In addition to the regular cast of characters, they added in Matt Sutton, Director of Strategy and Research at Charles Ryan Associates, PATH's overpaid PR firm. Since he didn't bear a name tag on his snazzy pink (again) shirt and didn't talk to "the public", I assume he was there to "observe" again. I really wouldn't care if he spent all his time chatting with the other power company guys and playing on his iPhone if I wasn't sharing in the cost of his "services". At a cost of over $3.1 million ratepayer bucks last year, CRA ought to be hustling just a little more. I want to see Pinky doing some jumping jacks while he runs his mouth next time!
Other characters included jolly, old Jim Fields and his side-kick, whose name I do not know, so we'll give him a nice, country nickname. I think I'll call him.... Puddin'. These two guys show up at most of PATH's public appearances and act as their bouncers (aka "Security"). However, Jim and Puddin' seemed to be redundant last night with the addition of two "undercover" deputy sherrifs hired for the occasion (with the publics' money, remember that). Were they expecting trouble, perhaps?
Also present was some kid from Truescape, the New Zealand company that prepared the video & photo simulations of the substation that the meeting was intended to showcase. Try though he did to explain all the inconsistencies in the display, he seemed to be in way over his head. Do you know what we call what you presented last night here in America? We call it bullsh*t, son.
During our first foray into the meeting, we had our attention called to a "situation" brewing between my new friend, Jerry, and PATH EHV Manager Mike Hosier. Jerry was giving Mike his opinion of the PATH project, and Mike was pretending he didn't have a last name or a job title. Now that was a real smart way to defuse a tense situation, wasn't it? I blame it on the PATH demon who possesses Hosier. No one ever expects a demonic entity to have studied Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People". During this exchange, we took several photos of the action with our cell phones, all within plain sight of both Jim Fields and other PATH staff members. When Hosier finally ran out of things to say, he beckoned for the "undercover" deputies, who pulled Jerry aside to give him an authoritative talking to. I guess they were really getting into their "thug" bouncer roles because they refused to give Jerry their names and when he demanded to see a badge, it was flashed so quickly it could have been an acquisition from ToysRUs. Nevertheless, Jerry persevered and managed to be permitted to stay.
Not so for at least 5 other people, who were bodily ejected from the meeting or asked to leave for various "infractions" of "company policy". One gentleman was escorted by the two "undercover" fellas, one on each side, all the way down the hallway and out the building doors. His infraction was telling one of the company Vice-Presidents (or other self-important drone) his opinion of the PATH project. Others were ejected for "raising your voice". Yours truly was "asked to leave" for taking a picture. Somewhere in between the beginning of the meeting when we took pictures of Jerry and the last hour of the meeting, a "company policy" was developed that prohibited photography at this "public meeting". Said "policy" was given to Puddin' to relay to me. He informed me that, according to "company policy" if I took any more pictures, I would be asked to leave. So, I took his picture. And he asked me to leave. And I did. It was more fun outside with the "ejected" crowd anyhow :-)
StopPATH WV President Roger Eitelman spent some time in a discussion with the representative of PJM who was present. He actually had a last name and a business card! He also admitted to Eitelman that PJM has plans to add another 765kV transmission line plus two more 500kV lines exiting the Mt. Airy substation. Since the site is ringed by 1300 homes, there's no room for any new ROWs. Are they going to start dissecting surrounding neighborhoods to make way for all these new lines? Time will tell.
StopPATH WV "people person" Debbie Royalty introduced herself to PATH assistant general counsel, Randy Palmer, and soon had Palmer happily agreeing to host one of PATH's transmission towers in his backyard in Greensburg, PA. Gosh! That's awful nice of Randy, isn't it? Just in case it doesn't accidentally end up there during a future reroute, we've got lots of very fine half a million dollar homes here in Jefferson County that will end up with PATH in their backyards... and they're for sale! C'mon on down, Randy! You can get yourself a real bargain!
Finally, here's a freebie for Todd Meyers -- don't ever lie to reporters! He probably thinks reporters are just little chess pawns that he moves around the game board as he does his job. NEWS FLASH! Reporters are overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated human beings who don't have any particular affinity for arrogant suits who lie to them and treat them like they're stupid. Someone ratted him out today, and in the spirit of the press, my sources are confidential. Meyers was one of the ones who tried to hustle reporters away from the demonstrators outside Allegheny's office in Frederick last Thursday by personally escorting them to their cars and insisting that they immediately leave for the substation site or they would not be permitted to attend the other half of the event. Todd, you dimwit, reporters aren't stupid and are exceptionally capable of following up with later interviews!
In summation, PATH has struck out again in Frederick County. Isn't next week's Zoning Appeals hearing going to be fun? See you all there!