Aug 12, 2010

Chris Gibson's Big Idea: save energy with more traffic!

Expand the Northway? Now you're thinking

Keep the customers (contributors) satisfied

Case Study: When photo-opp's go bad

The time is now to reinvent energy policy

Let someone else do it! Now there's a philosophy worth grabbing onto every now and then.

When WEXT-The Exit first aired, I made a point of sending its GM Chris Wienk a thank you note. This wasn't simply an appreciation for filling the region's culture gap with a much needed indie-rock, long tail radio station, mind you --- it was to thank him for saving me $50,000 . Such was the budget being kicked around in these quarters to do the same thing, albeit with an internet-based offering. Mr Wienk and company were now willing to do the heavy lifting. Bravo!

That thought came to mind as I started to write this very post, a reaction to one more example of the usual mindless nonsense that flows from the lips of incumbent or wannabe elected officials when it comes to addressing the pressing issues of the day. In this case, it was the the reflections on energy policy from a pair of local yokels.

First up was Chris Gibson, the Republican challenger to Scott Murphy and his 20th Congressional District seat. Playing to the usual cheap bleachers, the gentleman used the backdrop of a local farm to rail against the climate change/energy bill making its way thru the Congress at the time (note: since killed in the Senate by the you-know-who party) as the photo-opp to strike against "its costs to our small family farm" and the inherent evils of cap & trade. We disagree, but it's all fair and worthy of a discussion

Furthermore, Mr Gibson should at least be given credit for taking it a step further and at least offering a possible counter-solution to the nation's energy dilemma. Such a tactic is refreshing to hear from the Party of No, No, No! We certainly hope he continues doing more of the same as this campaign heats up.

Instead, it was the actual – and incredulous – proposed solution that Gibson offered that had us ready to roll the presses. “Build an extra lane on the Northway!” was his brainstorm and rallying cry. OK, there goes a few hours as I unleash on this guy, I figured.

But Fred Daley, editor at the Hill Country Observer, stepped up to the plate to save me that effort. His July 10th “Candidate’s energy policy? Even more of the same” nailed it better than I could have. Here are some excerpts:

“It’s a strange idea from a candidate who otherwise talks a lot about how Congress is spending too much and running up the federal deficit. Adding a lane to an interstate highway costs a minimum of about $20 million a mile, so Gibson’s grand plan for the Northway could easily total $250 million, perhaps far more....

And what would it accomplish? A wider highway would spur a wave of new McMansions in Saratoga County and beyond -- and more retail sprawl at every highway exit. In 10 years, the wider Northway would be even more congested than the current one. For anyone who cares about the region’s quality of life, this is a spectacularly bad idea...”

Editor Daley went on to rightfully point out that Gibson's campaign is financed in large part by the local Sprawl Industry, citing specific contributors. “It’s because of exactly this kind of axis between government contractors and politicians that our national energy policy is in such desperate need of an overhaul.”

Candidate Gibson didn't stop there with this Open Mouth, Insert Foot act, however. Next up was his call to “privatize railroads”. Again, yours truly was chomping at the bit; but why bother when a much better wordsmith had already taken the reins? To again quote Mr Daley:

“Unfortunately, no private company is going to step forward to compete with the government-run highway system, especially when politicians like Gibson might decide to sink hundreds of millions of dollars into expanding that system on a whim.”

There you go. Thanks, Fred. Now I can't make you do all the work here, so allow me to take a shot at zero'ing in on the equally problematic mindset from another politician, this one a sitting official in Saratoga County.

Bill Peck is the Town of Northumberland's representative to the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors. When asked for a comment on the Champlain-Hudson Power Express Transmission Line Project – which would bring much needed power to the metro NYC market on railroad right-of-ways in the Champlain and both Hudson Valley regions, Mr Peck salivated:

“I see an opportunity. We might be generating tax revenue,” he said.

Perfect!. Here's a project to bring desperately needed energy (most of it of the renewable variety) to the biggest driver of the state's fragile economy, which as a result would reduce energy costs to ALL New Yorkers (because of peak energy pricing and transfer) and it is met with a “goody, we can hit them up for the property taxes for burying those two 5” cables on land within our boundaries!” reaction. Someone wake me up from this nightmare!

But yes, that is how it works for most energy and transportation initiatives. If a project (be it a rail or energy transmission line) is running through a community, it goes on that community's tax rolls. Evidence shows that New York's local communities take this opportunity to the bank and back again, with outrageously overpriced assessments and fees. Look it up.

