I am a committed environmentalist and avid hiker who has supported a wide range of environmentalist causes, including Save Lost Dog, but I am alarmed by some of the provisions in Proposition K, which will appear on the ballot of the upcoming May 6 election.
Yesterday evening I attended the City’s presentation to District 1 residents on the ballot propositions at the Police Department at 4801 Osborne Drive.
When Laura Cruz-Acosta and Nicole Ferrini got to Proposition K, the attendees suddenly became animated, and many asked questions or made comments expressing their grave concerns about what the “Climate Charter Amendment” might do to our electric bills and the regional economy.
There were more concerned citizens packed into the room than there were participants at Saturday’s Sunrise El Paso climate rally, which featured a video recording of Jane Fonda and several local speakers. I watched the entire event on Facebook in order to learn about their perspective and came away with a feeling of dread.
At yesterday’s District 1 meeting, we were shown a chart estimating a fiscal impact on the City of $154,995,000 plus $4,125,936 in annual costs for the new Climate Department. The figures were not adjusted for inflation.
I asked Acosta and Ferrini why the spreadsheet omitted an estimate for lost sales tax from the businesses that would be shuttered by Section 9.12-2, which would deny water to the “fossil fuel industry” beyond the City limits, including two of our four local power plants, at least one other major energy company, businesses that transport petroleum products, and any business that finances or “assists” the fossil fuel industry.
They admitted without hesitation that I was correct to point that out and that the potential impact on the private sector is unknown.
See the recent report by Diego Mendoza-Moyers of El Paso Matters, “El Paso Climate Charter, if approved, halts water sales to El Paso Electric Power Plants.” Local media reports like this present some key facts but do not mention the definition of “fossil fuel industry” in section 9.2(E) and thus fail to inform the public about the full scope of the threat to business.
I discussed Section 9.12-2 with a Sunrise El Paso leader, who was kind enough to spend 50 minutes on the phone answering my questions. Her basic premise was that any problems or obstacles in Proposition K would be solved by the future Climate Department, so there is no current need for a business plan or an assessment of economic impact to local industries.
It was recently reported that Sunrise El Paso received 389 small-dollar donations in support of Proposition K, but not a single one came from an El Paso resident.
Shelby Ruff is the President of Eco El Paso, and he posted a 23-page position statement in support of Proposition K in which he lists the benefits of renewable energy and of the proposed charter amendment. Among other things, he claims Proposition K will save the taxpayers money, reduce global climate change, create high-paying public and private sector jobs, and bring new businesses to our city. He denies that acquiring El Paso Electric would cost $9 billion and refutes other claims by the proposition’s opponents.
After carefully reading Mr. Ruff’s statement, I wrote to him with my concern about Sections 9.12-2 and 9.2 (E), which would deprive an unknown number of businesses of water and therefore kill an unknown number of jobs. He declined to comment, accused me of an ad hominem attack and of spreading disinformation, and referred me back to his position statement.
Our exchange below is telling, so I am sharing it verbatim, without commentary.
Enjoy your day.