July 29, 2009

Stand And Deliver

Last night's Niagara County Legislature meeting was filled with promises of future benefits for the county and acknowledgements of a lack of past assistance from New York Power Authority President Richie Kessel.

Stating how NYPA has failed the county in the past, Kessel stated, “To be truthful, we haven’t done enough here. Last year, we had our most successful year of operations ever at the [Niagara] Power Project. We have a job to do collaboratively to help the county.” That's great, thank you for, if nothing else, stating that you understand our frustration.

When asked by Legislator Jason Murgia if the profits generated at the Niagara facility should go back to the taxpayers and the ratepayers of this community, Kessel said that they currently do to some extent, but it needs to be more. Fantastic. Another plus for you, Richie.

He also promised Legislator Renae Kimble that he would recommend to Gov. Paterson that a Niagara County resident be appointed to one of the vacant seats on the Power Authority board.

In addition, Kessel suggested a working group between the county and the authority’s senior staff to discuss issues of mutual importance.

That's four for four, Richie. I'm gonna start calling you "butter", cuz you are on a roll!

Now, I like to look at myself as somewhat of an optimist. But I gotta tell ya, I'm not buying it. Am I hopeful that Kessel is a man of his word and will deliver some tangible results for Niagara County? Yes. Do I know enough about the downstate mentality and its perception of the rest of the state to know better? Absolutely.

So, I'm not going to sit hear typing all of the reasons that I think Kessel will fail in his multitude of promises to Niagara. I'm simply going to say thank you for coming to Niagara and spending this time addressing the concerns of the county legislature.

That being said, you've set the bar pretty high for yourself with what you've brought to the table.

As you undoubtedly found, frustrations run pretty high up here when it comes to NYPA, but we're willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, for now. And getting one deal done is not causing anyone to do handstands. In other words, you're not getting off that easy.

So it's up to you, Richie. Stand up, be a man of your word and deliver for Niagara.

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