A PUD choice
The recent article regarding the upcoming elections for county, state and Congressional offices was a welcome reminder of this bedrock process that sustains our democracy. One significant omission, however, is the now-contested seat for the board of commissioners for Okanogan County PUD, now occupied by Jerry Asmussen for the northern district. This seat could be one of the more consequential of this election cycle in that it could help change the direction of how the PUD serves its roughly 20,000 ratepayers in the future.
Citizens who care about the energy future of Okanogan County would do well to consider voting out this long-term incumbent, along with his entrenched fellow commissioners as they complete their six-year terms. His challenger, Joseph Enzensperger, offers a fresh, forward-looking vision of how the PUD can make investments in meeting the challenges of low-cost power, home weatherization, expanding solar installations and overall system efficiencies, while actually listening to the concerns of its ratepayers.
Over the last few years, Mr. Asmussen and his fellow commissioners have turned a deaf ear to the voices of their ratepayers and their requests to stop further investments in what now totals north of $18 million on the doomed project known as the Enloe Dam. Yet they persisted in spending additional dollars, despite multiple studies showing that the project was not economically sound. Imagine what other investments could have been made with that money in shaping the energy future of ratepayers in his district. We need PUD commissioners that take seriously the concerns of its ratepayers and who act responsibly to control rates and provide reliable, cost-effective energy. All citizens of Okanogan County can vote in this important election. Help change the future by voting to elect Joseph Enzensperger as our next PUD commissioner.
Things can change
I was saddened to see that the Methow Conservancy handed over the deed to the Wagner Ranch (328 acres of forest, sagebrush and salmon spawning grounds along the Chewuch River) to the Colville Tribes on May 19 with no strings attached because the Conservancy and the Tribes had a “shared vision.”
Regardless of the “shared vision” today, visions change; people change; needs change. And forever is a long time.
I have seen tribal land turned into casinos, waterfront hotels, smoke shops and other commercial type activities in areas that would have never been zoned for these activities if they were under local government control.
As reported recently, the 9,200-acre land transfer from Conservation Northwest to the Tribes prohibits residential, industrial or commercial use of the land other than agriculture or minimal commercial recreation.
Methow Conservancy Executive Director Sarah Brooks said her group donated the Wagner Ranch land to the Colville Tribes outright, with no strings attached.
Hopefully, the Conservancy’s trust in this transaction (without conditions) doesn’t betray their intended mission and the Methow Valley in the long run.
Reckoning with reality
I’m probably not the only one who admired high school exchange student Amele Stracken’s candid letter to the editor and her courage in raising a very unpopular subject. She addressed the unwillingness of the American people to make personal lifestyle changes in order to address climate change as compared with people in European countries.
Amele hit the nail on the head when she stated that simply blaming politicians is not good enough. For example, we’ve probably all observed the irony that sometimes the loudest voices on the topic of climate change are also among the most frequent fliers — despite the huge improvement shown by global air quality data during the COVID-19-induced pause in air travel.
But taking her points further, I think that young people of reproductive age across the planet have an excellent opportunity to take significant action by delaying reproduction for one year, three years, five years, or whatever makes sense in their own situation — or to remain childless, perhaps considering adoption.
But neither politicians nor the average citizen dare mention the gorilla in the closet: there are just too many people in need of the necessary elements of survival planet-wide. Even here in our small valley we are short on water, adequate shelter and food.
The human race appears to have exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet, despite warnings from scientists over decades. And we can’t go on blaming Third World countries: National Geographic’s Greendex found that American consumers rank last of 17 countries surveyed regarding sustainable behavior.
And because we’ve delayed addressing the population issue for so long, we’re now in a crash course with reality: the “Population Explosion,” as it was first labeled in the 1970s. But the subject seems now to be a taboo.