A couple more articles (here and here) appeared in today's OD about the NYRI-Railroad lease and NYRI's efforts to keep the details hush-hush.
"the documents contain personal information of officials that could lead to picketing and calls from the public over the controversial power-line project, said Jeremy M. Smith, an attorney with Albany-based Couch White who is representing the power company."
So What? Why should these individuals be any different from anyone else that does something controversial? It is NOT a private matter when the PUBLIC is affected.
"[Judge] Tormey told the power-line company's attorney he wanted more detail on what harm it might face if the records were made public. ... "You've got to give me more meat to that," Tormey said, citing details such as where negotiations stand with other landowners and in which counties such talks might be occurring."
The only harm would be to even the playing field between affected members of the public and the big players. What could be wrong with that? Why should nearby landowners not learn what the railroad is being paid? What is the difference between knowing that and knowing what your neighbor's house sold for down the street? Both would tell the property owner the value of his or her parcel. Disclosure of what the railroad is being paid is NECESSARY to ensure that members of the Public are not taken advantage of WHEN NYRI EXERCISES ITS PUBLIC LICENSE from either the state or federal government.
"The Industrial Development Agency will not find out the value of the contract between New York Susquehanna & Western Railway Corp. and New York Regional Interconnect unless it can guarantee the information won't be made public, a power company lawyer said Monday."
Oneida County IDA needs to know the value of the lease in order to properly ascertain the value of the railroad property and the value of the tax breaks OCIDA is expected to give. If OCIDA is giving a tax break, then the public is entitled to know the value of what OCIDA is giving away.
The simple solution for everyone:
NO DISCLOSURE = NO TAX BREAK.