Hammond’s got balls! (New York)

Dec 29, 2010

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Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

Editor’s note:  Anyone who wishes to post this piece on a website, may do so.  It is public domain.  In fact, every article on WTS.com is public domain (if it was written by us), and you are welcome to post it as you wish.

Hammond, NY.  (Full disclosure.  For decades, my family had a summer home in Hammond Township. Dark Island, in the Thousand Islands.) As I remember, Hammond was one of the deadest towns this side of Montana.  Right up there with those almost-ghost towns in the Sand Hills of Nebraska.

What passes for “downtown” is a half dozen houses, wornout Presbyterian church, feed store, and two or three derelict storefronts.  When I lived there the only traffic light was blinking—on a county road you could safely sit (literally) on when you were stupid and seventeen, and swill a six-pack with a buddy while enjoying the crickets of a warm summer evening.

Such was the town I knew.

Last night this bullshit town (don’t get me wrong; I adore the place) electrocuted energy giant Iberdrola.  Right in its testicles.

Testicles, really?  Spain’s smug steroid-bloated Wind Bull—the ballsiest of the ballsy.

Yeah, well, last night one crappy little upstate NY town fried the bull’s machismos.  Both of ’em.

How?  Want the short answer?  Brilliantly!  Hammond’s wind committee overwhelmingly voted (9 to 1) to insist the town’s wind law must include a Residential Property Value Guarantee Agreement (RPVG).  (The only member to vote “nay” was, unsurprisingly, a dead-ender with a lease.  You couldn’t make this stuff up!)

Flexing its testosterone a couple weeks ago, Iberdrola blustered that any such provision would kill the entire project.  To which the committee responded, with incredulity, “But didn’t you jokers tell us that property values are not damaged by your wind machines?  Didn’t you rapturously assure us with (horseshit) expert studies that property value actually improves when a township is turned into an industrial wasteland of spinning monsters pounding like freight trains through the night?”  Plus, “Hey, we’re prepared to believe you!  If you clowns swear there’s no risk that people will flee their homes to escape your howling monsters—then for heaven’s sake you can have no quarrel with this by-your-own-admission wholly irrelevant and unnecessary precautionary clause we just wrote into our law!

Talk about calling Big Wind’s bullshit bluff!  Way to go Hammond! Run the bums out of town!

Carpetbaggers, carnies, cons, and grifters—all of ’em.  And not even elegant about it.  (My father was a religious charlatan.  He provided me, alas unintentionally, with the finest education in the world for sniffing out swindlers.)

Okay, dear reader.  Here it is:  the text of Hammond’s RPVG.  Download it, march this into your town meeting and insist  it be included in your wind law.

Simple.  Easy.  Brilliant.  So obvious you want to weep.

And when the Spanish thugs with their legal lackeys threaten to crucify your town in court, tell ’em Dr. Calvin Luther Martin and Dr. Nina Pierpont, who are proud as punch this evening to have had the privilege of living in Hammond, NY, will gleefully contribute to your town’s legal defense fund.

No bull.

If you’re ever in the Thousand Islands, go see the castle at Dark Island and visit Boldt Castle and blah blah blah.  But be sure to visit Hammond.  And when you do, get out of your car, kiss the pavement—and sit by (the side of) that road and have a beer for a stupid 17-year-old on a hot July night long ago.

  1. Comment by Arthur Giacalone on 12/29/2010 at 10:56 pm

    Calvin and Nina,

    Life can be simultaneously humbling and beautiful. While I wish my middle-aged brain had thought of this marvelous provision years ago for inclusion in proposed wind laws, it is wonderful to know of, and have access to, Hammond’s elixir for future battles.

    Now we just need to find a way to have this sort of provision enacted retroactively in all the towns that are already burdened with these industrial monsters.

    Have a wonderful 2011.

    Art Giacalone, Esquire

  2. Comment by Gerry on 12/29/2010 at 11:13 pm

    Hooray for Hammond! A government agency that finally has the courage to stand up to a wind energy company and do what is right!

  3. Comment by Melodie Burkett on 12/30/2010 at 8:30 am

    One word….. BRAVO!

