be used to revitalize manufacturing in the city and that the program isn't taken advantage of enough. He would also like to establish some committees aimed at making the city more "business-friendly."

Moore said that the agencies in charge of economic development are not getting the job done. He would also like to see the creation of a committee that would promote growth and find development resources. He would also find ways to build on the variety of different businesses that already exist in the city.

Moore recognizes that quality of life plays a big role in economic development and would work to address that as well. He said this includes maintaining and improving parks, creating affordable housing and supporting the Hudson City School District.

Porreca, also sees affordable housing as an issue facing Hudson. He worries about overcrowding at some homes that present some health and safety issues. He supports the plan to replace Bliss Towers.

The city needs someone at the helm of the Common Council that can keep control over the differing personalities on the Common Council. We feel that Moore is the person for the job. A job that he will commit to like it is a full-time job to make sure all the aldermen are informed on issues and resolutions before it's time for a vote. Moore's plans to help the city become more economically sound and viable are good ones. They demonstrate that he has a great understanding of how many of the issues that the city faces are intertwined. While Porreca may have experience from being on the Common Council, we feel that Moore's breadth of experience from his volunteerism and work experience will serve him well as the leader of the Common Council.

We recommend Hudson voters elect Moore as their next Common Council president.

There is also the news story:

Moore: Let's reshape the city

By Jamie Larson
Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
Published:   Saturday, October 24, 2009 2:14 AM EDT

Democratic Candidate for Common Council President, Donald Moore says that if elected he will work with city officials and business professionals to reshape the way the city, and Columbia County looks at bringing business into Hudson, and he already has plan to do it.

"We need to organize ourselves around the common objectives of business growth and revenue generation in Hudson," Moore said. "The leadership of Hudson must take charge of the city's economic development, because it is absolutely clear that the current county mechanisms are inadequate and unacceptable. Go on the Columbia Hudson Partnership Web site.  I challenge anyone to find the listings of the buildings, large or small, currently for sale in Hudson, or the mention of a port, or of a developing waterfront recreation area. The only mention of Hudson is a one-sentence description of the city as 'once a busy port city frequented by whalers.' Is this how Hudson will gain a competitive (edge)?"

A resident of Hudson for three years, Moore attends nearly every common council and committee meeting. He said the president has to be "chief cook and bottle washer," both leading the council, keeping it informed and moving smoothly, while also working in the trenches on policy to get things done.

Moore has received the endorsement of his party members, Democratic Aldermen and has been explicitly endorsed and supported by Mayor Richard Scalera and City Treasurer Eileen Halloran.

Moore said he already has a good relationship with Scalera and Halloran, and feels he can work as a cohesive team with the city's two top politicians. Moore said if elected he will bring professionalism and dedication to the head of the council.

Moore outlined four tasks he said will help make Hudson more economically successful, and can be implemented at the same time.

He proposes that if elected he would work with city officials, business people and nonprofit organizations to create a new city initiative with programs to support economic development for small and large businesses, and improving employment opportunities in Hudson.

Moore also suggests the city re-evaluate how to utilized assets such as real estate, uses for the deep-water port, and access to the Amtrak rail line and transportation arteries. In addition he proposes that Hudson develop a thorough "21st century" marketing plan that presents economic opportunities in Hudson by highlighting the character and potential advantages of doing business in Hudson.

Lastly, Moore proposes Hudson build up housing and social support services that he feels are critical to a "stable and enthusiastic local workforce."

"Accomplishing our goals during difficult times will take new structures, new levels of cooperation, and new direction." Moore said, "Hudson can have all this with the Democratic leadership of Mayor Scalera, Treasurer Halloran, and renewed vigor and focus in the Common Council."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Common Council #3 Economic Development - Press Release 10/19/09

