Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Special interests, guilt, and OPM

"I think, myself, that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.  I believe it might be much simplified to the relief of those who maintain it."
                                                                                   --  Thomas Jefferson

Everyone who asks government to finance their special interests encourages "more machinery of government" at the expense of "the labor of the industrious."  

Should the City Council treat your home as a piggy bank for special interests? 

Is buying wind-powered electricity a necessity for the city of Lake Oswego?  No.  Those who are tempted to say yes no doubt confuse their concern for the survival and health of Lake Oswego with the survival and health of the planet.

Will the cost (machinery) of government increase if Lake Oswego purchases wind power?  Yes.

The Sustainability Advisory Committee said this would cost the city an additional $28k. This money will come out of the general fund with money coming from residents' property taxes.  Could this money be spent on actual necessities like paving, salaries, or building repairs instead?  Yes.   

SAB makes the claim (as printed in the Lake Oswego Review) that the additional cost of wind electricity will go down as more customers use it.  Where is their crystal ball?  Even if the cost of wind power were to drop to equivalent or lower pricing in the future, wouldn't there be a net cost to the city for expenditures made now?  Yes.

Citizens elect a mayor and city council to decide how to spend their money.  Public money is to be spent on behalf of all of the citizens of Lake Oswego.  Will some people be harmed by the city's unnecessary purchase of wind power?  Yes.

Adding any expense to the city budget has the potential to harm those who currently struggle to keep their homes, or would like to decide which good causes they want to support.  If unnecessary expenses were eliminated from the budget, the property tax liability on all citizens could be reduced, or in an inflationary period, taxes would not have to be raised.  Will citizens be harmed by unnecessary spending by the city council?  Yes.

Is $28k a significant amount to spend on unnecessary wind power now and going forward?  Yes.  All public money collected and expended is significant.   What amount is not insignificant?

What are the citizens of Lake Oswego getting for their $28k?   Some people (SAB and 4 members of the City Council) will feel better that they did something positive for the planet (at someone else's expense).   The facts regarding the "good" of wind power were not proven.  Should citizens pay through their property taxes for City Councilors to feel good?  No.

No government will spend its money in a way that satisfies everyone.  But this expense is clearly not
necessary because we are getting the same service (electricity) for a cheaper price now.  The City Council has reacted to the demands of a special interest group instead of putting all of the citizens of Lake Oswego first.  Pandering to special interests is not their job.  It is ego.  If shame exists in City Hall, let this be an example of shameful behavior.

City Councilors voting for the expenditure:  Jackie Manz, Jeff Gudman, Jon Gustafson, Joe Buck (4Js).  Voting No: Mayor Kent Studebaker, Councilors Skip O'Neill, Karen Bowerman.

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