Depending on who you talk to, NYPA boss Richie Kessell is either an affable gentlemen who has been around long enough to know how to get things done or a political hack whose career has been based on kissing the hind side of whichever side is in power.
Displaying the more positive attributes listed above, Kessell decided that maybe NYPA didn't do enough in re-licensing for local communities not in the Niagara Power Coalition....communities like Lockport, NT, Amherst, etc.
So Kessell called a confidential, top secret , "no one can ever find out about" meeting within the past couple of months with his team and local officials to discuss NYPA doing the right thing for these communities and all of WNY. So far, so good, right?
Local officials were finally excited that maybe, just maybe, NYPA was going to be a partner rather than an adversary. At the meeting, NYPA put one take it or leave it offer on the table: they talked about low-cost energy programs THAT ALREADY EXIST and then offered to create a $5 million revolving LOAN fund for economic development projects.
The reaction from our local guys was somewhere between outright laughter and complete disgust at this ridiculous offer. And let me reiterate that NYPA did not want any of this to go public and made it clear this was the ONLY offer coming our way. After all, re-licensing is over, this is simply a goodwill gesture on the part of NYPA, they don't have buckets of money to just giveaway and my favorite NYPA-ism of all....they have a legal and moral obligation to protect their bondholders.
Well, needless to say, this offer was rejected. AND THEN JUST WEEKS LATER, poor NYPA gifted $750 million to Governor Paterson and his cronies to fill the state's budget gap. And the bulk of those dollars come out of profits made at the Niagara Power Project.
Mr. Kessell said this was the right thing to do and the $750 million really wouldn't have a negative impact on NYPA finances. And as for the precious bondholders? I guess they can go screw themselves now.
So, the best NYPA can do for the people impacted the most by the Project is an insulting $5 million loan fund, but they can turn 3/4 of a billion dollars over to the state without blinking an eye.
Going back to the first paragraph of this post, I think it's clear Kessell is a hack.