Hudson Common Council President candidate Don Moore said Wednesday that the City of Hudson needs to immediately establish “an economic development action plan” to create jobs, expand businesses, and “take charge of our future, since the County plans show almost no interest in improving the economic opportunities in Hudson.”
Moore challenged the County’s economic development arm, The Columbia Hudson Partnership, to show where it has made a difference “either in what Hudson has to offer the economic development of the County or what Hudson needs to strengthen its standard of living.”
“Despite the economic recession, the County’s response is a $50,000 study released a year ago called ‘Assessing Opportunities for Economic Development: Building Businesses for Tomorrow in Columbia County’ that nearly everyone in Hudson, for very good reason, dismissed out of hand,” said Moore.  The ‘Baldwin Bell Green’ report, was “notable for two things,” Moore said.  “First, it hung economic development on bringing The Big Apple Circus to the County every year, and second it never once mentioned the City of Hudson, let alone suggested a role for the City in the County’s economic development,” he said.
Moore said that the plan he proposes, working with the Mayor, Treasurer, and Common Council would “undertake a rapid series of discussions with community and business leaders in Hudson on the creation of a new ‘Hudson development authority’.  The new City unit would identify business and job creation opportunities for Hudson residents, and facilitate workforce services like child care, transportation, and training.
“For over a decade, government officials and hundreds of people have worked hard on plans for Hudson’s future”, Moore explained.  He cited the Vision Plan; the Comprehensive Plan; the 2008 Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, a new waste water treatment system that meets all the Federal and State requirements of Hudson’s Long Term Control Plan for the river.  “Now it is time to put those opportunities into action,” Moore said.  “There were many good ideas and proposals that haven’t been implemented that should be and other ones that should be revised to meet the needs of the present.  We need to organize ourselves around the common objectives of business growth and revenue generation in Hudson,” Moore said.
“The leadership of Hudson must take charge of the City’s economic development because it is absolutely clear that the current County mechanisms are inadequate and unacceptable,” Moore said.  “Go on the Columbia Hudson Partnership web site.  I challenge anyone to find the listings of the buildings, large or small, currently for sale in Hudson, or the mention of a port, or of a developing waterfront recreation area,” he said.  The only mention of Hudson is a one sentence description of the City as “once a busy port city frequented by whalers,” Moore pointed out.  “Is this how Hudson will gain a competitive edge?” he asked. 
The candidate outlined these tasks, many of which can occur at the same time:
·         The Common Council and the Mayor hold discussions with city leaders and other experts on creating a new city initiative with programs to support a range of economic development for small and large businesses. This effort would involve agencies and organizations like the Hudson Development Corporation, the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Hudson Housing Authority, the Hudson City School District, the Columbia Green Workforce New York Office, and nonprofit service groups whose support services are targeted on improving employment opportunities and training.
·         Identify all the current real estate opportunities such as commercial buildings for sale or rent and their potential for adaptive reuse, potential uses of the deep water port, and access to rail lines and major transportation arteries.
·         Develop a thorough, 21st century marketing plan that presents economic opportunities in Hudson and the quality of life in our small but diverse and entrepreneurial city that make it a great place to live and to establish or expand a business.  Get the word out about the quality of life in Hudson including our openness to diversity and our family friendliness, our arts and cultural institutions, our first class medical center, our rapidly improving school system, and the proximity of in-city and near-city recreational and educational facilities, like the Henry Hudson Riverfront and Charles Williams Parks, and our Hudson Library.  All of these together show the freshness, breadth, and energy of the communities that make Hudson hum.
·         Build up housing and other support services that all economic development experts acknowledge are critical to a stable and enthusiastic local workforce.  “A city that can come together to replace Bliss Towers and transform the housing opportunities for its residents, a city that looks out for its families and children will be known as a city that knows how to take care of its own and to take care of business.
 “Accomplishing our goals during difficult times will take new structures, new levels of cooperation, and new direction.  Hudson can have all this,” Moore argued, “with the Democratic leadership of Mayor Scalera, Treasurer Halloran, and renewed vigor and focus in the Common Council.” 

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Soul of Our Community?

With great good thanks to John Farley's North Fifth Street blog post, More Coffee Please, check his link to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation funded Gallup Organization study called "The Soul of a Community" and related comments.  Gallup asked 28,000 people during 2008 in 26 communities (mainly small cities) “What makes a community a desirable place to live? What draws people to stake their future in it? Are communities with more attached residents better off?”  

The material is fascinating. It confirms studies that assert cultural and educational as well as social amenities and opportunities are what drive people’s enthusiasm for their communities. Gallup speculated initially they would only be addressing, the intersection of attachment to a community and economic opportunity. What they found seems to confirm my hunch that the level of attachment in Hudson comes in large measure because many of us, especially the newer residents, select the city for its character, which is all about its life, people rich and diverse culture.  Hudson is a community with strong, well-defined parts.

