I love NYRI!

I don’t, of course, but I guarantee that the headline alone will generate calls (to ‘30 Seconds,’ natch) from the knee-jerkers out there who won’t bother to read the actual text of this column.

You’d think I would have learned by now that even the most innocuous of comments I make in print can and will be hideously misconstrued. I can’t count the number of times I’ve fielded a call from an angry reader who had “seen” something in the paper that, in actuality, wasn’t really there at all. It’s all a matter of interpretation, I suppose. From time to time, I still need a reminder that “reading” and “comprehending” are not the same thing.

Case in point, my “Thumbs” from last Friday’s edition, which incidentally I wrote on deadline in about oh, 30 seconds:

“I’m going to go out on a limb here and give a thumbs up to www.evesun.com/topics/news/NYRI/">NYRI – specifically Project Manager Bill May, who, along with PR man David Kalson, visited The Evening Sun’s offices this week to meet with our editorial board to discuss the proposed power line project face to face. While it did not sway my personal opinion on the project, I have to give credit to the effort that was made. If nothing else, I think we gained a much clearer understanding of why NYRI is so committed to the project. – JMG”

... which, obviously, means that I’ve been snowed over by Mr. May and his cohort, and that I’m now sporting my very own “I (Heart) NYRI” T-shirt.

Well, at least that’s how a few readers, and callers, took it anyway. Some, apparently, only saw the “Thumbs Up” graphic and the acronym ‘NYRI’ and leapt to the nearest conclusion. I don’t know, but I’ve read all three sentences over and over again several times this week, and nowhere do I see how they collectively make me naive, a NYRI supporter, or a traitor to Chenango’s cause celebre.

I’m fully aware that Mr. May and Mr. Kalson are being paid handsomely by NYRI for their efforts. I’ve got news for you – when they came to sit down with me and my reporters that day, we were getting paid too – by The Evening Sun. It was not my intention to imply that any of us were there out of the goodness of our hearts.

What I did mean, and still stand behind, is that I was impressed by the conviction Mr. May displayed for the power line project and the unsolicited effort he made to present it to us. Talk about walking into the lion’s den .. but as I mentioned to him during the meeting, he must be accustomed to being the most hated man in the room wherever he goes these days.

Make no mistake here, dear readers: I, personally, remain convinced that this project offers no tangible benefit to Chenango County, and that if and or when the power line cuts its swath across our community, it will forever alter our pristine rural landscape – not to mention real estate market, and healthy lifestyles – in the worst possible way. It is also, however, our job to hear and present both sides of any story.

That said, I don’t think Mr. May is the anti-Christ. From the conversation that we had, I truly believe that he truly believes (and yes, I know he was paid to say it all!) this project is a viable (and ultimately profitable) solution to the alleged upstate-downstate energy imbalance. I know that NYRI’s ACI corporate overlords are in this to make a buck, but I don’t believe that alone makes them inherently evil. I still think we’re getting trampled in the process, but that doesn’t mean I can’t respect a man for doing his job.

Did I make that clear this time?

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