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How does he really feel?

State Sen. George Maziarz gave me a quote that I used to close the Power Failure series:

"We got screwed."

It summed up the way many people felt about the deal the community received from the Power Authority in exchange for supporting its federal application to operate the Niagara Power Project for another 50 years.

The quote prompted several political insiders to call me to express everything from amusement to irritation over the senator's words. In each case, they questioned Maziarz's sincerity.

These callers noted that little goes on in Niagara County politics that Maziarz isn't aware of, if not managing behind the scenes. He is widely regarded as the county's No. 1 political force.

Beyond that, GOP fingerprints can be found all over the deal.

Mark Zito, who negotiated the Niagara County portion of the deal, is a Maziarz guy from way back; served briefly on his staff, in fact. While Zito was running the show, the coalition he headed dumped an aggressive, knowledgeable D.C. attorney in favor of a lobbying outfit and law firm that both had close GOP ties.

The party also made life difficult a few years back for a couple of Republicans serving on the Lewiston Town Council who were pressing for a better deal.

When I interviewed Maziarz while working on the story, he said he had been vocal for some time in his opinions regarding the relicensing deal. I took him at his word and went with the quote.

But, as my callers noted, the quote begs the question as to whether Maziarz doth protest too much, given his likely involvement.

tagged

Niagara hydro-electricity/power authority
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