21 comments posted · 3 followers · following 0

11 years ago @ elephant journal: Yoga... - Something's Rotten in ... · 1 reply · +4 points

Although I agree with your assumption about how on many issues the avenue to real change can be at the state or federal level, that doesn't mean change can't occur on a local level for some issues as well. Obviously we aren't seeing any real progress being made on a federal level when it comes to energy policy or global warming. And, frankly, not a ton is being done on a state level either. Is municipalization/local control of our energy decisions the answer to solving global warming? Probably not. But I genuinely think a community like Boulder is poised to do some good things and move the needle in the right direction.

I don't think a person being paid by Xcel is the equivalent to a person being paid by an environmental organization, etc that is working towards municipalization. The former is being paid simply to protect financial profits. The latter is being paid ostensibly for the good of the world/community/for a cause of some sort. Whether you agree with that cause or not, there's a fundamental difference between someone who is a paid mercenary for someone else's financial gain versus someone who is paid to advance a social justice or environmental cause.

As to your explanation about why the city is interested in municipalization, I just don't buy it. The city may not always be right, but I just think it's a stretch to say the city council and/or staff are gaining power or money from creating a local electric utility. The revenue raised from the utility rates will go directly into paying off municipal bonds for the utility--that is to say, the money isn't going into the general fund for pet projects or anything like that.

But control? I'll give you that one. That's pretty much what all this is about. And I'd prefer to give that control to a local democratically elected body, a governing board of local residents/experts/businesses, and yes, even highly-paid city staff that know what they're doing. I'd prefer all of that over giving the control to a monopoly corporation that we have pretty much no power over.

You can call me naive. But I know many of the city staff (and yes, even some of the council members) and I think, for the most part, they are very genuine and good people that are extremely passionate about this issue because they believe it is good for our community and the planet. It's easy to paint them as power-hungry bureaucrats that want bigger pensions, but I just really don't believe that's the reality of the situation. I appreciate our city government because I feel like I can see the results of how our community's values are put into action on a level that is bigger than just myself as an individual.

Agreed on city elected officials not being representative of our community's population. It's something we should work towards changing for sure and we'd all be better off for it I think.

11 years ago @ elephant journal: Yoga... - Something's Rotten in ... · 7 replies · +3 points

A young person being engaged in the democratic process for the first time is very different from a paid political operative who seems to be willing to be a spokesperson for whoever pays him/her. Disagreeing with me doesn't make someone a shill for Xcel. But being paid by Xcel probably would, wouldn't it?

If you think a municipal utility won't result in more renewable energy, then why do you think the city is interested in doing it?

And thanks for lauding our work on same day registration, preregistration, and relationship equality. I've never heard or seen you do that, but I'll take your word for it.

11 years ago @ elephant journal: Yoga... - Something's Rotten in ... · 1 reply · +3 points

Yes, Xcel is the largest provider of wind energy in the nation. But, they're still supplying 80% of the grid with fossil fuels. While the planet continues to heat up, I think it's well within the right of a community to want to take stronger action on doing something to set an example of how we can fight global warming. You question if municipalization will increase renewables for Boulder, but it's just not a winning argument. The charter states that Boulder isn't allowed to move forward unless if it increases renewables and lowers greenhouse gas emissions compared to Xcel. And I appreciate that you're a skeptic, but if there's one thing that Boulder has shown time and time again it's that we care about clean energy. The only way to prove your skepticism wrong is when we actually do move forward and do something great for our community and planet.

And, seriously, please stop attacking New Era Colorado. I'm not going to apologize for engaging new people in the democratic process and helping them find a voice. The reason why we're against Phil Fox being a new resident and being active is because he's a puppet of Xcel Energy. You can deny it and call me naive, but I will put money on the fact that he's going to be paid by the so-called issue committee he's formed (that, I assure you, is funded by Xcel). Just check his background--he's been paid by campaign operatives to be a "spokesperson" for the oil and gas industry and the gambling industry in the past.

The fact of the matter is that this initiative has nothing to do with "living within a budget." It's about Xcel derailing the process so that they can protect their $100 million in revenue they make off of Boulder each and every year. I don't blame them for putting up a fight. But I do take issue with the Boulder citizens that are standing up and defending that behavior of a major corporation to control our local democracy.

The county voters having a chance to be heard? I don't remember the county voters approving a franchise agreement with Xcel before. I don't remember them complaining about being provided clean drinking water by the city water utility. The county voters will have significantly more representation on a municipal utility board than at the PUC or at the ballot box. But I guess that's not as sexy as a soundbite as what Xcel is feeding them.

11 years ago @ Daily Camera.com: - \'Decline to sign\' ca... · 0 replies · -10 points

Where are you seeing that we're fighting a campaign finance disclosure law??? If you think we're hiding contributions, you have no idea who we are. We filed all of our contributions and expenses through our issue committee in 2011 and will do the same when we work on this.

11 years ago @ Daily Camera.com: - Xcel to form issue com... · 0 replies · 0 points

Excellent research, except for the fact that it's 100% wrong.

New Era isn't a "Denver based lobbying firm." We're a nonprofit civic engagement organization and we were founded in Boulder in 2006, where we still have an office today. We also have an office now in Denver.

And, yes, we did work on the 2011 2B and 2C measures. To claim that we never filed an issue committee is just completely false. Our issue committee was called the Boulder Smarter Energy Coalition and all of our income and expense reports are publicly available on the Boulder campaign finance website (and yes, we even included the salary cost of our staff time).

Maybe your research skills are a little rusty, but doing this might have been helpful before you accuse an organization of breaking campaign finance laws: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=new+era+colorado+2b+2c+issue...

12 years ago @ Daily Camera.com: - Boulder approves ballo... · 1 reply · -5 points

If you read the article and sidebar you'd see that this money is for road reconstruction, bridges, repairing old structures, upgrading core facilities, etc. These seem like "health and safety and other core city services" to me. And this revenue already exists and wont be increasing taxes. The reason it's going to the ballot is because of city charter requirements.

13 years ago @ Daily Camera.com: - Boulder to consider ba... · 4 replies · +10 points

Huh? I'm saying the Daily Camera article is inaccurate. A 10 cent fee is a very different policy conversation than an all out ban.

13 years ago @ Daily Camera.com: - Boulder to consider ba... · 7 replies · +8 points

Article is somewhat inaccurate. New Era was asking for a fee on single-use bags, not a ban. A fee has shown big success in reducing the use of these bags in other cities.

14 years ago @ Daily Camera.com: - Guest opinion: SmartRe... · 1 reply · -1 points

Thank you for the concern about my roof. It was probably there when I moved in. However, I did not get on a ladder and investigate before I signed my 1-year lease.

Also, my roof has nothing to do with city policy. It was merely an example. Thanks again, though.

14 years ago @ Daily Camera.com: - Guest opinion: SmartRe... · 2 replies · 0 points

Thanks for the personal attacks. It's leading to a constructive discussion.

I run a business. That's what a nonprofit corporation is. Oh, and our budget has increased every year since I founded it. But, I do all of our budgets on an Etch-A-Sketch, so maybe my math is wrong here and there.