Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Okanogan utility awash in red ink
Jennifer Marshall’s article published in last week’s Chronicle “Utility Rate Hike Proposed” reveals the deep trouble we are in down at the PUD. Steve Houston was shocked by the shortfalls facing the utility, but what excuse could the manager and other two commissioners possibly have?
Residential revenue fell by $1.75 million in 2012. After three years of 6.5 percent rate increases, we all cut back on our energy use through conservation and efficiency, and our reward for saving that energy will apparently be another rate hike.
The proposed $35.2 million to produce power at Enloe Dam will generate only 2 percent of the energy we need, while ruining the scenic and aesthetic beauty of the site, endangering the salmon and steelhead, and ending hopes for the river’s recovery long into the future.
Selling bonds on Wall Street will be very popular with the richest 1 percent, fat cats with their millions waiting to make them richer. We are a “captive market.” We have no choice but to pay our utility, no matter how high. We are being sold out.
The PUD commissioners and manager seem to believe the bonds sold for power generation at Enloe Dam will solve their problems. Wholesale power has been selling at about $26 per megawatt/hour since 2008 and the PUD estimate for producing power at Enloe Dam is $58 dollars per megawatt/hour, a net loss of $32 dollars for every megawatt/ hour produced.
Who will pay the interest on the bonds with all these shortfalls? Who will own the utility in 10 years? The $64.2 million in bonds could supply the means to harness the Similkameen, march transmission lines across the Methow and pay off some blunders of the past but will do nothing to make our lives better now or in the future.
Dog park doesn’t make any sense
A dog park on the eastside of Omak? Are you kidding me? I was told it is “A place for responsible dog owners to bring their dogs.” I live on the eastside. Responsible dog owners? Please! I am not attacking any breed of dog or any particular person, but all you have to do is drive around Omak and there are always dogs running loose, stories of unwanted dogs being dumped in town and in the woods.
The saying goes, “it’s not the dog that is bad; it’s the people that have them.” If you do not start with a sound sire and dam and breed with no thought of the parents you are just perpetuating the problem, no matter how you raise the puppy you will have genes not in your favor.
I have three dogs that in the short time I have lived here were all found running loose, one with cigarette burns on her. You can bet that having vaccinations were not in their history. You people are asking businesses in town to donate money and materials to the dog park, maybe these businesses need to step back and decide if this dog park is a disaster waiting to happen. Besides dogs in this area guess what else will be there? Small children.
I was a dog 4-H leader for 15 years, belonged to two dog clubs and also rescued Australian shepherds. In that time I only had three litters. All dogs were champions, some with obedience degrees. My dogs had eye exams, hips were OFA certified and vet checks. I am not patting myself on the back, I am just trying to express the importance of sound foundation dogs.
I would love to hear of people putting together obedience classes or other dog clinics in town. This is my opinion only. One of our local vets didn’t even know of the dog park.
I am writing this because I don’t know how much of the community even knows of the proposed dog park. I realize there all types of parks throughout the state but I think in this instance this is a bad idea.
Gun laws won’t deter bad people
Fifty some years ago I was hunting groundhogs with some friends when my .22 rifle, that has a tube feed that holds fifteen rounds, jumped out of my hands and assaulted a “No Trespassing” sign. I promptly ran over and grabbed it, unloaded it and took this bad gun home. I keep it in a locked closet so that it cannot go out by itself and do this again.
When I am out hunting with it I hold onto it very tightly so it won’t repeat this again. This story should be believed by a lot of people if they believe guns are bad.
There are, however, bad people, if they are mentally disturbed or not. These people will get a gun by any means necessary. Backgrounds checks, magazine restrictions or any other law will not deter these people. Another law will not make a difference. What we should do is during the summer break send a few school employees to police officer training and have them be armed. Our elected officials, celebrities, and a lot of other people have armed guards escorting them. Wouldn’t it make sense to have armed guards in our schools? Aren’t our children as important as those that have body guards? Disarming and/or making it harder for law abiding citizens to defend themselves is not the answer. Look at the facts, stricter gun laws equals higher crime rates. Just look at Washington, D.C. and Chicago and other big cities.
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Reclamation officials talk about Conconully Lake Resort
Chronicle video by Brock Hires. Enlarge