It was a hell of a day in Albany yesterday, as Gov. David Paterson delivered what is likely to be his final State of the State address to lawmakers and onlookers. Reaction was mixed, with most of the criticism of Paterson's speech coming from his fellow Democrats.
From our perspective, there was a bigger story out of Albany: the appointment of State Senator George Maziarz as Chairman of the Energy Committee.
Energy issues have long been a priority of Maziarz, and he has been, rightfully so, critical of the New York Power Authority. The state's sweep of over half a billion dollars in NYPA revenues and their repeated failure to provide sufficient low-cost power to employers and potential employers in our region has been widely discussed.
In addition, the Niagara County Legislature's lawsuit seeking to reverse the sweep of hundreds of millions of dollars on NYPA profits, which are generated here in Niagara County, just added a whole new dimension with the appointment of Maziarz to the chairmanship, as he has been very supportive of the legislature's efforts.
Richie Kessel, president of NYPA, is likely not too enthusiastic about the appointment of Maziarz, as Kessel has been in Maziarz' cross hairs before. I'm thinking the phone call from Kessel to Maziarz congratulating him on his new appointment will be a tough one for him to make. Then again, considering how freely the bullshit flows from Richie's mouth, I think that he may actually be able to sound sincere when he makes that call.
Kudos to Maziarz for taking the appointment. Maybe....just maybe, NYPA will start showing this community, our community that has generated billions in revenue for them, the respect that we deserve.