Saturday, January 9, 2010

Which Republican do you like for Congress?

Local University Files Lawsuit Against Scozzafava

The Gouverneur Times is up with an interesting story today about Dede Scozzafava being sued by St. Lawrence University over back payments on the Wisebuys loan. They report that the university is seeking $75,000 that is remaining on a loan of $200,000 that has been due since last February. It appears that Dede, her brother Thomas and Joseph LaChausse personally guaranteed a loan and now things are quickly going south. St. Lawrence University indicates that the trio had signed a personal guarantee that if Wise Buys/Hacketts defaulted, they would pay the note.

But why did St. Lawrence University wait until after the election to file their lawsuit? They have been owed money since February. I guess it could just be that the SLU lawyers are finally getting around to it. But alumni and Dede supporters deserve to know whether there was ever any quid pro quo involved here and whether SLU was holding back on the Dede lawsuit so they could use their leverage to get them some colorful earmarks and green grants? Did the university play politics with its endowment fund? It may be hard to determine, but the timing is awful suspect. Certainly Dede could have paid back her share of the $75,000 owed to SLU by now had she not put so much of her own money into her congressional campaign account. Someone has some explaining to do here.

Update 1: Macreena Doyle, SLU's Coordinator of News Services, responded to our request for a statement on the timing of the lawsuit through e-mail saying that, "No -- we do not comment on matters of litigation."

Update 2: But has SLU ever commented on matters of litigation? This isn't SLU's first lawsuit. SLU filed a lawsuit against owners of a failed Mexican restaurant to regain more than $35,000.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Doheny Quickly Takes Back Media Attention

Matthew Doheny, in a bold and decisive move, sent this statement over to today in response to Assemblyman Will Barclay's campaign announcement. It appears as if Doheny is making an early move to parlay his economic background into an organized campaign focused primarily on job creation and standing up against special interests in Washington. Here is his statement:
With the nation attempting to rebound from the worst recession in generations, unemployment which continues to rise nationally and in New York, and a federal government that is running of trillions of dollars in red ink, the time for bold ideas and bold leadership is now.

Republicans in the 23rd District should have a wide range of candidates in which to choose who will represent them in next November's Congressional elections. When all is said and done, I believe that they will choose the candidate who best understands the economy, knows how to create jobs and will stand up to the special interests in Washington to stop the red ink.
It sounds like there are two very committed candidates solidly in the race for NY-23. describes the response as: "Matt Doheny Fires Back..." but it may be a wise move to turn the spotlight away from the candidate of the day. Will others formally join the fold soon?

Watertown Times Slow to Respond to the News Cycle

The Watertown Daily Times finally caught up with the news that William Barclay is running for Congress today at 2:18 pm, about three-quarters of a day after everyone else already heard.

But they did at least manage to get a quote from the candidate that I thought was worth checking out. State Assemblyman William A. Barclay, R-Pulaski, said Friday that,

Over the past several weeks, I have been honored to have been approached by numerous friends and supporters urging me to run for Congress,” said Mr. Barclay in a statement. “While I didn't run during the special election due to family reasons, I am deeply disappointed with the outcome of that race and feel that this time I should more thoroughly investigate running. To that end, over the next couple of weeks I plan on traveling throughout the congressional district to meet with party officials and various constituencies to discuss my potential candidacy. I am excited about starting this process and again I am honored to be urged to run.

Here are a few interesting pulls from the candidate's statement. First, he pointed out his patience in skipping out the special election last summer. Good for him to disassociate himself with that mess right off the bat! Second, he is planning on traveling the district over the next several weeks (something no other potential candidate is doing to our knowledge). Third, it looks like Barclay picked up a key political operative in Michael Backus, Dede Scozzafava's former campaign manager, who visited the Watertown Times office with the candidate recently.

What Sources in Albany?

The story about Governor Paterson stepping down and running for Congressman Rangel's House seat in a special election, pushed by anonymous sources in Albany, sounds a little suspect to me. Forgive me if I sound a little cynical, but isn't Congressman Charles Rangel the guy defending Paterson? Rangel is the same guy who said that Andrew Cuomo won't primary challenge the state's first black governor because it would be a "moral decision?" In other words Rangel is lining up his base of support for Paterson and Cuomo shouldn't dare try to run against another black politician again.

