After CWLP’s recent admission that utility service is at risk without continued rate hikes, I believe some apologies are owed to CWLP retail ratepayers. In particular, from those who sold and supported the city’s half-billion dollar power marketing scheme under the guise of energy security for Springfield.
The debt that threatens our utility service was incurred in spite of uncertain forecasts for wholesale electricity prices in 2003, and remarkably, just after recovering from heavy power marketing losses less than five years prior.
City officials openly demonstrated the hubris of holding a “crown jewel” to provide cut-rate power to outsiders, making another empty promise of outsmarting regional power markets. Local media, coal lobbyists, utility officials and labor piled on by supporting the risk of expansion beyond the utility’s mission of providing low-cost reliable service to ratepayers. Thanks to the greed and arrogance of those supporters, ratepayers will continue to pay an ever-increasing price.
WHY NEW ENOS SCHOOL?
I read with interest your Jan. 26 article, “Developer blasts new Enos School plan,” by Patrick Yeagle. It seems the District 186 School Board is proceeding with demolition of the old Enos School and planning to replace it with a 3,360 square foot smaller building for around $10 million. The board is playing games with the square footage of the building so they can make the numbers look good and push through the project. Why?
Calling this a “Health and Life Safety” issue, simply because the building does not have an elevator, will not require a referendum. In other words, they can do whatever they please and the public will see a tax increase. Why are they concerned the public might not vote to spend this money?
After reading that developer Dan Mulcahy could convert the old building into apartments and provide District 186 land for a new school, thereby saving the cost of demolishing a useable building, I began to wonder why saving the district more than $1 million was not a priority for this board.
If you review public information from the State Board of Elections you might find an answer. Contributors to members of the school board include the following: Springfield and Central Illinois Trades and Labor Council, IBEW, IBEW Educational Committee, Carpenters Local Union 16, Construction and General Laborers’ District Council of Chicago and Vicinity, Laborers Political Action and Education League, 12th District AFL-CIO, Local 134 PAC-IBEW, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 137, Local Union 193 IBEW, Will-Grundy Counties Central Trades and Labor, Illinois State Council of Machinists, Cement Masons’ Union OPCMIA Local 502, Illinois AFL-CIO, PAC 34-IBEW (Peoria), AFL-CIO of Champaign County, Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois, Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 73 PAC, IBEW 701 Political Action Committee (Warrenville, Ill.), Sangamon County Democratic Labor Caucus, USW Non Federal Account-Illinois, Unity Central Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council, Bricklayers #8 of Illinois.
What are these contributors receiving for their contributions? This should be a question asked by all District 186 taxpayers. The next school board election is in March of 2013, just before you get your next property tax increase.