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Hooray for politicians
Jack Balshaw 5/22/01

Why should we be happy there are politicians?  Because if they weren’t there, we’d feel even more frustrated.  On the negative side, they seem to be the source of our misery.  When they do something we don’t like, we know just who to blame and can vent our anger by complaining about politicians.  Then we can go back about our business knowing we’ve done our duty by deciding who (other than ourselves) is to blame for something.

 On the more positive side, they’re often the only recourse we have to correcting situations that are truly impacting our lives.  The continuing revelations about how the electric power generators are using their positions to gouge the public make me appreciate that our reviled politicians are the only hope we have to correct this situation and possibly wreak some revenge on these companies.

 Think about it for a minute.   There is nothing we can do to create more private sector generation of electricity.  The private sector isn’t going to go into competition with itself to lower the price of our power and reduce their profits.  Our only positive alternative is to construct, build and/or control our own electrical generation facilities.  And, only our politicians can cause that to happen.

 It’s one thing to like or dislike politicians.  But it’s a whole other thing to be sure they know that you like or don’t like them and WHY.  These are our representatives to government and if they never hear from us they will assume we agree with what they’re doing.  So, if we don’t like what they’re doing or there is something specific we want them to do, we need to let them know in no uncertain terms.

 I have a wonderful appreciation of democracy in that, if you want something changed, all you have to do is get out of your chair and do something about it. And, if enough other people feel as you do and act with you, it gets changed.  But the important thing is that we have to get off our duffs and actually DO something and be sure our elected representative knows what we want him or her to do.

 In the case of our present power crisis, there are only two ways to solve it, have faith in the private sector or ask government to intervene.  While asking government to help may be viewed by some as throwing gasoline on a fire, in this instance I would have to ask if depending on the private sector for salvation isn’t an even more frightening choice.

 There are major municipalities in California (LA and Sacramento to name two) that have their own power facilities and are relatively unaffected by this power problem.  We must assume these facilities are successfully run, or at least managed, by local civil servants. So government can do things right. Locally, our water and sewer systems seem to always work and our police and fire depts. do their jobs OK.  Why must we always be quick to assume government can’t do the job as well as the private sector?

 But back to our politicians.   Remember, if you don’t tell them what you want, you can’t get mad at them for not doing that.  So, take pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard and let them know what you want.  Their office and/or e mail addresses are available right on these pages (CHRIS - WHY AREN’T BURTON’S AND THE GOVERNOR’S ADDRESSES AVAILABLE??).

When you contact them, keep it simple.   Their staffs aren’t going to wade through a two page dissertation.  Try keeping it to fifty words. And say specifically what you want done, “build plants, don’t build plants, buy powerlines, don’t buy power lines.”  If you are vague, “Fix the problem”, then you have to accept any fix they come up with.    

You may consider politicians part of the problem, but they are also part of the solution. 

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