Friday, March 25, 2011

IREA Candidate John Dendahl's Response to Widely Circulated Letter from Steve and Jan Berger

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Berger,

I have received a copy of your neighborly advice concerning the on-going IREA director election. Strangely, though, I didn’t receive it from you, notwithstanding that my postal and email addresses are both published in the Roxborough Park Foundation directory. Probably just an oversight …

From my understandings of things relevant to this campaign, I believe your communication has a couple of pretty significant problems: 1) your claim that IREA “[opposes] investigating and encouraging the development of alternative energy such as wind and solar,” and 2) your endorsement of Michael Kempe’s claims.

Neither IREA as far as I know, nor I for sure, opposes development of “alternative energy.” We oppose statutory compulsion that IREA members and other Colorado ratepayers buy applied technology that is neither reliable nor economically competitive. We also oppose expenditures (rebates) of general ratepayer money to underwrite an individual ratepayer’s decision to buy something someone has hawked as energy-efficient. I’m not sure anything of value is being accomplished at NREL, the taxpayers’ research outfit where Kempe earns his paycheck, but I haven’t worked to get it shut down.

Have you found anything in Kempe’s platform, or more broadly his political organization’s efforts, addressing reliability, cost or any other quality issue with IREA’s service? I haven’t, yet I’d think someone running for office might have something to say about the core function of the organization he/she seeks to lead or supervise. ALL of their commentary is addressed 1) ad hominem against the 38-year general manager, Stan Lewandowski (who’s retiring), 2) to censoring IREA’s principled, well-argued opposition to their views on public policy, 3) to making the fatuous claim that IREA board operations (meetings, etc.) weren’t open prior to their and others’ efforts last year to enact H.B. 1098, or 4) some combination of all three.

Of course IREA opposed H.B. 1098, “supporting” Kempe’s misleading claim in his paragraph on transparency. IREA’s practices for years had been in compliance with most of the 1098 requirements. Whether it might otherwise have come in line with all 1098’s web publishing requirements, I can’t say, but I understand the board simply opposed more statutory bureaucracy it considered unnecessary. Among the things I admire most about IREA is the bright-line distinction between it and too many other utility companies (Xcel being close to Exhibit A) that find it easier to appease do-gooders than to take ‘em on. Winston Churchill had something to say about that, to the effect that an appeaser is a man who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.

Kempe has campaigned at our neighborhood Safeway store bragging that “I vote No on everything.” How does that “assure accountability?” He has clearly admitted that his votes are thoughtless, based solely on his commitment to keep a thumb in the eyes of the general manager, other board members and, indirectly, the members. Terrific board service, no? Somehow I doubt that was part of the curriculum leading to the “Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate” he vaunts.

Kempe and his political group despise “Watts & Volts” because it’s trenchant, it’s much appreciated by most members, and it frequently cuts exactly opposite their greenie agenda. I’ve laughed myself nearly sick over the hysteria eight little pamphlets a year induces in this bunch. Kinda reminds me of the efforts to gag some radio talk show hosts, doesn’t it you?


John Dendahl

P.S.: Having visited your website, I see that you are well acquainted with “slick postcards.” Not wanting to get into an argument with a real expert, I won’t take issue with that part of your message.

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The Right Huff is Crista Huff's blog for politics and items of sociological or financial interest. Crista Huff also manages Goodfellow LLC, a subscription-only stock market website. We strive to identify financially healthy companies in which traders and investors can buy shares and earn dividends and capital gains. See disclaimer for the risks associated with investing in the stock market. See your tax advisor for the tax consequences of investing. See your estate planning attorney to clarify beneficiary and inheritance issues associated with your assets.

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