This is how I see things play out. Miffed at both Rangel and Paterson, Cuomo's PR team kicks into high gear to pit his opponents against each other. But I don't think Rangel wants to give his House seat up. And if Rangel's ethics haven't caught up with him by now how could they ever in the future? And if President Obama can't push Paterson out of the race, then I have a hard time believing that these rumors can either. Get ready for a wild Democratic primary!

Will Barclay for Congress? And add Sen. Wright to the list

Mayor Graham says that he got a phone call saying Assemblyman Will Barclay is entering the race for NY-23 and that the "Barclay checkbook is out." This is big news for Republicans in NY-23 and Barclay will be moved to the top tier for two specific reasons this week.

First, the money and name ID. Barclay has lots of both.

Second, he could become the only candidate with serious political and legislative experience. Hoffman's experience began last summer, as did Doheny's. It looks like all three of them are top tier candidates.

We are also adding former State Senator James W. Wright to our list of potential candidates this week. Some argue to me that Senator Wright's departure from the State Senate to take a lobbying job is what led to the Republican downfall in NY-23. A special election ensued that Darrel Aubertine won and now Democrats have a narrow lead in the State Senate. Had Senator Wright never left his position he could very well be our congressman today. But after all of that, could Senator Wright make a political comeback and take NY-23?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Just Speculation on Molinari

I'm no expert, but I am going out on a limb to say that I don't think many Republicans will take the news, that former Republican Representative Susan Molinari is considering running for US Senate, very seriously. She works in Virginia for Rudy Giuliani's law firm, but hasn't held elective office since the mid-90s. It was also strange that she said she would invoke the leadership of US Senator Charles Schumer in her first pitch to run for US Senate (as a Republican?).

But the weirdest things about Molinari's "testing the waters press" today is that she sent her own father, Guy Molinari, out to pimp for her candidacy. Guy, a former congressman and Susan's father was quoted saying, "All of a sudden I think, the best candidate in the entire country is my daughter." Then he bragged to Ed Cox, the GOP State Chairman, on her.

I am sure people had to read this news and wonder: just who in the world comes up with this stuff? My first thought was that maybe Molinari should run for Governor with Dede Scozzafava on her ticket for LG.

George Pataki must really not be interested in running though because it just doesn't make sense for Congressman Peter King to put himself back into the picture or for Molinari to even think about US Senate.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Political IV Comes Out from Hiding

We thought that Political IV may have fallen off the map, but we got him for this exclusive interview. Here is a Republican insider's view of NY-23 and local politics in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties. Enjoy!

Buggs Buddy Question: Thank you for taking the time to participate in our interview and thanks also for the insight you have offered for so long on your site, Your site was obviously one of the first around the North Country to cover local politics and culture. Because of that I am sure our readers would be very interested in learning about your thoughts on NY-23, local politics and the direction of the Republican Party. Please share with us when you first started your site and how it has progressed since its inception. Why did you initially decide to start your site?

Political IV Response: I began the site as an alternate forum and viewpoint to then blog Danger Democrat and I believed at the time that there needed to be balance to the online forum and exchange of ideas. It was a nice online exchange between Danger Democrat and Political IV which played off each other as the only two sites out for a long time, competition is healthy! As far as NY-23, it is obvious that incumbents are difficult to beat due to a variety of reasons; the power of the office and the ability to deliver solidifies a base of support and people are reluctant to oppose an incumbent, especially a first term incumbent who has yet to really endanger him or herself. That being said, the possibility that is being created is the ideological shift. The people primarily prefer centrist governing and tend resist being pushed too far left as with Barack Obama or too far right as with George W. Bush. You have to give Congressman Owens at least as many points as he had in the last race and he gains a couple with incumbency, which makes it a difficult road for a challenger.

BB: We have asked this question to multiple people because it is an interesting one. It seems like the Republican Party in NY-23 has some real problems it needs to work out if it wants to be successful in 2010. What direction do you think the local Republican establishment and the county chairs should take in managing the competing interests between moderates and conservatives? Can the Scozzafava's and the Hoffman's of the GOP coexist? And if you want to answer this -- which Republican opponent do you think would be the hardest and easiest for Owens to go up against in 2010?

PIV: I believe moderates and conservatives can coexist in the Republican party. Except for the far far radical right, I believe a reasonable person has respect for someone's social views. The issue that solidified people's view of the Republican candidate for NY-23 in the last election was her position on "card check" and her general (albeit quiet) pursuit of the Working Families line. She often referred to her position and John McHugh's position on card check as equal, while she failed to recognize that former Congressman McHugh had earned much more political capital and was able to expend it from time to time. I would say Barclay or Doheny are likely the fronts runners and have what it takes to win, both intelligent people. Hoffman is the easiest for Owens to defeat, it will be difficult, if not improbable for him to recreate the atmosphere in the last election.

