Sunday, January 31, 2010

'The Big Dummy' speaks... (no not me)...

No doubt that I read the pages for the latest -- almost -- daily information about things happening in the Kingman area. It is the only such media outlet that is -- almost -- daily that puts their articles, opinions, etc. online for all to see. The content that is produced by the employees at the Miner is what it is... and since it has no competition, again online, it is the best available. However, to me the 'gold' I find at the site comes from the content that the readers leave on either articles or opinion pieces.

I found a couple of comments that I wanted to further spotlight here on MOCO and they will appear below. Click here for the link to the letter to editor from Wednesday's edition. Go ahead and read the original letter for complete context where the following two posts are addressing. The title of the letter is 'Smart' people back at it again.

The two responses come from the same person who uses the moniker 'The Big Dummy', and here is the first one... with some of my thoughts along the way...

Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2010
Article comment by: The Big Dummy

Mr.Stultz and other naysayers,

You clearly don’t know much of anything but rumors about the Griffith power plant, power plants in general, electric distribution, or electric markets. Before you try to compare Griffith to any other power project you should know something about which you speak first.

For yours and other’s edification I’ll lay out some accurate information for you.

I love it so far... and it gets so much better.

About 25 people work at the Griffith plant and last time I talked with an acquaintance there all but one called Mohave County home. That’s about the number they said would work there when the project was proposed. Don’t believe it? Check the Miner archives. Unlike a solar plant, every one of Griffith’s workers need to be a skilled power plant technician. A lot of jobs at photovoltaic and concentrating solar plants are window washers that don’t need to know a lot nor do they get paid that well. I expect the core number of skilled plant operators at one of these new solar plants will be about the same as Griffith. In any case, Griffith never promised large numbers of permanent workers so why are you complaining?

So much good stuff here... I love the 'check the Miner archives' thing there -- which of course most folks against new development simply won't do. The part about have skilled technicians... yeppers... important in this kind of investment and endeavor. Having newly relocated higher skilled level employees will not be a bad thing for this community or it's tax base.

If you are still not happy that at least 24 of our own got great paying jobs at Griffith, something you do need to think about is how many local businesses are still in business, benefit, or have increased their staff because of Griffith? It is likely local repair shops like RAM Enterprises, Laron Engineering, Sky Hi crane, United Rental, and others are happy to have places like Griffith around. If more power plants get built in our area these businesses are likely to expand and new businesses start up. Power plants need skilled workers to support them during times of major unscheduled and scheduled repair and upgrades. The point, Mr. Stultz, is that large industries often create even more decent jobs indirectly.

Sounds exactly like economic development to me.

County water records show that since Griffith began operation in 2001 it has averaged under 1000 gpm; or under 1613 acre ft per year. That is well below what they could use. The plant has always paid all the County expenses in maintaining and operating the wells. The plant also checks the aquifer level every month and sends the data to the County and guess what, it’s all at the County Water Department for you to see and believe it or not the Sacramento Aquifer is not being sucked dry by Griffith. I can’t remember if the USGS survey identified localized water level depression in the Griffith well field but if they did, so you and other know, that phenomenon is common and normal around an active well. There are limits to those depressions to protect aquifers against subsidence; and yes Griffith also has to do aquifer subsidence surveys annually in accordance with ADEQ. Maybe Mohave Engineering is another company happy to have Griffith around? In light of this, I have no idea where you get the information to make such a claim about the aquifer.

The water worry warts make 'claims' all the time... yet they never have any proof to back up their claims of dire emergencies lying in wait because some new projects want to move into the area.

The first water contract was that the plant paid for the water they used plus an expensive hi demand charge under certain usage conditions. However, the plant had a large amount of the water system capacity locked up in that contract. Power plants have to secure enough water to run full capacity at any time so they have to lock up that capacity. Due to the plant’s low usage it looked like there was a lot of water available and the county wanted to sell it elsewhere, which Griffith, or any other power plant, wouldn’t allow. The water contract renegotiation was a sweet deal for the County. Whether Griffith runs or not the County gets paid for the full amount of water the plant needs available. The result, the County is making a lot more money off Griffith’s water contract without supplying any more than the usual amount they use. Instead of complaining that Mr. Walker made a bad first contract, why don’t you be glad he acted in the best interest of the County, at least in this case, in realizing the deal needed to be renegotiated?

