Chalmers Petition

Recap of Council Meeting in the Recorder (here). Importantly the Recorder consistently used the term ‘petition’ which accurately describes the process.
Here is an interesting take on the petition numbers:
Overall % for demolition final tally = 443/469 = 94.4%
Overall % for demolition last week = 248/250 = 99.2%
Overall % for demolition (weekend only) = (443-248)/(469-250)= 89.0%
Clearly the shift from 99.2% to 89% represents a significant change in the population petitioned.
No more crunching as no more to be said that has not already been said.

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19 Responses

  1. After reading the synopsis of the meeting in the Recorder, I have to commend Councilman Leggiero and Supervisor Baia for their efforts in representing the residents of the 5th Ward. This is the way government was designed to work. The people contributing to these online forums have also provided insight and factual information to inform the public about changes that affect them, reenforcing the notion that you CAN make a difference.
    If you hear the dogs,
    keep on going.
    If you hear gunfire,
    keep on going.
    If you hear shouts and footsteps,
    keep on going.
    harriet tubman – c. 1820-1913
    The dogs barked and the people shouted! (I’ll leave out the gun violence)

    • flippinamsterdam says:

      Jerry,
      While we do not agree on a host of things, you are always welcome to post. However, I have a quibble in that you post the exact word-for-word comments here and on other forums such as Amsterdamit. I don’t think this quite adds to the quality of the debate if we are merely going to replicate talking points regardless of context.
      Thanks for hearing me out

      • I post comments on these two forums as part of this on-going debate to reach as many people as possible. I would start my own blog, but feel the number of blogs covering this issue is sufficient. I can no longer post on the Mayors blog Amsterdancin’ because she chooses to edit out opposing opinion. I hope you do not decide to do the same. Open communication requires opposing opinion and censorship for the purpose of controlling opinion shuts the process down.
        In all fairness my post today is not an exact replica but has been embellished.

        • flippinamsterdam says:

          I never edit comments and have no desire to restrict comments. Even if you choose to cut and paste, I will not prevent you from doing so but I wanted to draw attention to the issue as I am not particularly fond of the practice. So no, I will not stop you from posting– you have free reign.

    • ilovethesun says:

      Jerry,
      I asked Ms. Thane if she could honestly equate herself with Harriet Tubman and told her that was about as good as Kaufman equating the demolition of Chalmers to Ground Zero, her reply was the whole anonymity deal. I will say it again, she does not have a blog, she has a self promotional website. If you dare disagree… forget having your say posted! I am glad that we live in America, where you cannot be killed for having a different opinion or religous beliefs. Amsterdam is still in the US right? I am seeing a dictatorship in the works right now…so I am a little confused! 🙂

  2. Dream Weaver says:

    As I have been saying, this was a petitioning process not a survey.

  3. Karl Baia says:

    I completely understand that the petition process is open for interpretation. My next door neighbor started the petition in an attempt to find the opinions of the 5th ward and I commend him in doing so. I was approached to assist him in this and I said I would be more than happy to. 5 people in total carried the petition. I can say this about the petition process- while I carried it, I made an honest effort not to give my opinion to those signing. When people told me that they were for the luxury apartments I told them I would love to have their opinion on the petition. I have been fair and open about the process but the choices on this project are completely up to the city council. I assisted in the petition in an attempt to give residents a voice and I believe I did that. I respect all views and opinions on this project. In the end we all have credible arguments and concerns. In my opinion all are to be respected. Thank you all so much for caring about this city enough to be this passionate.