BB: We asked Mayor Graham this question and his answer was "Deficit!" But what do you think are the main issues that Republicans should focus on in 2010 at the state and national level?

PIV: Basic - managing spending and the size of government and spending. The first one to figure how to prevent government from running deficits without taxing people out of the means - wins! It is the basic job of an elected official to manage finances and it amazes me the legislators of New York state get away with such mismanagement.

BB: Are you supporting any particular candidate for Governor in 2010? Do you think that Congressman Peter King could make a credible challenge against Kirsten Gillibrand for Senate? Are there any other candidates you are looking at who are considering a statewide bid?

PIV: I like Collins from Erie County for the Governor's race and I like what he is doing there. Gillibrand beats King. Gillibrand is extremely vulnerable in NYC and had to shift her ideology in order to build her support there, so it needs to be someone who can win there and that person just declined to run.

BB: I assume you mean Rudy. So what candidates or local leaders are you most excited about and who do you see as rising stars of the Republican Party in Upstate New York?

PIV: I think Josh Lynch has a future in politics in this area, there is a lot of youth out there that needs to be nurtured to be future leaders. It is difficult to get people involved, people have more structured activities and attracting good people is a challenge for both parties, we need to do a better job of involving youth and listening to them.

BB: What is your prediction on candidates that might emerge for State Senator Darrel Aubertine's 48th state senate district? Who do you think can mount a credible challenge to Addie Russell's state assembly seat and will Dede Scozzafava see a primary challenge for her state assembly seat?

PIV: I think we will see Patty Ritchie give it serious thought, but I am not sure she can win. I still like Barclay for state senate, I think Will Barclay is a very intelligent individual and if the electorate were to view this as if they were hiring the most qualified and capable person then Will Barclay would be State Senator. Darrel Aubertine is a nice enough person, but he is not qualified and he does not demonstrate leadership in the region as he should as State Senator. For the record I like Darrel as a person. There are a number of people who could challenge Addie Russell and win, but we are talking Assembly Republicans versus Assembly Democrats, there is a significant money advantage in the majority.

BB: PIV, thank you for your time. Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you, local politics or the Republican Party in NY-23 that might be of interest to our readers?

PIV: The process of designating election districts and apportionment is seriously flawed and that is why there are very few competitive elections, the redistricting process needs to be reform and I am a firm believer in term limits for state leadership positions such as Assembly Speaker, Senate Majority Leader and such. The system breeds dysfunction and New York State lives up to its potential of dysfunction.

BB: Well said. Thanks for your thoughts and analysis. I thought for a few days there we might have lost you for awhile, but I'm glad you are alive and well. With that, I hope that your blog will become more active again so we can provide additional information to the voters in NY-23. I look forward to future exchanges with you and everyone else in this important election year.

State of the State and a Few Other Items

Governor David Paterson's State of the State address today was actually praised by none other than the NYS Republican Chairman?

Here is the skinny on his remarks. Some could argue that Governor Paterson has tapped into some of the Tea-Party sentiments on issues of transparency and popular self-government. He focused his remarks on finding ways to measure the effectiveness of our state bureaucracy, impose spending caps, new ethics reform, term limits for the legislature and statewide offices and stated that, "there are more deficits up ahead that will require an even greater sacrifice." A lot of what I would consider conservative proposals.

The Governor also announced a public campaign finance system that would limit or eliminate corporate contributions and would provide 4:1 public matching funds. Paterson also announced an the Excelsior Jobs Program to focus on high tech and clean energy jobs, a Small Business Revolving Loan Fund for minorities and women and a Climate Action Plan to identify ways to achieve a very aggressive 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. A lot of what could be considered liberal proposals.

A few other items:

Mayor Graham points out an interesting thought piece by George Marlin who has some advice to NYS GOP Chair Ed Cox.

Jefferson County Legislature didn't vote on the PILOT last night. But Ken Blankenbush said, "I'm not saying let's throw out the whole PILOT." That statement could be used for or against him if he decides he wants to run for State Assembly this year and we might see Rick Lucas run for Assembly against Dede Scozzafava.

The Republican Hangover?

