In the past few weeks a number of people have been working feverishly to put all of the logistics together to host a Mayoral debate in Hudson. The Register-Star, WGXC Radio, Martin AV Services and a number of individuals have all been working in concert to allow the voters to hear from and speak with the candidates who wish to lead Hudson as Mayor.
The location was set, the debate would have been broadcast over the radio and streamed live to the web. I was asked if I would participate, to which I responded that I would debate any place, anytime with any format.
The only thing holding things up was Mayor Hallenbeck, who could not decide whether he would do it or not. It now appears that he will not.
It is incredibly disappointing that Mayor Hallenbeck has refused to participate in such a well organized and needed debate. All elected officials should face their constituents and make the case for their reelection. But his refusal really comes as no surprise. The Mayor has no plan for Hudson's future and has no record of success to stand on. Not wanting to further expose his lack of vision and the lackluster record of his first term any further publicly, makes perfect sense. It's just more of the same.
The Mayor has done nothing to unlock our waterfront's potential. Instead of more access to the waterfront, he brought us a fenced off Fugary and a fenced off cement plant with no plan for the future and no access. Wasted potential and wasted time.
While the tax burden continues to drive residents away and hold back development, the Mayor trumpets a 0% tax increase which was nothing more than a shell game based on "anticipated revenue" from the sale of properties which never happened. His 0% percent increase was really a $300,000 hole in the budget. But he won't talk about that until after Election Day. All this while he gives sweetheart deals to wealthy developers of questionable ability and questionable motive.
Even though it has been known for months that Garth Slocum, Hudson's Sole Assessor would not be reappointed, Hallenbeck has done nothing to bring someone new (and better) on. All at a critical time when every taxpayer must reregister to keep their STAR exemption and right before seniors and the disabled must provide their updated documentation. This is a fiasco waiting to happen, and it will only hurt our frailest neighbors.
Later this month he will also will have no one in the Code Enforcement Office. Given the code issues surrounding building, renovation, plumbing, and quality of life issues like garbage and sidewalks that Code Enforcement is responsible for, our poorly enforced code will have no one enforcing it. The Mayor and his administration are asleep at the wheel or completely missing in action.
But where he has failed most of all, is addressing the issues facing residents of the neglected and forgotten wards on the North side. The people who live in the most underserved areas of the city have been watching while the Mayor (who hasn't been seen in these parts of town since campaigning here two years ago) scrambles to make it look like he has done something to help break the cycle of poverty, crime, addiction and despair. But they know, we know, that he has done absolutely nothing to change their neighborhood or to improve their lives. But they will not be fooled again.
So it is not surprising that he would not want to be further exposed in public, where his lack of vision and poor leadership skills would have been even more obvious than they are already. With so little to stand on, I get why he has chosen not to debate. But will the public accept this disregard and disrespect? Time will tell.
I look forward to meeting with and hearing from all of Hudson's citizens. I will be announcing plans shortly for a Town Hall meeting to take the place of the debate which the Mayor has declined. I encourage people to attend and let your voice be heard, so that we can continue making Hudson more sustainable and more respectful, where each person's contribution is appreciated and honored.
Candidate for Mayor