The residents of longer standing have their own set of deep social and economic connections that bind them here. The problem is that the level of economic opportunity is dwindling and changing for them (as it is for any of us) meaning that fewer younger members of these families can afford to stay and enjoy the benefits of a smaller, more intimate community. A question sits quietly by. It is that a sizeable number of older people are moving here. Is this the wave of the future? Is it enough, or at least something to seek out, market for?

We who have (almost) emptied our nests are an important part of Hudson's revitalization. We help (see Gallup) with the aesthetics factor, the social factor, and openness. But I hazard to say that attracting an older crowd is only one piece of a strategy if for no other reason than that their (our) income is passive.  It is unlikely to increase or to invest locally in a start up.

I see Gallup's point because many people here would corroborate their conclusions.  I prefer, as a city person, a built and peopled environment that is multi-dimensional. I want to be neighbors with young families and young people, people of color, gay people, people who have been here for generations, and those who, only moments ago, came here from thousands and thousands of miles away, who will want jobs and schools and recreation and social life and cultural stimulation just as much if not more than I will. Their lives, their decisions to come here or put down roots depend upon adopting notions of diversity.   To the extent that they do not depend upon it, there may be tensions.  People will come because it is a cool (open, sociable, pretty) community to visit. They will try to live here if we help them, as with long standing citizens of the city, to establish new businesses and cultural venues, find affordable housing and jobs.  And they will help us, if we help them, create the social spaces and educational opportunities (schools, libraries, HOH/TSL type mixed cultural educational opportunities) they require and that are appropriate to their tribes, for a fully functioning, sticky small city of the 21st century.

I posted twice on This post condenses and updates those. Others posted there and I encourage you to follow their comments and the Gallup material and findings.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Common Council #2 - Visit to the HCSD Board of Education

After a handful of false starts over the last few months (and with considerable appreciation for Peter Meyer’s cheerful insistence), Monday I attended a Hudson City School District Board of Education meeting at the new Junior High. I went with a willingness to sit and listen but with at best vague notions of what might come of the visit. I have met and know a few of the principles, Board members Elizabeth Fout and Peter, Superintendent Jack Howe. So some of the members of this tribe were not foreign to me. Neither, in outline, were its rituals. Although I once spoke the language of an active public education parent and of an education journalist, and my most recent professional experience was in higher education (15 years), languages and codes, as they should, evolve over time.

So while, for example, there was much discussion of the CELA (pronounced sea-la) teacher professional development program and its potential or actual effect on the ability to help children learn language, inexperienced observers were left in the dark as to the character of the program. Elizabeth and Peter, without prejudice to CELA, inquired whether the school administration had researched the experience of other schools using CELA since the cost of training was $36K plus. The administrators present spoke passionately about the program’s value, as well of a modestly upward trend in testing associated with CELA. But the decision to proceed was clearly of the sort that the Board as a whole had little interest in either questioning or rescinding. And it wasn’t obvious that there was reason to do so. The discussion, however, was indicative of a Board that is comfortable with and supportive of the school administration.

At the public comment period I took advantage of my three minute allowance to introduce myself. As the moment approached, and I was forced to focus, I considered what use might come of my visit. As a first principle, Hudson must have strong relations with the School system. What I hope I said clearly is that much of our future, of our children’s and families’ futures, our economic future, rests on improving the quality of education in our schools. We must all get behind this goal, whether or not we have children in school. But what can the City government practically do? What I learned last night from Jack Howe is that there are over 340 students in after school programs in the lower grades. Do our Youth Department programs speak to the School District’s programs? What use is made of our Library? Are student codes of conduct reflected in the City’s programs? Can the City and our nonprofits, the Hudson Opera House, Time and Space Limited, be assisted to do more to encourage student achievement? I am not presuming answers here. But a hard lesson learned in school is that the first step toward understanding, and change, is to raise your hand and ask a question.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bliss Towers: A New Future for Residents and for Hudson

Thanks to many people, but primarily to Bill Hughes and Wanda Pertilla, a process has begun to evaluate the possibility of replacing Bliss Towers with low rise mixed use housing and a unique senior housing complex. On Thursday evening, September 24, the first of many meetings was held to describe for Tower residents what could happen with renewed interest, thanks to the administration of Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress, in expanding financial support through the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for low and moderate income housing.