We aren't taking sides in the GOP knife fight that is about to ensue all across New York State and NY-23. But 2010 will be a tremendously important year for political parties all across the state and it will have a dramatic impact on the next round of political redistricting and the policies that come out of Albany and Washington for decades to come. With that in mind it is safe to say that Republicans are still suffering from "a major Scozzafava Hangover" that we aren't sure they will soon recover from anytime soon. Lets review!

US Senate:

First, there is no serious Republican candidate for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's US Senate seat. And it is starting to get late in the game for former Governor George Pataki to get into the mix. Senator Gillibrand is locking down endorsements and support from all corners of the district, while Republicans wonder into the wilderness. And if Former Tennessee Congressman Hank Ford were to win a long-shot Democratic primary attempt it would likely be even more difficult for the Republicans to pick up the US Senate seat left by Hillary Clinton.

NYS Governor:

Regarding the Governors race we have to be fair in saying Democrats have their own in-fighting between Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Governor David Paterson supporters, but it happens behind-closed-doors. Paterson is the first black Governor of the state and Cuomo is eyeing to take him out -- in my analysis, for right or wrong, that is a dicey move in statewide politics in New York. The Republican Party has an "okay" candidate in failed US Senate candidate Rick Lazio, and an unknown quantity in Chris Collins, an Erie County Executive, as Plan B. Rudy Giuliani and John Faso have already run away from the offer. For Lazio, it doesn't help with a major New York headline reads,"Even in G.O.P., Lazio's Bid for Governor is a Hard Sell." For Collins, it doesn't help that he is way behind in organization and fundraising. Some NY-23 chairs had fallen over themselves so much so that they set up a secret meeting with Collins that ordinary constituents weren't allowed to participate in. It sounds like NY-23 all over again. But on a positive note, even though Collins has yet to announce his candidacy, it appears as though the executive has garnered the signatures of at least 15 county chairs on a letter of endorsement including two GOP County Chairs from NY-23, Donald Coon of Jefferson County and James Ellis of Franklin County. But is that a wise move for the county chairmen after what just happened in NY-23? Voters in Upstate New York don't even know who Chris Collins is, anything about his record or what his uniting message will be. "Anyone but the Democrats?" Someone please remind the GOP that Democrats outnumber Republicans by something of a 2 to 1 margin statewide. The county chairs that make up in NY-23 may want to be careful when they are playing with fire.

More on the Collins Letter & NY-23:

Sounds like a good enough reason on the surface, but if Martin's logic is to first consult with her committee before making this type of decision so as not to alienate the local party faithful then why is she actively trashing Doug Hoffman, a potential Republican candidate for the NY-23 race, without first also consulting her caucus to see if they have her back? We got two angry e-mails this week from county leaders who were none to pleased with the contents of the Ogdensburg paper that Sunday.

Here is the skinny. It appears that in December Martin pushed a top-of-the-fold, front page, full-frontal attack on Doug Hoffman, just out of spite. Martin's name was littered in the text of the article with quotes like, "During the past congressional election Mr. Hoffman broke with the party," and "I don't think the Republican party has forgiven Mr. Hoffman. A lot of DeDe's supporters are still angry." She continued, "We need to have a broad-based party," then dug in a little more by pointing out that Mr. Hoffman lost in the general election to Mr. Owens, who won with only 48 percent of the vote.

And as if she hadn't made her point clear enough, Mrs. Martin dropped her opposition language and revealed her true vindictive character by stating that while the 11 county Republicans party chairs in the 23rd District drew sharp criticism from outside the district for not supporting Mr. Hoffman's candidacy, the reality is that Mr. Hoffman was among the bottom of the nine candidates who were questioned by party leaders during four public interviews held across Northern New York. "Republicans aren't going to embrace him. Republicans are looking for a more electable candidate." We were thinking that maybe Martin was referring to an incumbent Assemblywoman from Gouvernor, but we were actually referred to another story in the same paper on that same day, in which Martin was quoted as saying favorable things about another potential NY-23 candidate, Matthew Doheny. Doheny, another top-tier candidate with an ability to raise money, was able to draw nearly 100 supporters to a small-dollar fundraiser for his election campaign in Watertown last month.