  4. Comment by Evelyn Saphier on 12/30/2010 at 12:03 pm

    It’s hard to believe that Iberdrola could be stood down…. GO Wind Committee for holding them accountable for their claims!

    However, I must differ with the creative portrayal of Hammond years back. We have always considered its quality of life a well kept secret, natural beauty and neighborliness have abounded in excess in Hammond, AND the Presbyterian Church is full of quiet people of exceptional devotion. 🙂

  5. Comment by Quixote on 12/30/2010 at 12:31 pm

    That worked eh?……………….what’s wrong with saying NO?……………………..

  6. Comment by T3 on 12/30/2010 at 1:11 pm

    Awesome, love it!

  7. Comment by M6 on 12/30/2010 at 1:32 pm

    Yeah!! We got balls!! And we know how to use em’……it would be too much of a miracle for them to leave town before they can try to get a pro windy supervisor back in office in 2012. But, I pray for miracles every day!! Thanks for the article…….the Pres Church is very active now, BTW, and there is even a new stone labyrinth behind it for spiritual reflection and journey. Peace and Happy New Year to you and Nina. Thanks for your help in keeping Hammond in tune with the world events!

  8. Comment by Sheila K. Bowen on 12/30/2010 at 2:14 pm

    Calvin,

    This is wonderful and it will provide hope (and ideas) to the towns on the Cape that are under siege. With your permission, I will post it on our website. Thanks for keeping us all informed on your website (and with your wonderful emails).

    Sheila

    Editor’s reply: Yes, of course you can post this–wherever you like. Anything you find on WTS.com can be used by anyone and posted anywhere. It’s public domain, as far as we are concerned.

  9. Comment by Jon Boone on 12/30/2010 at 2:31 pm

    Splendid account, Calvin. Thanks for writing, then sharing. Hope 2011 is a vast improvement.

  10. Comment by Barbara on 12/30/2010 at 5:21 pm

    Thanks for the article, Calvin, as this idea needs to be spread far and wide!

  11. Comment by Dr Sarah Laurie on 12/31/2010 at 9:38 am

    Dear Calvin,

    This is just so beautifully simple and fitting—holding wind developers accountable for their own promises.

    Thanks for the wonderful work you are both doing.

    Kindest regards,

    Sarah Laurie, MD

  12. Comment by Brad Blake, Cape Elizabeth, ME on 12/31/2010 at 9:54 am

    Kudos to Hammond! I am still so depressed about the Rollins Project being constructed that any town that actually does something sane to protect their community gets me downright giddy. Our progress is so slow and the wind industry and their allies are so relentless! Most people in our state group want to go the polite route that will get them nowhere. Nobody since the arrests at the Rollins Rally is willing to step in front of the tank like at Tiananmen Square. Every skirmish is important. In Maine, we must vow that the Rollins Project in Lincoln Lakes is the last one to ever get built!

  13. Comment by Preston McClanahan on 12/31/2010 at 9:53 pm

    We here in Savoy, MA must give this a shot.

    Many thanks Hammond.

    Any legal leads, Mr. Giacalone?

    Best regards to all,

    Preston

  14. Comment by Arthur Giacalone on 01/03/2011 at 10:48 am

    Preston, There is no simple “legal” solution. If a town that is considering adoption of a wind law lacks the political will or foresight to include a protection such as proposed in Hammond, I know of no way to compel inclusion of such an agreement. A town board [or, equivaent legislative body] has broad discretion to include or exclude what it wants when adopting a local law or regulations. On the other hand, if a town includes the provision, I know of no legal theory that would give a wind company the ability to successfully challenge the “Hammond solution” in court.

  15. Comment by Arthur Giacalone on 01/03/2011 at 11:30 am

    Preston, I wanted to share a couple more thoughts. Towns that have already adopted wind laws, but don’t yet have an approved project, could fairly easily amend their exisitng law to add the Hammond provision. [Again, I know of no way to compel them to take such action.] On the other hand, towns that have already entered into licensing agreements or other contractual obligations with wind companies may have their hands contractually bound and be unable [even if they were willing] to add this additional “burden” on the wind companies.

  16. Comment by valerie malicki on 06/26/2014 at 5:52 pm

    interesting. awesome. thank you for sharing 🙂

The comments are closed.