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Letters to editor of the Pahrump Valley Times

Reader disappointed by Earth Day attendance

I’d like to share some insights on the April 20th Earth Day event in Pahrump. I was a vendor, and was saddened to see so few attendees. The organizers do an excellent job of sponsoring the gathering under the pines at a local church yard and park. But this year the event had competition from other Easter weekend events.

So many homeowners are complaining about the increased lighting in our town. I live in the very far north of Pahrump. My night skies are impacted by the brilliant, super-bright “security” lights that shine into my yard from long distances.

Not only do these lights consume enormous amounts of energy, they also destroy the beautiful dark skies that is our birthright. Bugs are destroyed by the millions as they fly into and are immediately dispatched by the LED intensity. Why can’t they be motion-sensitive lights?

Finally, how is the silver iodide spraying of our once gorgeous skies going for ya? Top scientists and medical organizations report on the dangers of breathing these particulates. Yes, I enjoy the occasional rainfall, but at what cost to the environment?

The deep black skies and brilliant blue of the day have been stolen from us. I’m so old, I remember when the sun was yellow and the moon was silver. It’s now the reverse, thanks to geoengineering spray programs and industrial pollution carried across continents.

What a legacy of disaster and damage we have handed the future generations. I have studied these phenomenon for decades. I sadly now proclaim “Earth Day” to be “Dearth Day.” My heart cries for the paradise this earth and its inhabitants could have enjoyed.

Patty Vinikow

Reader supports speed zones for kids’ safety

I was amused by Pam Crawford’s complaint about slow drivers in park speed zones. These, like school speed zones, exist to protect children. I support them completely if they are enforced ethically and fairly.

I don’t like slow drivers either, but I was recently awarded a ticket by one of our hero motorcycle cops for driving 20 mph in a 15 mph school zone.

Not only were there no children present, there was no school. It had closed years ago, and the school zone remains on the books for the sole purpose of being operated as a speed trap with exorbitantly high fines. Is this even legal?

Do you really think that our current sheriff and her merry band of revenue enhancers are going to be deterred by a few words on a sign when they have a donor in their cross-hairs?

I bet that if Pam got pulled over for exceeding the “when children are present” speed limit, and she rightfully protested that there were no children anywhere in sight, the cop would say something like “There are always children present. Do you want to sign your ticket or go to jail?”

I consider the radar detector to be the greatest invention since the TV remote control mute button. I made the mistake of being lazy and complacent by not having mine turned on, which resulted in getting the ticket. I will never again leave home without protection.

David G. Alexander

It is better to be safe than like Las Vegas

This is in response to frustrated driver (Pam Crawford). Maybe you should read the Nevada driver’s handbook before you tell people to read all the words.

Second, if driving 10 mph less for a couple hundred yards is an inconvenience, take another route.

Third, and last but not least, if people slowing down is one of your biggest complaints in life, then lady you’ve got it pretty good!

I’d rather slow down for five minutes to insure pedestrians safety than to end up like Vegas in pedestrian deaths.

Ralph Rice

How to promote positive change for co-op, members

Please note that this Letter to the Editor is meant to reach a broad base of Valley Electric Association (VEA) members, including board directors and employees. The intent is to further open the discussion and find resolution on some of the real pressing issues that are expressed by members on the relative health of VEA as an electric power cooperative. Most of these VEA member concerns have been in orbit around board of director management oversight and governance for quite a while.

It appears that many of these member concerns are justified.

As I’ve outlined in two prior postings on www.nextdoor.com (March 16th and May 12th) the focus should be to “look forward and consider proposed next steps.” When strategically planned and properly conducted this focus will create an environment for positive change within VEA and its service territories. Board directors, members and employees are encouraged to find common ground and work together in developing solutions that can benefit all members and their VEA communities.

Much can be done!

In these two earlier postings, I pointed out some concerns and introduced a partial list of issues that could be considered as possible next steps for solutions. Some of this list includes:

• Keep politics and outside influence out of VEA – direct policies, procedures, processes and mechanisms should always reflect the guiding principles that serve and benefit members

• Conduct a full assessment of prior “mistakes” in board decisions and VEA actions – work together as members and resolve to “right the ship” with prioritized actions for results

• Tariff structure, methodology, costs, pricing and rates should adequately reflect customer demand and supply – there are at least 30 different technical and social elements that must be studied, reviewed and fully considered in public hearings and technical hearings

• Be very careful in electing / appointing board director candidates – certain well-intentioned members with clear ongoing extreme agendas could further poison the board’s well

• Natural monopoly utilities must always be properly audited – members need to have full accountability in management, administration and operations decisions that approve procurements, pricing and costs of services, supplies and equipment

• Balance in decision-making by board directors must mirror all of the related issues – at least 8-10 parameters should be apparent and reflected in all board decisions

• The bylaws do not adequately reflect the clarity and certainty that is needed for the board and VEA to operate – draft revisions should be considered to fill the holes, gaps and voids

• Create an open-access Docketing and Information Repository System (DIRS) to timely facilitate access to filed public documents and empower stronger member participation on VEA issues

• Norms and standards for customer services should be closely evaluated and monitored – members should expect reliable and sustainable services that are always timely responsive

• Strong knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated board members are needed – consider those that are well-informed on electric power natural monopoly activities, can clearly communicate their vision and expectations, and provide exceptional leadership in community development

• Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) must be measured and closely observed – otherwise improvements in efficiency and effectiveness cannot be tracked and recorded

• Communications, public outreach and transparency are key for board directors – to fully demonstrate this, maybe directors should have their photo on a local billboard in their service territories with contact information and a caption that asks, “How am I doing?”

• To be prepared for the near future, study and create a means to empower individual customers in the direct purchase and sale of competitive electric power commodity market supplies

• Strengthen expertise and develop a presence in the wholesale electric power market, as both a buyer and a seller (i.e., marketers, brokers, traders) to facilitate power purchase agreements and the development of commodity capacity transmission and storage agreements

• Strengthen expertise and introduce smart grid technologies that enable real-time customer decision-making on electric power resource demand, usage and conservation measures

This is just a short illustrative list of proposals and challenges for the board, employees and members to consider. Of course, financial analyses, budget review, resource expertise, technology capabilities, management vision and a number of other conditions may need to be closely considered and verified through open public and technical hearings/meetings.

Maybe this all sounds like “gobbledygook”?

Please recognize, however, that electric power is big business that effects all of us in our roles as members, shareholders and customers. The depth and breadth of electric power generation, transmission and distribution all translates back to member demand and supply (and tariff rates).

After all, we pay for everything!

J. Michael Biddison

VEA District 1 Member

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