9/11/2007

Two Snippets

There were two recent pieces in the Tribune that I believe deserve further comment or observation.

First, in this piece, William C. Fitzgerald, the President of SME, says of the proposed Highwood Generating Station: "Without HGS, 60,000-plus Montana homes would be without affordable power in less than four years, as would a number of citizens, municipal agencies and businesses in Great Falls."

Whoa, wait a minute. Does he know something we don't? Great Falls citizens will not be obtaining their power from the Highwood Plant, at least not according to what we have been told to date. In a June 6, 2007, email to me, then-City Clerk, Peggy Bourne, said: "According to Martha Cappis, ECPI has a license with the PSC to provide a small specific group of customers power. The customers were chosen to include small commercial and residential customers that we could not serve under our existing license due to their average monthly usage being below the PSC set limit. We "brainstormed" to come up up with a diverse group of knowledgeable participants who we could rely on to give us an unbiased opinion of our service, rates, etc. To date, we have not initiated the program. " In other words, not only will they not be selling to the citizens, as of June they had not even initiated the 'pilot program.' So, Mr. Fitzgerald, who are these citizens?

Then, in this piece in this morning's paper, Rich Ecke was discussing the proposed customers the City has for its electrical utility service. Ms. Balzarini was quoted as saying: "Balzarini said the city is not disclosing the names of potential customers because it would not be appropriate to identify them until they become actual customers."

What? "Would not be appropriate?" Why does she get to decide what is and isn't appropriate?

And is that even the right inquiry? Shouldn't the question really be whether or not it is legal for the City to refuse to provide its citizens with this information? Or has the Montana Constitution been replaced by what our staff thinks is "appropriate?" Where's the City Commission on this? Didn't someone, somewhere swear to uphold the Montana Constitution?

This just infuriates me. These people do not own the Civic Center. They don't own their offices, they don't own their phones, they don't own their desks. They do not own Electric City Power. It does not belong to them. It belongs to us.

Where in the _____________ do they get off running this as if it is theirs, refusing to provide us with information? Everyone involved should be ashamed of this perversion of our open government laws.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

They (SME) keep telling the lie because they know the technique works on the majority of citizens.

The city administration is full of crap. I too am sick and tired of this nonsense from these piss ants that are clueless when it comes to real world business practices.

They could not pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the bottom.

Arrrrghh Its only 9:30 AM but I need a stiff drink.

Anonymous said...

Last night ECP Board had a total of 3 members present. Same as last month- total 3 members.

We are told this is "cost plus power" no it is not - it is "cost minus" power. If it were cost plus the rates would be much higher. Taxpayers who do not get the power are subsidizing private businesses deemed worthy by the central planners in the GF bureaucracy. There is no meaningful oversight by elected officials. They should be ashamed of themselves, and they would be if they had a clue as to what was going on.

Anonymous said...

Communists Rock!
It's for the good of the people.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering, when will people get fed up being treated like mushrooms ??? (Kept in the dark and crapped on) !!!

Anonymous said...

Simply put, if these officials were in private business they would have been behind bars by now.

Criminals, every last one of them, either by direct actions or by hiding and sniveling in the corner. To afraid to speak up and do the right thing.

Prove me wrong city officials,if you are not criminals, supply the information the public repeatedly has asked for. If not, start sending out those change of address notices for your new prison address.

Hey Anon 1, if your are still sober, the next round is on me.

Sincerely,

Boiling mad in the Peoples Republic of Great Falls.

Anonymous said...

RE: When will people get fed up being treated like mushrooms?

When they quit embracing "social communism" as the only answer to Montana problems.

Until then keep the Offline Blog rolling!

Anon. #6

rooster said...

There was an interesting piece in Sunday’s Tribune about shareholders of private companies gaining more influence in corporate governance.

This is the era of engagement,” says Amy Borrus, deputy executive director of the Council of Institutional Investors, which represents public pension funds and other large shareholders. “Directors aren’t just digging in and saying no. They realize it makes sense to listen to shareholders.

One could consider the Great Falls City Commission as analogous to a corporate board of directors, and us tax-payers as analogous to company shareholders.

Recent shareholder victories on key issues — plus a new willingness by companies to discuss boardroom topics— mark a turning point from the chilly ties and combative debates between the most vocal shareholders and companies.

If so, then it isn’t much of a stretch to consider the City as “so 1980’s” in their disregard for the tax-payer’s right to participate in open-government.

For many years, business leaders dismissed dissenting shareholders as rabble-rousers who dragged social, labor and environmental issues into the boardroom. They argued that executives and directors, not investors, should run companies.

In fact, many of the issues are scarily similar…

Shareholders have urged spineless directors to provide stronger oversight of management. They’ve pressured executives to police their companies for accounting fraud. Activist shareholders have crusaded against poorly run companies and weak directors and executives.

How did they accomplish these goals? They became informed, and voted.