The problems at the state level with recruitment are one problem. Local disenfranchisement is another. Infighting and throwing fellow Republicans under the bus in the local press is yet another. And dissatisfaction with the direction of the Republican Party is a whole different animal, too. But this hangover is not likely to go away in NY-23 when activists are complaining that they are fed up with the local Republican party chairs' complete intolerance, systematic dysfunction and strong-arm tactics. Maybe post-Scozzafava, Republican leaders don't have enough confidence in themselves to find a good candidate to challenge Addie Russell and Darrel Aubertine. Or maybe it is the potential candidates who don't have enough confidence in their county leaders to put their name and reputation on the ballot.

As we see the dynamics unfold in Clinton and St. Lawrence Counties we can be sure controversy will begin to brew in the others. And there are real undertones of a Republican grassroots rebellion like we have never seen before. For NY-23, some in the GOP camp fear that the Scozzafava hangover might be here to stay past election day 2010. There is a pill Republican leaders can take to cure their hangover, but it is an awful tough one to swallow.

Response to Jude Seymour & What's Really Up with Mayor Jeff Graham?

So the first part of this introduction is a bit extraneous and I apologize for it. But I was quite amused yesterday when Jude Seymour called me out on his Watertown Daily Times Political Blog for my online political pseudonym "Buggs Buddy." In his recent post referring to an interview I conducted with an Assembly candidate out east, Jude wrote that you could learn more about Mr. Kimmel's platform in an interview with "Buggs Buddy" at the new blog "What's Up NY-23?" <= That's us! Jude continued typing, "on a side note: it takes a lot give an interview to a person who won't use their real name." While I'm not quite sure what that *something* is, which Jude is referring to, might I suggest to our faithful readers that it was a good move for Mr. Kimmel to make an outreach to new media to get his message out. It will increase this chances of winning!

For newcomers to our blog, you can see the Buggs-Kimmel interview here where he shares his personal background and some of his core beliefs in a way that allows the voters to come here freely to help make their choice in who should be their popularly elected state assembly representative. I feel as though it is important to point out that politics is an important part of our heritage and our culture, but it can also be fun! That's what I do and that is what I am here for.

It is more than what I can say for Assemblywoman Duprey, Kimmel's main opponent, who at this point has not yet responded to my fair, scripted and easy set of questions for voters to decipher on our blog. It's her choice ultimately (the offer is still open), but maybe besides the point because we are still hopeful that we will be able to have an exchange with many other fine political leaders from NY-23 that represent both political parties -- just as we are also sure that Mr. Seymour will enjoy this next interview with everyone's favorite Watertown Mayor, Jeff Graham. And with that strange introduction over please hold your applause for our most exciting interview to date!

Buggs Buddy Question: Mayor Graham. It is an honor and a privilege to connect with you on some issues that people in NY-23 take very seriously. So thank you very much for agreeing to taking the time to participate in our interview. Your site,, covers a lot of issues dealing with local and national politics, the weather, popular culture and entertainment. Please share with us when you first started your site and how it has progressed since its inception. Why did you initially decide to start your site?

Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham Response: I started my blog last summer after finally figuring out how to do it. Other local bloggers like Ted Ford and Scott Gray (oops Political IV) were the impetus for getting started. I like writing and since my own career in media was a bit of a fizzle, this satisfies my need to write, muse and pontificate.

BB: That is great. We interviewed Ted Ford recently and you and see that interview here. We extended an offer to Scott Gray, but we are waiting to hear back. Maybe he will start a different blog? Can you please tell us what interests you have outside of politics, Sarah Palin news and Watertown history?

JG: Damn, you listed my scope of interest. I am a Yankees and Jets fan, and just enjoy the give and take of public policy and politics. I also enjoy owning Fort Pearl Tavern... It's a fun line of work.

BB: What do you think are the main issues that Republicans and Democrats should focus on in 2010 at the state and national level?

JG: Deficit... Deficit... and then maybe take a look at the Deficit.

BB: Got it. What candidates on the local level and the national level are you most excited about and who do you see as future leaders emerging from the Republican and Democratic parties in Upstate New York?

JG: I think this Matt Doheny could be an interesting candidate... He seems to have an active mind... Of course, I like Palin on the national scene. She has values and an idealogical compass.

BB: Interesting choices. We have Matt listed as a top-tier candidate on our site. Can you share with us what has been the most difficult decision of your tenure as Mayor of Watertown? What has been the easiest?

JG: The big commitments of money are tough, like the hydro plant renovation some years ago. The best part was during the ice storm when I had to try and provide comfort and encouragement to our workers and the citizens in a tough time.