  4. w murphy says:

    Amsterdam.
    What images and feelings does the word provoke in you? No, I don’t mean the typical local images of urban decay- an industrial, upstate wasteland that time has passed by. Rather, I mean the images Amsterdam provokes worldwide, or a couple centuries ago when our founding fathers were seeking inspiration for a namesake for our little corner of the universe.
    Amsterdam evokes ancient European cities, grown up around historic rivers- architecture and landscapes inspired and modeled after classical Greco-roman codes and symmetry, shaped and altered to fit local styles and utilities. A special order, purpose, and inspiration dictated the size and layout of public and private buildings in many of our parent cities, and they were steeped in historical significance. We certainly couldn’t mimic histories that were centuries in the making, but we did attempt to bring over some of the old world touches to our humble city. For example, look at some of the local houses or buildings that are still adorned with columns at the entrance. They are informed by the classical order of greek architecture, and are usually either Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian in nature. If the column is Ionic, it usually sits on a wide base, has a fluted column (as opposed to the smooth, plain Doric model), and its crown is shaped like a scroll. The height of the Ionic column is typically nine times the size of the diameter at its base. Though we are far removed from the dictates of ancient European cities, we were far more connected a century or so ago when we wittingly or unwittingly yearned to mimic and carry on the ancient order of city-building based on mathematica, classical design, and high taste.
    The post-War era ushered in a more utilitarian way of life, and this new age of efficiency gave us our drab, squat cape-cods, ranches, and split-levels- all boxes for habitation and car storage, void of the connection to our ancient past. A more extreme example is the modern tangle of concrete roadways and bridges that ferried us all to the Great Mall downtown and choked off our views and access to the more authentic buildings and scenery. Alas, efficiency trumped style, design, and the historical underpinnings of our city. They not only choked the life out of the rest of downtown, they severed our very ties to our ancient European muses and traditions. The term Amsterdam was now more akin to a Thruway exit name than a historical European river city.
    Why bother with this seemingly esoteric, high-falutin’ exercise in name association for our little city? Well, I think it’s time we start thinking outside the box for inspiration, and far too often we mistake this for meaning think forward, when instead we should be looking backward first. We should take stock of our buildings and old street patterns and determine what meaning they have and how they can help us reestablish our identity. For example, there are a number of ostentatious old Queen Anne Victorians on Locust and Guy Park Avenues. They are living monuments to the turn of the nineteenth century city living, when Amsterdam jumped with both feet into Industrial era textile and knitting industries. They should be preserved at any cost. Likewise, the Chalmers Knitting Mill, Mohasco Mills, and Sanford’s old mill complex, include some amazing pieces of industrial architecture that hold decades of history and significance. They were not windowless boxes erected in a month or two, with thirty year obsolescence built into them. Indeed some of these buildings may succumb to the forces of neglect and abandonment, but whenever the opportunity comes along to actually salvage this history we should embrace it the same way we would run into a burning building to rescue a shoebox full of old family photos and memories. There is risk involved, but it is our very character, history, and personality that make it worth fighting for.
    That said, it’s quite scary indeed when our young representatives don’t understand the importance of historical adaptive reuse of buildings. In addition to being the more ecologically friendly thing to do, it respects the history and lineage of your community. In nearly every progressive city in the country this is the movement that has been embraced, and here we have the first serious developer in decades who happens to have experience in this and we show him the high hat?
    I would remind K. Baia and D. Roth that in addition to being mere mouthpieces of your constituents, we elected you to bring a more progressive, refreshing voice to city hall and county govt. We’re counting on young perspectives and ideologies to help save our future, not seal our fate. Instead of acting like old curmudgeons in a coffee shop, be proactive, take risks, look backward for inspiration, and then use it to help us move forward.

    • While I agree with historic preservation, the true gem of this area is the Mohawk. As part of the Erie Canal, the river was the lifeline that helped build this area. As such, it should be preserved and celebrated, not the factories that sucked the life out of the river polluting with PCBs and other carcinogens they dumped in the river. The Chalmers building has no historic significance worth preserving. It is a huge block of cement that prevents riverfront access that could be home to parks, a boat launch or just a view of the Mohawk that brought so much life to this area.

