Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Mighty Wind

Weird-haired Flower City plutocrat Tom Golisano was on the local NPR affiliate’s occasionally-excellent local call-in show yesterday, publically mulling a fourth run for governor—this time as a Republican. (who saw that coming, eh? a billionaire Republican—imagine!)

I expect Tommy the G to prosper in the GOP, having already earned his stripes as a short-sighted hysteric in the recent kerfuffle over a proposed wind farm on Canandaigua Lake where—surprise!—the Golisano family owns substantial tracts of property. Our public-spirited Tom even founded a front organization—sorry, a “concerned citizens’ group”—to carry his water on the issue. It should surprise no one that he dubbed his crew Save Upstate New York; saving, of course, is what misers do.

(It must be noted, in fairness to Mr. Golisano, that he has given a huge amount back to the Rochester community. Paychex has been a good corporate citizen, and its founder’s philanthropic credentials are impeccable. But I’ve always found it funny how the very wealthy find it easy to be public-spirited in the abstract—but when a social issue directly effects their lives, the notion of “public interest” tends to boil down to the words “I’ve got mine.”)

Anyway: When a caller brought up the wind power controversy, Ol’ Tom Golly was at pains to reassure that of course he’s pro-environment, and of course he favors development of alternative energy sources; but given the massive infrastructural footprint of wind farms, he said, the great unanswered question is, “What happens to these huge turbines if wind power becomes obsolete?”

One of those moments when you wish you had a rewind button for the radio, because you cannot believe what you just heard.

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