BB: Do you have a prediction on candidates that might emerge for State Senator Darrel Aubertine's 48th state senate district? Who do you think can mount a credible challenge to Addie Russell's state assembly seat and will Dede Scozzafava see a primary challenge for her state assembly seat?

JG: Aubertine is in the driver's seat, but the best GOP candidate is the perky clerk from Heuvelton. I think Addie Russell is a lock... not just because Ted Ford works for her but she has really shown an interest in the job and the district. As for Scozzafava, I am not a Republican, so I will defer on whether she should have the audacity to run.

BB: What is the best political advice you have ever gotten?

JG: To run for Mayor. TV 50 Weather Person Stephanie Gorin told me to when the news was cancelled. I was going to run for Council but she said to go for the gold.

BB: I bet you are glad you took her advice now that you are the Mayor. Most of our readers already know you well, read your blog and some who read this interview may even listen to you on the radio, but is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you that might be of interest?

JG: I am a nice guy.

BB: Okay, now on a scale of 1 to 10 how do you rate President Obama's performance?

JG: 4... I don't like his ideology and he is on TV too much. I do think he is a decent guy and do not really dislike him... Just disagree with him.

BB: On a scale of 1 to 10 what do you think of our blog?

JG: Well a 10 of course.

BB: A 10? Spoken like a true politician. Thank you for the accolades. I heard you give us a shout out on the radio yesterday so I'll take you at your word. Do you think the newspaper industry will soon see their finish line with the emergence of blogs and social media outlets that get information out quicker and more efficiently? What, if anything, do you think the newspaper industry can do to blunt the impact of these new technologies on their ability to continue selling gray print on white papers?

JG: I stand ready to offer my recommendations for the salvation of print journalism. So far Mr. Johnson has yet to call.

BB: Do you have a New Years Resolution? If so, have you kept it so far?

JG: Lose weight... I will keep you posted.

BB: That is great. I am going to do a better job of finishing my carrots at the dinner table. In all seriousness though, I appreciate your participation. Thank you very much for your time. We will keep following the progress of your blog,, and your good work in Watertown. I think you might have that *something* that Jude Seymour is talking about. Hopefully we can get back to you for a follow-up interview at some point.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Who is Breaking all that Wind in Jefferson County?

The circus is officially coming to town. We aren't talking about the race for NY-23, or last night's season premier of the Bachelor where ladies put their tata's out to play with Bachelor Jake's heartstrings, and no, we aren't referring to the Buffalo Bills lousy .375 winning percentage this year either.

We are talking about tonight's BIG SHOWDOWN with the Jefferson County Legislature. To find out more about the proposed PILOT and the aggressive tactics being employed to develop wind energy projects we invited Bert Bowers, Co-Chair of the Coalition for the Preservation of the Golden Crescent and the Thousand Islands, to give us his perspective on things. Bert's team, has been farting all over -- doing everything they can to break wind and put a stop to what they believe is an unfair and unsustainable proposal to develop wind farms on the eastern shores of Lake Ontario. The debate tonight, it seems, goes well beyond some ramshakel island you can find heading south off I-81 from Watertown. It is about something much, much bigger than you or I, or this awesome blog.

This is really a debate about the proper role of county government, unelected bureacurats making decisions that directly affect our everyday lives, our property rights and values, our tax structures as well as basic transparency in government. On nights like these where rumor has it the people are coming out en masse to defend their property, their environment and their way of life, you just have to wonder why Congressman Bill Owens and no other Republican candidate for Congress has made an effort to reach out to this team of people that make up this formidible citizen lobbying group making headlines across NY-23, And so we begin!

Buggs Buddy Question: Bert, thanks for taking the time to address this fascinating topic which has so much relevance to our politics and our way of life in NY-23. Can you please tell us what the most important thing you have learned about wind development since the debate came to the eastern shores of Lake Ontario?

Bert Bowers, Co-Chair of The Coalition for the Preservation of the Golden Crescent and the Thousand Islands, Response: Wind power has not, in this case or in general, been proven to reduce overall use of fossil fuels or reduction of greenhouse gases. Wind developers claim that WTG installations are "clean and green," but do not supply any analyses to demonstrate that wind power actually reduces the use of fossil fuels or the emission of greenhouse gases. The poor efficiency of wind power is not a result of deficiencies in the design of the turbines, but is simply a result of the natural variability in the wind's velocity. We are asked to accept that all of the environmental problems created by the construction and operation of this proposed facility are acceptable or are in some way mitigated in order for the development to proceed.

