The Kessel NYPA Watch, November 1, 2009 – By George J. Marlin


Last week, our hapless and (now that he has outsourced the State budget to Lt. Governor Ravitch) irrelevant Governor sent Richie Kessel to Long Island to campaign for one of two amendments to the State Constitution. Proposition 1 occasioned Kessel’s visit to one of his favorite haunts, the Mineola courthouse pressroom. In Prop 1, National Grid would exchange 43 acres of upstate land for six acres in the Adirondack Park to allow building a 23-mile, 46kv power line that it is believed will improve electric service upstate. Actually, the line had already been built but that’s an inconvenient detail.

Street Corner Conservative has not studied extensively the merits of Prop 1 and is not recommending that readers vote for or against Prop 1 although Street Corner, like we suspect, many New Yorkers this year will vote against any Constitutional amendment proposed by Paterson, Shelly Silver and whichever collection of NYC Democratic Senators is ruling that chamber at the moment. Voters are angry and the credibility account of the State’s political class is overdrawn. By absentee ballot, Street Corner has voted against Props 1 and 2 and makes the following observations.

First, the only person with less credibility on Long Island than Governor Paterson is Richie Kessel. Sending him down here to push for anything is a small political miscalculation by the Governor but this Administration ain’t very good at politics, or much else. Polling by both parties indicates that Richie isn’t popular and that the guy who raised rates and obfuscated over the years isn’t trusted. Paterson’s intrepid political team didn’t know that. Better they should have asked LIPA CEO Kevin Law to explain this one.

Second, Richie’s press magic has disappeared. The purpose of his visit was surely to end up in the pages of struggling Newsday. He failed in the hard copies of last week’s papers and a review of Newsday’s awful web site indicates a similar strikeout. Claude Solnik of Long Island Business News did a good piece on the Kessel visitation but no ink and no picture in Newsday is a defeat.

Third, the LIBN story indicates that the line was built and is already operating which raises the question of whether if angry voters reject Prop 1 the line will cease operating. Environmentalists were co-opted into supporting the line and may have created a dangerous precedent because next time the intrusion into the park may be more extensive and the argument to “let us build it and we’ll get approval later” will be trotted out. Street Corner Conservative doubts that UK-based National Grid is likely to abandon the line if the voters say no. A National Grid rep said that the company would go back to the Legislature if the public says no.

Finally, Richie has done lots of business with National Grid and its predecessors over the years, much of that very profitable for National Grid (formerly KeySpan) and painful for Long Island ratepayers. Richie’s NYPA does much business with Grid and what role that played and who absorbs Grid’s $30 million investment in this transmission line if the voters ignore Kessel’s entreaties is worth scrutiny. Street Corner fears there may be a $30 million trick in the baskets of unwary State taxpayers and NYPA ratepayers.


Explore posts in the same categories: Richie Kessel NYPA Watch-SCC

7 Comments on “The Kessel NYPA Watch, November 1, 2009 – By George J. Marlin”

  1. Kesselminiwatch Says:

    I live on Long Island and saw our CEO Kessel on Channel 12 at Nassau Dem HQ being interviewed last evening about the election and identified as NYPA CEO. Why our CEO is on air election night as Dems are blown out of the water and why Kessel is there is a mystery to me. A friend tells me that Kessel was later seen at Nassau GOP HQ where Joe Mondello,his friend and the man whose party now controls the Nassau Legislature, was presiding over the GOP victory. Kessel was milling about and looking for friends to hug.
    Kessel must sit on both sides of the Church when he attends a wedding. OMG.
    How did his Prop 1 do yesterday?

  2. NYPA beaten Says:

    Just amazing. Morale could not be in lower. Give the dogs Kessel and Quiniones their due. they knew what they were doing when they got rid of any internal watchdogs…the chief risk guy and the IG. all to make it that much easier to use NYPA for their own and their political hack buddies benefit. the only welfare either care about is their own. rumor is no raises next year either.

    • Colleague5.0 Says:

      I bet Fran Evans gets a raise. Richie needs her to get him back to Nassau County when Suozzi announces after tomorrow’s election that he is running against Gillibrand for Senate. Old Fran used be a big shot at the County Legislature which would pick Suozzi’s successor and Richie is panting to be appointed to that tasty morsel.

  3. Beatenand bruised Says:

    Rest assured that there is something in this deal for Kessel, Grid and Paterson and it does not involve the welfare of New Yorkers. I still don’t understand why all of Kessel’s exploitation and plundering of NYPA’s assets for lame duck Paterson’s political benefit has gone relatively under reported by the state’s news media or grabbed the attention of the AG. Remember, come election day; a vote for Paterson OR Cuomo is a vote for political hacks like Richie Kessel everywhere. As a side note, the trial of Joe Bruno begins this week so I guess Richie will be too busy jumping from on side of the room to the other to run NYPA for awhile.

  4. Massena Guy Says:

    If the voters vote this down and Grid has to shut the line down, Grid would be held harmless against loss of its investment and profit. Richie forgot to mention that in his dog and pony show.

  5. Colleague4.0 Says:

    Richie has leaned on all the vendors and enviro groups to support CCE and the Pine Barrens event at which he and lame duck Paterson were honored last week

  6. WPOPASNY Says:

    Mr Marlin–you cant be too skeptical about Richie. It is worth mentioning that both Kessel at LIPA and PASNY and National Grid have supported the Citizens Campaign for the Environment which supports Proposition 1. Maybe that support had no effect and the enviros made the decision to support Prop 1 on the merits or maybe not.

    I can tell you that Kessel and Gil are working hard to figure out a way to buy Grid’s Long Island plants and are getting lots of free advice from lawyers, bankers and others who hope to get on the Richie Kessel gravy train if this crazy idea proceeds.

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