Too many absurdities
We are in a world that seems to have gone crazy with serious threats. One of the worst is the specter of two immature, chest-beating schoolyard bullies (one ours, unfortunately) talking about starting a nuclear war. Another is the potential loss of health care for tens of millions of people. And of course there is climate change.
Once in a while, I find it helps my sanity to step back and just laugh at the absurdities that supposedly intelligent people use to justify the madness.
One absurdity is that tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations create jobs. There has never been a shred of evidence to support this. Yet Republicans mouth this slogan like old-time bible-thumpers. In Kansas this year, however, the Republican Legislature finally admitted that the tax-cut emperor had no clothes. They repealed disastrous business tax cuts. Then they overrode their Republican governor’s veto.
Here’s another absurdity. We’ve recently seen multiple intense hurricanes. The increase in extreme storms is exactly what climate scientists have been predicting.
One would think this was a clear sign from the planet (or whatever god you believe in) that everyone should be taking global climate change seriously. Instead, from EPA chief Scott Pruitt, it is “insensitive” even to talk about climate change while people are suffering from its likely effects. Come on, folks, you do have to laugh at that idiocy, at least for a minute or two.
And now we have DT’s war on football. A few players have been exercising their First Amendment rights to protest harsh treatment of African-Americans. Team owners are grown up enough not to make a fuss. But DT’s response is to encourage fans to boycott NFL games. He’s serious, believe it or not.
Now letting oneself laugh doesn’t change the depressing realities. But don’t just go back to being depressed. Instead, use some renewed energy to remember that we can make a difference. We already have shown it’s possible to have a much better Okanogan County government. Let your representatives know you’ll do the same in next year’s statewide elections.
Randy Brook, Twisp
Poor choice for power
Democracy happens when people show up. The fate of the Enloe Dam will be determined by the many voices influencing our three PUD commissioners. A PUD decision will likely be made in December.
Okanogan County PUD is owned by the public. We are the shareholders and owners of this utility. Let’s start acting like it. Many ratepayers oppose the electrification of Enloe Dam and the runaway spending by the Okanogan County PUD, but it continues year after year. Let your voice be heard.
PUD plans for the electrification of Enloe Dam should cease:
• Enloe Dam was decommissioned in 1958 because the Similkameen River could not produce affordable electricity. It is still true today.
• Our agreement with Douglas County PUD for an additional 22 percent of Wells Dam power guarantees Okanogan County enough electricity to supply all of our county’s growth for the next 35-50 years.
• The new Douglas/Okanogan power agreement equals the output of 38 Enloe Dams. Why do we need Enloe Dam at all?
• Salmon and steelhead recovery funds set aside by mid-Columbia River Utilities could be used to fund the removal of Enloe Dam at no cost to the ratepayers.
Join me and many other residents of Okanogan County in vigorously opposing the electrification of Enloe Dam. All three elected PUD commissioners need to reverse our PUD’s direction on Enloe electrification. Email all three: District 3, email@example.com; District 1, firstname.lastname@example.org; District 2, email@example.com.
Rep. Dan Newhouse needs to hear from his constituents opposing Enloe Dam. His website is www.newhouse.house.gov/contact; or mail to P.O. Box 823, Twisp, WA 98856.
Sen. Maria Cantwell is the ranking member of the Senate Natural Resources Committee and needs to be informed by her citizenry about Enloe Dam as well. Her website: www.cantwell.senate.gov/contact/email/form; mailing address, 402 W. Riverside Ave., Suite 697, Spokane, WA 99201.
Joseph Enzensperger, Oroville
Shorelines vigilance needed
During drives to Wenatchee, have you noticed the explosion of large and small homes closely clustered along the banks of the Columbia? Is it appealing? Have you ever wondered why this has not been the case in Okanogan County in recent years?
According to our county commissioners, Okanogan County is the only county in Washington state with provisions in our Shorelines Management Program (SMP) preventing this style of development. In non-technical terms, it occurs when a county’s SMP (along with any relevant zoning) allows subdivisions with lot lines extending down to the riverbank. Of course the skinnier the lots, the more dramatic the effect. New homeowners all want a home right on the water; thus the wall of homes lining the bank.
How will the eventual result affect amazing views or human/wildlife access to the river?
Our county commissioners recently voted to send the most recent draft of a new SMP on to the Department of Ecology. Being short on time, they voted to skip the promised review of some controversial changes and their probable impacts. This draft deletes the currently required setbacks from the river in subdivisions.
Many of the new subdivisions along the Columbia (in Chelan County) have replaced orchards and other agricultural lands. During your drives, think about where current agricultural lands along the Methow might succumb to such a development style.
Before final approval, this shorelines draft will face public scrutiny. If you are concerned, keep tuned to legal notices, the county website, and Methow Valley News for comment deadlines.
Better yet, contact a commissioner now (Hover, Branch, or DeTro) to express your concern. Mr. Hover, our rep from the Methow Valley, has made it known that he favors dropping the current protection, bringing us in line with other counties. If other ordinances will mitigate this change as claimed, legal citations would be useful to convince us this is the case.
One rarely used method of contact is during citizen comment periods, often scheduled with commissioners for Tuesday afternoons at 1:30 p.m. For notes on recent commissioner discussions of this and other issues, visit http://rocon2016.org.
Isabelle Spohn, Twisp