There is one exception to this formula, of course: HIGHWAYS! Adding Mr Gibson's new Northway lane will not raise any assessments in the many communities through which it runs, because there is no such assessment to begin with!

So the standing question for Mr Chris Gibson is this:

With local officials like Bill Peck out there, looking at energy and transportation infrastructure investments by the state and federal governments as being nothing more than revenue opportunities which they are certainly not ever going to give up... combined with the fact that railroad operators suffer from a tax burden not levied on their competing highways..... combined with the fact that you want to invest even more government funding into those competing highways … well, please tell us why exactly you think any private entity would want to get into the railroad business?

It's this kind of a mess that prevents us from meeting the challenges confronting us. What's needed is effective leadership willing to propose comprehensive solutions, not photo-opp's. A stretch, maybe?

But this assumes there is first an understanding of these mega-challenges to begin with. That might be the real stretch here in all of this.

(R Millis)


The Hill Country Observer is a weekly print publication serving the eastern NY / western Mass / western Vt communites the goold old fashioned way: with quality journalism. Inquire about getting a look by emailing Fred Daley.


Real Deal said...

Stop trying to make heads or tails out of the Republican's logic. It is an exercise in futility. Or insanity. One of the two.

When's Uncle Joe Bruno stopping by to visit you again?

Eco-local Guy said...

How bout we put a rail line up the middle of the northway corridor. It's got to be cheaper than expanding to another traffic lane. They could put a branch line over to Global Foundries in Malta. There's a major sucking sound coming from that direction (like all the money the state doesn't have). Speaking of sucking, maybe BO's second stimulus will pay for it. you can bet Scott Murphy will vote for it!

A True American Citizen said...

Murphy is such an obvious choice in this race. Gibosn is your typical brain dead Republican without a clue nor an original idea in his head.

It won't be automatic, though. Not in this era of a media that is dead set with an agenda of putting lunatic mouthpieces front and center for the simple purpose of causing chaos among the population.

Evil lurks among us, and it wears the stripes of the Republican right.

Anonymous said...

But what would Homer do?

Anonymous said...

The Dumb and Dumber party

I Hate Penguins said...

I am all for extra lanes on the Northway.

That's how I get my laughs in the morning, watching all the douches in the other cars.

Last week, I watched a guy pick his nose for a good 3 minutes. When he saw that I had caught the act, I pointed at him and laughed my ass off right in his face.

Then I like giving all the hot women the kissy kiss or the licky lick. I love their reactions. I am pretty sure the one this morning wants me now real bad.

Maybe I'll start catching it all on vid and loading to You Tube. You'd post them on here, right?

Good 2 Go said...

You are one sick duck Penguin Hater.

Hey Chief. How come you're so silent on all these NXIVM developments going on? It's exploding all over the place, and here's someone that was full of zingers in the past, yet you're not in the game anymmore.

Word is they sent some muscle your way? Chicky shit are ya?

Or was it one of the girls talked you into behaving?

Pumpkin Eater said...

This level of thinking of beyond most Republicans. Save your time and effort. It's not worth it it will not change a thing.

Why don't you do more on Saratoga politics? The Saratoga In Decline has been doing nothing but nxivm cult stories lately.

Anonymous said...

is he a Tea Bagger, too?

Anonymous said...

Raniere's heavies scared him off. They are brutal, you know. Must be they had some photos.

Anonymous said...

Deosn't the Champlain-Hudson Power Express Transmission Line Project ownership trace back to Gov. Pataki and hid former DEC commissioner Egan ?

The Pecks and the Kings in Saratoga County are cousins. One dirty hand washes the other.

Peck is creating a new retirement fund at Hudson Crossing for one of his town councilmen by funneling big bucks through the town.

Nanoburgh? said...


I'm not sure about the "dirty hands" label. I remotely know one of the two families, and my decades-based impression is that they are hard working and honest people.

If you'd like to drill deeper on your Hudson Crossing claim, I (and the readers) would be interested in hearing more -- assuming it is based in reason, logic and supporting evidence.


Anonymous said...

Murphy's a Peloso puppet.

PT said...

When Photo-Op's Go Bad.

Love it

Energy Audit said...

I am very much confused with the title as they are saying that save energy with more traffic. But if this occurs then we must follow this.

Anonymous said...

It's just one party that has the ability to read the populace's inability to think in any sort of deep manner. The Republicans are masters of simplyifying issues into quick 5 word messages.

The Party of Ideas (the Democrats) are killing themselves by trying to raise the debate to a higher level.

It's easy; just DUMB IT DOWN!

Anonymous said...

Which came first? chicken or the egg