We are asked to accept all of these negative effects based on the unsupported assumption that the electricity produced by the turbines will enable utility companies to significantly reduce their use of fossil fuels and the consequent emission of greenhouse gases.

This assumption that the WTG fulfill their intended purpose is questionable because of the extreme variability of the wind. The operation of the WTG effectively magnifies the variability of wind, as the kinetic energy in wind is a function of the cube of the wind speed. Thus a doubling of wind speed will cause the WTG to produce eight times the energy or conversely if the wind speed drops by half, the electricity will be merely one-eighth.

The only types of existing generators capable of accommodating the extreme variability of the wind are hydro-power and simple gas turbine powered generators. These are the generators that will need to be used to “fill-in” the approximately 70 % of the WTG rated capacity that is not produced by the wind turbines due to the natural variability and unpredictability of wind.

Obviously, to the extent that hydro-power is used to balance the variability of the wind, there will be no reduction in fuel usage or emissions as we will simply be substituting one form of non-polluting power for another.

If the balancing is done with simple gas turbines, it will require them to be operated in a very inefficient manner. This mode of operation is similar to a car being operated in a manner that includes sudden stops and jackrabbit starts. The fuel economy will be poor and a high ratio of unburned hydrocarbons will be emitted. There are a number of available studies that indicate that the provision of more efficient, combined-cycle gas turbines alone would be more efficient and reduce both the emissions and investment than the case of simple gas turbines combined with WTG installations. All we see from the wind energy proponents are the meaningless slogans they promote such as “Clean, Green and Free.”

Buggs Buddy: Has Congressman Bill Owens or any of the potential NY-23 Republican challengers met with your group to learn about your issues and concerns?

Bert Bowers: No, but the Coalition is barely two months old.

Buggs Buddy: Many people, when they think of wind energy, automatically think “green.” They think that “green is good” and that since wind is renewable it must be good for the environment and that it therefore must be good for the residents of Jefferson County. Some critics might say that the people in Henderson just don’t want the wind turbines because they are flat-out ugly and might devalue private property, not because they are harmful for the environment. Can you give us a sense of how you respond to your critics when they bring up these issues, or the fact that proponents say they are getting a real deal with federal support?

Bert Bowers: I don't favor turbines because they cannot and will not save us from using fossil fuels to generate electricity (See answer to your first question above). They create an impression among the public that we are taking action to solve our problems, but we are simply handing out government money to groups of investors who qualify by building wind turbine facilities. Most of the stimulus funds handed out for wind turbine development have gone to European companies. The only "green" is the money we give away to wind turbine developers.

Buggs Buddy: Some activists who oppose the PILOT say other local citizens who are also opposed to wind development are scared to speak up, that people are fearful of being targeted by elected town officials. Do you think there is any truth to that? Do you believe town officials are vindictive or that they have a real financial stake in the wind project? And have most of your inquiries been answered by local officials, regulators and developers who have an interest in seeing the project move forward on Galloo Island?

Bert Bowers: No. I have been speaking out against the wind developers for the past three years. I think it is more a case of people not being aware of what is going on or being uninformed or misinformed. There are a number of Town Officials and County/State Officials who are clearly conflicted on this issue.

Buggs Buddy: Do you think wind developers are deliberately targeting poor rural areas? Do you think there is any legitimate place for wind developers to go in New York State? Would you feel differently about the project if the subsidies were going to local manufacturers of the turbines?

Bert Bowers: Yes, they are targeting poor, rural areas. No, I do not believe there is a place anywhere in NYS for wind development -- it is clearly a hoax. I would hope that NY manufacturers would steer clear of manufacturing these useless machines.

Buggs Buddy: Will you be working to replace any legislator that supports the PILOT or other measures that would allow for expanded wind power development? What is your next plan of action in dealing with the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency?

Bert Bowers: Yes, I will oppose any official who works in favor of the wind developers. I am on record as opposing the very idea of a PILOT for a development that, in the Golden Crescent/Thousand Islands area will cause a net loss in employment by chasing away the tourist/vacationer community who are one of the principal supports of our local economy.

Buggs Buddy: Bert, thanks for your time and your answers to our questions. We will be following the issue and how the Jefferson County Legislature votes on the PILOT. We hope to stay in touch and continue the dialogue with you and your team. Best of luck to you!