A great deal was described at the first meeting about the quality of the proposed housing (rents would not change, apartments would be larger, and townhouses will have yards), and that understandable fears about displacement could be set aside since the Federal government strictly prohibits displacement when old housing is replaced with new. What is so refreshing about this possibility is the important role it can play in improving the standard of living and sense of opportunity for over 130 families in Hudson. A sound strategy for economic growth and development in Hudson, as the professionals readily say, is that a workforce that is attractive to new employers must have decent housing. You can't have one without the other.

I visited the Towers with Wanda and Bill, about six weeks ago and got a good look at the physical facility and talked to residents. It will be important for many people to get to know the Towers because HUD will want to know that the entire City supports this plan, not just the Bliss Towers residents. So it will be important for a coalition of concern to get behind this proposal, to attend the meetings that will be called once application is made by the City Housing Authority for funds to undertake the replacement. And a coalition is building. It was clear at the meeting that replacing the Towers will have the support of the Mayor Scalera and Treasurer Halloran as well as many local Democrats, Republicans, Bottom Liners, and Independents. This is all to the good. We will also have the support of Congressman Murphy. Senator Schumer is a cosponsor of an important, comprehensive bill, The Livable Communities Act, that will likely become the funding program to which we will apply. The process could take at least five years, but the journey has begun and it will be one of which we can be proud when it is completed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What Can the Council Do #1

People ask, what can the Hudson Common Council do to make a difference? It can focuson growth in jobs and in small and large businesses, controlling and reducing taxes, affordable housing and job training, support for working families, preserving the quality and character of our diverse communities.

Then, it can put these priorities first. Work closely with the people and organizations, public and private, that are smart and effective at stimulating growth and a healthy city. Then we need to ask where city or county laws and ordinances can help, and where they get in the way.

Why do I want the job? I’ve spent my career in public service and my life working for my communities. I believe I have the experience, credentials, principles—and the desire—to make a measurable contribution to Hudson at a time when pulling together and giving back can make all the difference in the world for Hudson’s future.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Don Moore's Bio

Donald A Moore
Candidate for Common Council President
City of Hudson

• ccSCOOP, Columbia County, NY online news publication, 20th Congressional District Special Election coverage reporter and photographer, 2009


• BARD COLLEGE, Director of Alumni Affairs 1994-1996

• SOCIETY FOR AMERICAN ARCHEOLOGY, Executive Director 1993-1994

• AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF MUSEUMS, Deputy Director for Programs 1990-1992

• DANCE/USA Executive Director 1982-1990

• NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS, Congressional Liaison; Deputy Chairman 1977-1982

• FEDERAL COUNCIL ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES, a White House Inter-agency Task Force, Deputy Chairman 1980-1981

• US REP. JOHN BRADEMAS (D-IND), Press and Legislative Aide to the Chief Deputy Minority Whip 1973-1977

BARD COLLEGE, Bachelor of Arts in American Literature

Development, implementation, and management of a range of communication, marketing, and fund development initiatives that enhance organizational strength and service delivery.
• Program, staff, and board development
• Fundraising strategy and implementation for projects, operations, and capital campaigns
• Communication Strategies for public awareness and membership development
• Print and web information design, text, and photographs
• Conference and event organization and administration

CURRENT: Vestry Member and Officer of Christ Church Episcopal Hudson.

FORMER: Board Member of the American Arts Alliance. Treasurer of the Board of the Deep Listening Institute. Author of opinion articles in The Washington Post and The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Member of the Bard College Alumni Association Board of Governors. Co-Chair of the Christ Church Poughkeepsie $425,000 church capital campaign. Member of the Organizing Committee of the Dancing For Life AIDS Benefit at Lincoln Center. Volunteer at World Trade Center site after 9-11 preparing meals for firefighters and work crews. Co-Organizer of the After 9-11 Workshops and Speaker Series for students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Co-Chair of Annual Capitol Hill Public Schools 10K Race. Guest Lecturer on the needs and conditions of the arts for the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, American University, University of Tennessee, and George Washington University. Consultant to the National Endowment for the Arts; the American Assembly colloquium on The Arts and Public Policy; and consulting editor for the Journal of Arts Management and the Law.