EDITORíS DESK: Wake-up call for dreamers
The dream... the reality. You'd think certain situations would be a wake-up call (pun intended) for some local politicians, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Take the recent wind-power sale fiasco... please. After pushing Colorado Springs Utilities into a needlessly expensive solar subsidy - $1.1 million-a-year over 20 years that will likely be rubber-stamped after the required public hearing April 9 - City Council's "green majority" is now wasting an additional $1.5 million of ratepayers' money by selling a recent, poorly considered, $8.5 million wind-power purchase at a loss.
It would be easy to place the blame solely on Utilities. I mean, seriously, no surety of any kind from the would-be customers? And that "problem" with the product being tied to ever-changing commodity prices? Why didn't Utilities just wait for the prices to go down? Ah, but maybe this puts us closer to where the finger should really be pointing. Could it be the steady pressure from council's green machine, pushing Utilities towards a so-called "diversified portfolio," that caused the enterprise to move with unwise haste?
True, Utilities says it can "absorb" these wind and solar budget hits without rate hikes. But now it is also anticipating $16 million in lost water sales, as a result of the new watering restrictions, plus $6 million for "drought response." In that light, any spending at this time on renewable energy - especially when it exceeds legal mandates - seems frivolous and absurd. From the way councilmembers like Jan Martin and Brandy Williams talk, you'd think we were all choking on coal fumes. We're not. We have some of the cleanest air in the country, and the new scrubbers will make the Drake plant even cleaner. Council's greenies need to wake up, and so does the voting public...
Speaking of voting, I imagine most of you with ballots have stumbled by now over the incredibly misleading text in Issue 2, where councilmembers ask for a serious salary boost. Remember the county commissioner term-limit ballot-wording mess in 2010? This is worse. If you don't read carefully, you might actually think that $6,250 is the amount requested and that such is half the mayor's salary. Untrue. The mayor's remuneration is in the charter: $96,000. So, how many think our councilmembers are worth $48,000 a year? Me neither.