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People have impact

Letter to the editor of Herald and News 1/24/05

Local elected officials have spent the last three years being totally supportive in accommodating and rewarding the promoters of the Cob electrical generating plant near Bonanza.

Their attitude has been "get them here at any cost" even though many unresolved environmental and economic impact questions remain.

Considering the absence of governmental opposition, the fresh proposal, voluntarily offered up and presented to the county commission by the new People's Energy emissary, Paul Turner, came as a welcome surprise and represents great progress toward fairness. Such a concession clearly demonstrates the beneficial impact of a little focused opposition.

Those many individuals, more visionary and pragmatic, who have spoken out against the recommendation of Trey Senn, executive director of the Klamath County Economic Development Association, and County Commissioners Al Switzer and John Elliott's rush to exempt this project from most of its property tax obligation, have had a big impact.

Individual voices, in harmony with Lynn Brock's Bonanza group and its threat of an as yet unfiled lawsuit and the continuing pursuit of an initiative to prevent the tax giveaway, have already paid handsome dividends.

The whole county (including our timid commissioners) is already way ahead of the game ($1 million per year originally offered vs. the new offer of $3.5 million plus a $300,000 annual contribution into some sort of a KCEDA slush fund) and no real action has yet been taken.

The prospect for still greater concessions, which our commissioners should be trying to obtain for us all, was severely hampered by Switzer's refusal to allow input from any of the thirty-some of us who came to the meeting to hear and comment on the revised proposal. The important bargaining tool of demonstrating to People's Energy that there is a continuing opposition was lost by Switzer's self-serving refusal to allow his constituents to speak.

Well, so much for campaign promises of a revival of representative and open local government. Switzer's conduct was clear indication that his third term is continuing in his dictatorial attitude of, "This is my government and I have no tolerance for the public's input in how I run it."

Clif McMillan

 

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