"Boy howdy, but poor ol' La Junta takes it in the shorts all the time,:" muttered DinkyDau Billy, adjusting his Aluminum Deflection Beanie (AFDB) for a better fit. The tinfoil cap was beginning to look a little ragged.
"Your tinfoil hat is beginning to look a little ragged, Billy," observed Leece, as we sat in The Holy Land Quickee's slurping crappacino and stealing tidbits from Billy's Juan Diego breakfast burrito.
"I can't afford no new tinfoil," our stalwart whined, "not after hearin' about that rate hike that city manager feller is gonna hit us with, sometime, somewhere."
"Rate hike?" I asked.
"Yeah. Yeah. You was at the council budget workshop. You heard it. They's gonna raise rates by $500,000. That city manager feller's gonna stick it to us."
"Yes, we were at the meeting, but I don't remember any rate hikes being mentioned. Quite the contrary, in fact. And that $500,000 doesn't have anything to do with rate hikes," Leece countered, somewhat baffled by Billy's grasp of things political.
"Naw, that Councilman fella, Gene Mestas, he's on top of it," Billy replied, "he was all over that city manager feller like flies on poop, keeping them dirty bastards from screwin' We Little People."
"Well ... Billy, Councilman Mestas raised a stink, but the only thing he 'exposed' was his complete lack of understanding as to what was going on," interjected Tookie.
"Yeah? Yeah?" Billy was nonplussed.
"See, here's the deal, Billy. First, that $500,000 increase has nothing to do with rate hikes. The city is reserving, buying, an increased amount of electricity. $500,000 worth. The electricity is then sold to customers. There is an anticipation that the city's customers will be using that much more electricity. There's the Lewis Rail thingie, for one," Tookie explained.
"It ain't a rate hike?" he asked.
"No. If you use more electricity in your house - for example, if for some reason you changed all of your lightbulbs from 40 watt to 200 watt, wouldn't your electric bill go up?"
Billy thought deeply for several minutes. "Yeah. Yeah. I guess it would, wouldn't it."
"But did your rate go up, or did your usage go up?"
"Well, I guess my usage would go up," he said, stroking his chin thoughtfully.
"Exactly. It has nothing to do with raising your electric rates. In fact, the juice is coming from ARPA, rather than the grid. If it came from the grid, it would cost a lot more."
"Yep. Mestas really needs to do his homework. It would be helpful if our council members had a clue as to what they were voting on or talking about."
"Huh. Well, what about them tires out at the Oakley Indian Mound?" he asked, "Mestas was all over that, too, about them tires."
"You mean the OCLI landfill, Billy; it isn't an Indian mound. But if I recall correctly, Mestas voted on all that every time it's come up. Dan Eveatt and Rick Klein have explained it more than once. The tires have to be shredded before they can be put in the landfill, and at this time, there is no economical market for the tire carcasses. There are some uses for shredded tires, such as we see with the base for the new Tiger Field. But the supply of old tires far exceeds the current need. Maybe what Mestas should be doing is studying recycling and coming up with solutions. Isn't that what we expect from our elected leaders?"
"What a concept," chortled Tookie.
"Well, what about Cathy del Rio's suggestion that they get grants from the Federal government to help pay utilities bills for selected citizens?" Billy queried.
"Oh sure," Tookie grumbled, "like grant money drops from the skies like manna. Doesn't she understand that the money has to come from somewhere, like out of someone's pocket?"
"Probably not. It's free gummint munny. It grows on trees, or perhaps Obama has a stash in a trunk under his bed in the Lincoln Bedroom," I said, admittedly somewhat sneeringly, "I have an idea. Let's just take up a list of people who want free munny from other people so as to pay their utility bills. Then you and I can write them checks directly. We can eliminate the government middleman."
We sat there for awhile, marveling at the Great Minds we have in The Smile Hi City, solving today's problems with today's solutions.
"There's one other thing, " Tookie noted, "Mestas was blaming Rick Klein for 'hitting us with that rate hike.' I thought it was city council that does that. Don't rate hikes have to be approved by city council? And isn't Gene Mestas on city council?"
We sat there some more, marveling at the disconnect from reality apparent in some people's thinking.