Letters to the editor-11-19-2013

November 19, 2013 

Idaho Power

Rocky Barker’s excellent Nov. 6 article concerning Idaho Power Co.’s application for Public Utilities Commission approval of upgrades and rate increases for the Jim Bridger coal-fired plant covers the issues well.

As noted, PUC staff concluded the Idaho Power plan is economically preferable, without questioning the manipulated data in the request. The PUC traditionally has given Idaho Power all or most of what it requests. Is this a harbinger of more of the same? The required upgrades would cost ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

At the Oct. 22 IP’s open house, commission staffer Gene Fadness defended Idaho Power when issue was taken with its manipulated cost figures justifying coal over solar power. His bias was clear. The PUC had not yet heard technical and citizen testimony in order to make an unbiased decision. This request demands consideration of decommissioning Bridger and seeking privately funded alternative energy. Will the PUC demand a thorough analysis of alternatives, or will it cave?

Whoever cares about this issue should testify at the Nov. 25 public hearing. If you do not, the PUC decision will be less well-informed. This is your last opportunity to speak up concerning approval of this Idaho Power plan. We get what we earn.

DAVID MONSEES, Boise

Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Idaho Power Co.’s plan to refurbish coal-fired power plants is insanity. We already pay higher taxes for dirty climate damages. Idaho Power’s plan will cost ratepayers $18.8 million per year. Coal power creates airborne toxins and dirty climate changes while Idaho Power walks away with more profit.

Rocky Barker’s Sept, 23 article quoted the Idaho PUC’s opinion to wait and change focus, “it appears to be in the best interest of the company and its customers to continue to evaluate and devote more focus on the development of alternative energy resources.”

A BSU study found 62 percent of Idahoans are willing to spend more on clean energy and that coal should be the last alternative. Yet, contrary to public opinion and the PUC, Idaho Power is doubling down on coal. Their study titled “limits of wind power” only proved they didn’t want any more. They also tried to change the rate structure for 350 solar installations that would have killed any incentive for solar.

Idaho Power’s addiction to coal again will cost us money and continue devastating health problems and disastrous climate changes. That’s insanity.

ED WARDWELL, Boise

Ted Cruz

Time passed. The dust settled. The protagonist vindicated. The date: 1765. The issue: the Stamp Act. The hero: a young legislator. He stood in the chamber to speak: “Tarquin and Caesar had each his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell, and George the Third …” Before he could finish the phrase, the House speaker shouted, “Treason! Treason!” and other burgesses took up the cry. But Patrick Henry stared the speaker in the eye and finished his sentence: “… may profit by their example! If this be treason make the most of it.” Watching in the wings stood an awed law student, Thomas Jefferson. In the following days Henry relented to the political pressure and apologized for his words and swore allegiance to the Crown. Ten years later he gave before the same body his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech.

Recently, though I question his timing and tactic, another legislator rose in the chamber to speak. He too was vilified and shouted down by his hater-peers. Like Henry, though, time will pass, the dust will settle, and history will show Ted Cruz on the right side (no pun intended) of the most important issues today.

JAMES Y. KELLEY, Boise

Politics

Is anyone else tired of reading the opinions of people who claim to be independent? After making this claim, they go on to praise or criticize only one party. After reading the silly vitriol written in from both sides, maybe we need fewer “independents” and more critical thinkers.

Comparing the last two presidents in an honest way we see one (George W. Bush) who got us involved in two protracted wars that have involved pumping billions of dollars into corrupt governments. President Obama’s foreign policy has proved to be a joke as well. Just look at the disasters in Egypt, Libya and Syria. (Did I cross a red line there?)

Let’s also note the signature domestic policies of these two men. Bush’s tax cuts failed to improve the economy and Obama’s health care plan is in shambles.

It’s time we all start acting like adults and start realizing the flaws on both sides of the fence. How can we expect our leaders to work together to solve our nation’s problems when we all act the exact same way, just on a local scale? Remember, politicians tend to resemble those who elect them.

JASON COOKE, Boise

Mike Simpson

The U.S. government shutdown vote finally produced a winner from Idaho — Republican Rep. Mike Simpson. This congressman had what it takes to vote for the people and for all the right reasons. He jeopardized his job knowing that the tea party dictatorship now running our U.S. House of Representatives will try to unseat him in the next election. This was a democracy, and dictatorships set up to control the vote in our Congress need to receive a rude awakening. This situation is as close to treason as it can get.

The other three tea party followers from Idaho don’t belong in our Congress.

Rep. Raul Labrador is playing political games with people’s paychecks as long as they are not his. Sen. Jim Risch has posturing down to a science, and he actually thinks that’s what we are paying him for. Sen. Mike Crapo can’t even keep track of his own campaign funds, and with a DUI and no driver’s license voting is very inconvenient. If Crapo is still looking for his lost 250 grand, I’m wondering about his qualifications. I sure wouldn’t want him handling my money.

ROBERT G. SCHULTZE, Riggins

Older drivers

I am responding to Mr. George R. Gorton I. He indicated that he had given some thought to “older drivers.”

I’m not sure about how much thought he really gave about older drivers, it does seem that he gave a lot of thought about depriving older drivers of due process. He gave a list of restrictions for older drivers that are far- reaching and punitive. He did not state a thought about just what an “older person” is. Is an “older person” about age 60, or is he/she about 70, or is it 80 or 90? Just at what point in life should the “older person” be subjected to these punitive measures that deprive him/her of due process?

I could go on with the questions,but I want to suggest another route for people to consider about “older drivers.” Perhaps it is a family matter. If family members become concerned about driving patterns of a family member, they can ask themselves one question. Would they allow a grandchild to be in the car with the “older driver”? If not, then consider family intervention.

LARRY G. ARMSTRONG, Boise

Evolution

To all you creationists. May I remind you that the term “theory” is almost always misrepresented by you. In science, “theory” may be defined as “the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another.” This should not suggest that we are unsure that evolution happens.

The uncertainty lies in how evolution occurs, not that it does occur. Sadly, Byron Richmond’s letter in the Nov. 4 issue espouses the fallacy that the theory equates to hypothesis.

I have seen the “Futurama” episode in question, and I would point out that while it does poke fun at evolutionists, it reserved its harsher criticism for creationists. I would also point out that the author of the study that Mr. Richmond cited described his own results as “trivial” and that the statistical significance was “practically meaningless.” The author of the study then states that tea-partyers were more likely to misrepresent data to fit their own political agenda. It occurs to me that Mr. Richmond is masking his religiosity by appearing to be science-literate. By the way, my wife fell to the ground laughing after reading his letter.

JONATHAN RING, Boise

Highway right of way

It must be “make the environmentalists happy month,” and we all had a hand in it. I don’t understand why the public has allowed the environmentalists to take over. They have destroyed the timber industry with their stupid regulations, and now they have taken over the U.S. highways, with the help and court order of federal Judge Winmill.

Where he gets authority to seize a highway right-of-way owned by the state of Idaho in the form of an easement, I cannot guess. Even the U.S. Forest Service did not believe that they had the authority to stop permitted traffic on the highway right-of-way; but Winmill ordered them to do it.

The result is General Electric dropping its appeal and going elsewhere. In my opinion, every highway that touches federal land in any states is in jeopardy of being seized by any federal judge at any time. So much for easements.

I think the state and counties should pull all law enforcement and maintenance crews off the seized highway(s) until state control has been recognized and restored.

C.M. “CHUCK” VOGELSONG, Riggins

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