      • P. K. Dick says:

        Oh if ignorance is bliss you must be a happy fellow! The Erie Canal was a canal dug alongside the Mohawk River. The remnants of the canal are visible in many areas along Rt5S. Eventually, the capacity of the canal was insufficient and the entire river was harnessed with a lock system for barge traffic.
        The City of Amsterdam is not here because of the Erie Canal it is here because of the Chuctanunda which supplied water power to the mills. The mills then spurred immigration and that is why most people came here. The mills are part of that history. We have been tearing down mills for a long time in Amsterdam and nothing has been built in their place other than parking lots and empty fields. NOTHING. The Chalmers site is one of the best mill locations for redevelopment due to the water views. A multi-story building is the best way to maximize water views.
        But those are rational thought processes, and if you are attracted to high school drop-out Baia’s thinking – well there you go.
        P.S. I will help you throw your boat over the flood control wall.

  5. w murphy says:

    Jerry
    It is not a huge block of cement. It is an historic red brick building with high ceilings that was built by local craftsmen. The factories were the lifeblood of this smokestack community and are what put food on people’s tables and put Amsterdam on the map.

  6. P.K. DICK,
    I really don’t need your attempt at a history lesson. THe Mohawk River and Erie Canal go hand in hand. There would be no Erie Canal or city of Amsterdam if not for the Mohawk.
    The Chuctanunda was responsible for powering the historic carpet mills not the underwear factory on the south side which has no historic value. It is a blemish on the side of the river separating the people from Amsterdam’s true gem, the Mohawk.
    People want riverfront access for everyone, not views of the river from an elite few who can afford to rent a cement tower at $1100 – $1800 a month.
    The westerly cities had the right idea by developing tourism with their waterfronts utilizing boat launch sites and tour boats to take advantage of this areas true heritage. The Mohawk River Heritage Corridor Commission helps develop these plans.

    • flippinamsterdam says:

      By this reasoning, nothing should be deemed historic or worthy of preservation as most of the development was driven by the industrial age here. So this reasoning suggests that the homes, parks and public spaces built with money from the mills are equally blemished and worthless as Chalmers.
      The “elite few” comment is quite telling. Wow.
      We stand here with our plight today in large part from the ideologies above which you embrace and hold so dear.
      My mellow is seriously harshed.

    • P. K. Dick says:

      You don’t seem to realize that a Flood Control Wall separates that area from access to the river. Removal of the Chalmers Building will not create access to the river, just access to the wall. I wish this were not the case because it would be great to have a marina or other park there.
      You have fallen into a common mental trap. You want an option that is not an option and this precludes constructive consideration of viable options. It is like pulling up to a roadside ice cream stand that serves only chocolate and vanilla ice cream, and ordering pistachio. Then to your surprise nothing happens. Inevitably you become angry. You must acknowledge the unpleasant reality of the flood control wall.

      • I was trying to show that there are alternative options for Amsterdam’s revitalization. The Mayor has placed all of her eggs in one basket with the Chalmers project, suggesting that we are doomed if we do not agree with her opinion. From the Harmony Mills project we find that the process took 5 years to come to fruition from the time Uri Kaufman obtained the property. Because of the Historic Tax credits, the city saw ZERO tax dollars for 10 years. The “Field of Dreams” idea that Kaufman presented with his “build it and they will come” rhetoric is comical. The focus needs to be placed back on the overall project and I believe riverfront access is the key. Whether it occurs at the Chalmers site or elsewhere along the banks of the Mohawk.
        I believe removing the building and going with the original 2004 revitalization plan of shops, cafes, senior housing and a cultural center is much more beneficial to our residents. In addition, the development of a marina and riverfront access will help with tourism dollars.

  7. ilovethesun says:

    Flippin,
    Thanks for not restricting comments. Ms. Thane is very good at that. It seems she does not have a blog, she has a self promoting website, on which she does not allow comments that may not be in her favor. She also make comments about anonymity, she kills me…it is a blog. It does not make you a coward because you do not use your name. Just another point proven, where she is speaking about a subject in which she is clueless.

  8. James95 says:

    Did anyone notice that our wonder mayor, Ann Thane, has removed the link to the Amsterdammit site from her blog? I guess that she is afraid of the negative opinions on the chalmers project that are reflected there. How sad. Better watch out flippin amsterdam, you could be next to be banned from the mayors blog for creating a forum of discussion on various city topics.

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