Richmondville’s wind power controversy has propelled one opponent into the supervisor’s race.
Bob Nied, a vocal opponent to Reunion Power’s plan to site as many as 20-25 industrial wind turbines in and around Richmondville and one of the organizers of the watchdog group, Schoharie Valley Watch, is running as a write-in candidate.
Mr. Nied joins incumbent Democrat Supervisor Betsy Bernocco and Republican challenger Councilman John Barlow in seeking the post.
Both ballot candidates said Mr. Nied has every right to run and welcomed his interest in the race.
Ms. Bernocco, however, especially, questioned Ms. Nied’s understanding of issues other than wind.
“He certainly has the right to run,” said Mr. Barlow. “It gives people another choice and I don’t have a problem with it.
“I disagreed with his [wind] philosophy, but I think he’s honest and sincere about it.”
Ms. Bernocco said she also welcomes Mr. Nied’s interest—but wonders about the timing.
“Everybody has the opportunity to run,” she said. “The people have another choice, but I’m not changing my thoughts or campaign because of this.
People don’t know anything about him except a couple of letters to the editor. This is 11th-hour stuff. It’s unfair to voters to do this.”
Ms. Bernocco pointed out that supervisor is just one vote and said if Mr. Nied is running on just one issue, “I don’t think he has the concept of what the job entails. I do.”
Mr. Nied, however, said he’s not just a one-issue candidate and he’s running because he believes the “process is broken,” not just on wind.
“I think the wind issue is just one indication that the process isn’t working,” he said. “One issue after another…there has to be a root cause.”
Mr. Nied said he decided to run for supervisor after he got a few phone calls from people asking if they could write in his name.
“As hard as I’m working, I realized I was willing to work a little harder,” he said. “Write-in campaigns are hard, but not impossible. Why not get in there and fix the process?”
His belief that the process is broken applies not only to wind, but to economic growth, open government, implementing the Comprehensive Plan, and exploring a consolidation of services with the village, Mr. Nied said.
Still and all, Ms. Bernocco said she wonders how well-versed Mr. Nied is on county issues.
“I’m seasoned enough to feel comfortable at those levels,” she said.
Mr. Barlow also pointed out that even though Mr. Nied is well-intentioned, “Things don’t always work the way you want.”