Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Man Bill Cherry is Afraid to Talk To

The latest victim of the divisive NIMBY politics associated with Reunion Power’s bid to install an industrial wind farm in Richmondville is a proposed municipal power company for Schoharie County. County Treasurer Bill Cherry proposed creating a public power company to provide electricity to country residents at a cheaper rate than National Grid. Currently, the Town of Richmondville already has a municipal power company and provides Town residents with electricity at lower costs.

The creation of a county-wide municipal power company has real potential to lower energy costs for Schoharie County ratepayers, and as a pretty significant side benefit, it would create a few new jobs. A resolution had been presented to the County Board of Supervisors and Cherry had been exploring talks with Albany County about creating a two-county program. The discussion had been moving along, until Bill Cherry found out that Albany County Legislator Sandy Gordon (with whom he was working on the project) was involved with Reunion Power, the very same Reunion Power of Richmondville wind farm fame. After finding out about Gordon’s involvement Cherry stopped short in his talks and has since put the whole issue on hold.

Ostensibly, Cherry cited a potential conflict of interest as the reason for his refusal to work with Gordon. However, that explanation simply doesn’t pass muster. It is obvious that Bill Cherry simply doesn’t want to get pulled into the political sh*tstorm raging in Richmondville over the wind mills. One incumbent town supervisor (Bernocco) was already defeated because of it. Cherry just doesn’t want any of that taint blowing his way.

But Cherry can only be blamed so much for his political cowardice, as most politicians would probably elect to play it safe in this situation. The real blame lies with the anti-windmill activists in Richmondville, whose scorched earth campaign has driven a wedge into the community and embittered local politics.

Sandy Gordon is not the problem here. The real problem is the glorified NIMBYism in Richmondville and a lack of political will to appropriately dismiss it. Cherry made the politically smart move by distancing himself from Gordon. Meanwhile Schoharie County is still paying unnecessarily high electricity rates to an overseas company, when it could be exploring a cheaper local alternative.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cherry made a plainly smart move. :( How sad that an individual who could be pro-active in siting alternative energy resouces could become so disillusioned. As for Mr. Gordon: I only wish that he, along with the other sneaks running loose, could be put on a big white coach bus equipped with an automatic PILOT so they can ride right on out of Schoharie County...but wishing does not make it so.

Hysterical Too said...

I hope it is just as obvious to everyone else that reads this blog that the author is blindly for wind power and blindly against anyone that is not. He wants to use sound planning practices in all other cases, glorify other groups (DCC) for raising a ruckus, but anyone speaking out against wind is just a NIMBY to be dismissed. I say put your money where your mouth is and make sure you live next to a wind turbine as soon as you can Sean/Kevin. Then speak to us on all the merits.

Kevin Federlein said...

I hope it is as obvious to everyone that some people have been reading this blog very selectively, because what I actually said was that nobody should have to live next to a wind turbine if adequate setbacks are adopted. Even if sound planning practices are used, there are those who will remain opposed to wind farms, this is what I'm condemning. This is NIMBYism. If you are an adult, act like it and stop trying to put words in my mouth and distort my position. I can't explain it again or make it any simpler for you.

And stop refering to yourself as "us". I know you think it gives your posts some added validity, but I assure you, it comes off as cheap and transparent. A blatant reliance on a rhetorical crutch doesn't help you or your cause.

Hysterical Too said...

Point taken.

The right decisions are being made with wind, the setback group demonstrated this just this week. The squabbles and pompous points of view from both sides will end and Richmondville will get a wind code that will be better thanks to a lot of people --- including people that belong to SVW.

Look past and stop attacking the most notable personalities and realize that SVW is a pretty large group of people with different personalities that may not always agree on the fine details but know the process in Richmondville was broken and needed fixing. I admit that I have been frustrated at times and written and said things I later regret. No matter what is being written on this blog and who attempts to dazzle who with clever banter, I know that any wind project will be better in Richmondville because questions were asked and the process was slowed down.

One thing I will never forget is that the incumbent supervisor wanted to adopt an ordinance as quick as possible with cursory input from the public. Others encouraged this supervisor because they only wanted a lax code that would result in a project that served their financial or other needs --- not Richmondville’s. These actions prompted a group like SVW to form.

Thanks SVW for helping Richmondville to uphold what this blog author upholds – real and meaningful citizen participation. Thanks Richmondville setback group and town board members for taking your time to research and do the right thing. You have proven that the process is frustrating but if given a chance it works.