Their main weapon have been shareholder resolutions aimed at companies, and urging investors to vote on various issues before annual corporate meetings.

Anonymous said...

The difference is the public company, the annual report is actually given to the shareholders.

Here in the good old CCCP aka Great Falls Inc. everything is a state secret.

Comrade Lawton, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL!

Anonymous said...

Go back to June 19th. That's when Overfield got nailed for telling us that the city had rigged a bid & it looked illegal. It was the first I'd heard of it, but the information she gave WAS online for a time, but not now - Grove was on the bid review committee + Stebbings & Grove were on the award committee.
Grove reviewed the bid by HSCC & wrote, or at least, reviewed the police's bid. Who's running the shelter NOW? The city.

GeeGuy keeps posting how the city won't let loose of information and paperwork. All he gets is stonewalling. Items disappear from online when things get hot.

Citizens are denied the vote on issues that are ours to decide.

Cops are at meetings where the mayor is performing Stalin-in-drag.

SME/HGS is showing up more hijinks that certainly smell illegal.

The city is soliciting funds for it's shelter and telling people they're donating to animals - but it's not happening according to the law.

The city makes a financial raid on various departments, strips them, then can't provide the basic service it's always provided.

Percentages in HGS 'ownership' publically noted slip downwards. What is the actual number - won't be 15% in the end. Bet it's ZERO.

City Commissioners REFUSE to answer direct questions on their doings, what they're obligating us to, and where the money is going.

Private-like loans for ice rinks are made with city money, but it wasn't discussed publically.

Now, stupid as it seems, Park & Ponder Cafe seems to be running for the city at a loss, without a contract & has building problems & utility conflicts. Stebbins says she likes the place, so it should/will continue. She must have really hated the Humane Soc., because they supposedly had many of the same problems, were a PRIVATE non-profit & they were kicked out.

The mayor votes her husband a pay raise.

And the list goes on.

Send the SOBs to jail. It's a sure bet when we get an investigation going it will turn up dead bodies and send the cockroaches scurrying.

Anonymous said...

SME came to town looking for earth & water. Time to tell them that - THIS IS SPARTA!

Anonymous said...

Think that pay raise will be enough to help Stebbins build that new house?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Anonymous said...

So how do you (anyone) propose to take down the current form of government?

How is it Great Falls can be saved from such a wretched state?

Who will save us if communists rule the universe of Great Falls?

Anonymous said...

Your problem G-guy-is that there is a difference between practicing law-and playing politics. As a Lawyer-you are used to giving people a big downside. If they don’t come to the table and talk-then you dig in, discover all of the dirt, go to a jury and get your big judgement. Your opponent has that big downside.

But for the city-there is no big downside. No big damages. Play hide the ball-and then if you have to fess up–you are even.

That’s politics. Governor Schweitzer looks me in the eye and tells me that he has singlehandedly lowered my taxes. Yet, I know that anyone who makes my kind of money, drives my pickup and lives in my kind of house has had their taxes raised. I can call him on it–but what is his downside? He says that he really meant everyone one else and that I am not who he was talking about.

The same with the City. What’s John Lawtons downside? He spent years building in a great retirement benefit. Stonewall you? He’s leaving. The commission? Well I like those that I know. What is their downside? They do it because they like their name in lights and like to think they are making a contribution. There is no downside.

You have spent the last two years spending more time asking for transparency than anything else. If you got what you asked for from the city-your blog would have been half the size that it is. If you were not getting stonewalled with this “ it’s really none of your business “ attitude- your blog would be about flying monkeys and rainbows. Your fight will continue-only because politics has no downside.

Anonymous said...

Public servants ARE accountable...hubris and avarice should not be 'values' at city hall

Anonymous said...

To Inquiring Minds -

I have ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF for what I'm about to say, but in light of all that's happened.........

Money is discovered to be missing from the coal plant funds.

The mayor begins to build a new house.

Anything else knew within the select group? Cars, vacations, braces?????

Ya gotta love coincidence.

Anonymous said...

sorry, dump the "k" on new

Anonymous said...

The "downside" to politics is the people who created the government.

But I must agree with you that too many citizens in Great Falls have lost their political edge so yes, currently there appears to be little downside to Great Falls politics.

The socialists have taken over and not enough people seem to care.

But that doens't change that fact that government cannot exceed the creator. If honorable citizens work hard enough to get honorable people elected there is still hope.

Anonymous said...

Vision Statement and Goals
Our vision is that of a responsive local government strategically prepared for change and challenge. We will build partnerships throughout the community. We will be recognized for our efficient, effective and caring delivery of service and products. Nurtured and inspired by this vision, we will create a passion for excellence. Our core values of honesty, respect and openness will constantly guide our actions.

Is the city meeting this 'standard' and the ten goals of the commission? Geeguy reports, citizens MUST decide...

PS - speaking of responsive, what's going on with the 'pound' lately?