Replying to politically charged personal attacks is often counterproductive because more important issues facing the City demand prioritization. I must take a moment, however, to respond to a letter written by a city worker as its misinformation is a disservice to the public.
In the letter in the Hudson Reporter dated May 26, the writer implies that I should step away from an important civic meeting due to a “conflict of interest.” The writer was either too lazy to learn the nature of the meeting or simply chooses to go with the sensational for political gain. In either case, he is wrong and must be called out.
The meeting being referenced is for the Central Avenue Block 2901 Study Area (the city parking lot on Central Ave between Bowers and Griffith) which is being presented by the Division of City Planning in partnership with the Central Avenue Special Improvement District. In their search for a large centralized meeting location close to the site, I received a request to use my storefront location at 366 Central Avenue. The space has been used for many community gatherings over the years and is very accessible.
The meeting’s goal is to educate the community about the study area, gain feedback, and shape a collective vision for the site. My participation at the meeting, if any, would be as a member of the audience. That is all. There is no formal action taking place at the meeting where a “conflict” would be a concern. The writer chooses to ignore this fact in order to push his conspiracy theory. Readers should ask why his claim of wrongdoing is conveniently expressed in a public letter instead of being reported to the proper law enforcement authority. The answer is because his claim is completely baseless.
Community input will shape the redevelopment plan and everyone is encouraged to participate at the meeting(s) and contribute to healthy public discourse on future development. The Division of City Planning is staffed with licensed professionals. Concerned residents and taxpayers should be confident that Mayor Fulop’s administration will draft and present a community-driven redevelopment plan.
It’s no secret that I have an interest in two properties within the study area as stated on my Financial Disclosure forms which is public information. I have, and will continue to, abstain on matters related to the redevelopment plan under the advice of legal counsel. If the redevelopment plan reaches the City Council and is adopted by the other members of the City Council, it will do so based on its merit and community support.
The writer is a street-politician with a failed attempt to hold public office. During his last campaign, he was asked how voters could trust that he would vote in their best interest if he needed expressed permission from his political boss. He struggled to answer and replied, “How the heck do I answer that?” Not much has changed since he lost. He still puts political interest ahead of public interests.