Thank you to Michael Bartoszek for your response to the questions I posted about Laidlaw’s intentions related to community gifts. Lou Bravakis, vice president of development for Laidlaw Berlin Biopower, called me Friday morning and gave similar answers, and he will be quoted in next week’s paper. Thank you to both Mr. Bartoszek and Mr. Bravakis for getting back to me in a timely fashion. The dialog is important, and I’m glad I can include it in the story. It is a shame it wasn’t included in the first article about the donation, but the daily covers many things I don’t and I am not about to criticize them.
Thank you also to Councilor Ryan Landry; he is correct, my choice of the word “criticism” wasn’t the best. Some committee members were looking for a more specific answer to the question of community support, not criticizing Laidlaw’s actions. The point was more that some corporations extract resources and profits from communities without investing in those communities, and they were looking to hear what Laidlaw’s commitment to community investment through charitable gifts and donations is. They weren’t calling Laidlaw’s past actions or future intentions inappropriate; they were looking for clarification. So thank you, Councilor Landry, for your clarification.
The Community EFSEC Advisory Committee wanted clarification on a number of Laidlaw’s answers, and committee chair Max Makaitis said Laidlaw would address the issues once the committee finished going through the list of answers. The committee completed its review Thursday, so there will likely be more in depth answers at the September 24 meeting.
The youth hockey donation provided an opportunity for me to ask Laidlaw some of the questions the committee had for them. It is possible those questions would have been answered by the responses that should be forthcoming, but as the Reporter’s reporter I won’t leave that to chance. Given the opening, I’ll ask the question. While I would love more specificity in Mr. Bartoszek’s and Mr. Bravakis’ answers, they’ve addressed the questions as carefully as any business person would. Honestly, I, and probably the rest of Berlin, would love to hear they plan to donate $100,000 a year to local groups. Or $250,000 a year. But no amount of tough questioning is likely to make that pipe dream come true.
But there is one more obvious question: What are Clean Power Development’s intentions on this topic? Did anyone ask them these questions? I haven’t been working in Berlin that long, so it’s possible they addressed them before I arrived, but I would like to hear CPD’s plans. In the same vein as Laidlaw, they are moving to Berlin to buy wood products and sell electrons, ostensibly at a profit. What contributions are they going to make to the community? Are large donations part of their plan?
The list of questions is easy enough, anybody from CPD care to take a crack at them?
Thank you, in advance.
Update: Clean Power’s Bill Gabler gave me a call to discuss what CPD is planning for charitable giving. It too will be in Wednesday’s Berlin Reporter.