A simple estimation of the County property taxes on Griffith show that the 10 million dollar investment the County made in infrastructure for the I-40 Industrial Corridor has been, or very nearly, paid for. If I recall, I think the tax assessment on Griffith alone is right around a million dollars per year, so those taxes alone have almost paid for the entire investment. In addition, we now have the prison, Unisouce’s peaker plant, and a block making plant operating out there now. Also, property tax assessments don’t change if a facility isn’t in production for a time. For such a smart guy I can’t believe you’d make such a stupid comment.

Again... economic development.

Unless you have some inside information you can’t honestly say the plant only runs when California needs the power. But even if they did, what do you care? Is it the tired old complaint that they use our water and sell the power to another state? If so, then you’d better start complaining about Mineral Park that’s been using 3000 gpm of your water for decades and selling your copper and other minerals to companies in other states for a profit. And by the way, their mine expansion is set to raise that water consumption to 6000 gpm. What do you feel about Arizona coal that went to Nevada to make power for them? Was that a problem for you? A smart guy like you surely knows that’s how industry works. Natural resources in one area are mined, cut, fished, or whatever and shipped somewhere else for processing, or manufacture, and sometimes to another place for distribution. Are you upset that rock quarries in our area shipping boulders and gravel to Las Vegas? They have to use some of our water for dust abatement so is that okay with you if the product ends up out of state? What about those poor people in Wyoming whose natural gas gets piped down here to Arizona to keep or homes warm? Would it be okay with you if they got upset that their un-renewable natural resources go out of State and they wanted to cut us off? So we take from others but are not willing to give? Is that how it is? How is using a little of our water for local projects that also benefit other States a problem?

And I'm just willing to bet that the original letter writer or any of the many water worry wart types that comment at the site won't even try to attempt to answer any of the above questions... too bad too... would love to see the spin.

Let me ask you a more pertinent question. First let’s first assume that the Hualapai solar project will run at full capacity, 24/7, for 30 years and we assume the smallest estimated quantity of water in the Hualapai aquifer of 4 million acre feet and we assume no recharge for those 30 years. In this unrealistically high estimate only 3% of the aquifer would be used. You are all so very smart, I assume you’ve already done the calculations. My question is this, knowing how small a portion of the aquifer could be used what is the basis for opposing these plants based on water use?

Simply an incredibly smart and effective way to ask a similar question that I've been asking of the water worry warts... my question simply is 'when??'. Since they won't answer my easy question they won't attempt to answer this one either. The water worry warts HAVE NO DATA TO BACK UP THEIR ASSERTIONS.

Another fact about Griffith is that it is a merchant plant. There are merchant plants all over the United States and this time of year they, like Griffith, are sitting idle because it’s not real hot, not real cold, and manufacturing facilities are not running at full capacity. Merchant plants will, however, sometimes run even under these conditions when base load plants go off line for routine or emergency repairs. So even though a merchant plant may not be on line it serves as an important backup to increase the overall reliability of the US electric grid. The location of Griffith and the grid upgrades that they provided to our tristate area have also greatly enhanced the reliability of our local power distribution system – so Mr. Stultz’s power is less likely to go out from a single transmission line failure.

Judging from the unsubstantiated claims and unreasonable comparisons you made, Donald, it looks like you might want to reconsider who the big dummy really is.

All right, maybe 'The Big Dummy' didn't have to go there... but I'm not holding it against him/her. The water worry warts have said much worse about the pro development, pro property rights, and pro free enterprise folks in the Mohave County area.

So 'there appeared a second post in response to three attempts to take 'The Big Dummy' to task... the lame responses fail to impress and the follow up comment from 'The Big Dummy' shows why.

Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2010
Article comment by: The Big Dummy

Thank you for the support Mr. Stokes and Guess Who.

WES, maybe in all your rage you didn’t notice you are arguing with me? How funny. I’m glad you are exercising your rights and are politically involved. It’s more than most do. However, I don’t think you’ll be able to sway too many people to see things your way when your comments are laced with so much hate and anger. Your passion is powerful; make sure it’s always based in truth and not anger. Good luck with your effort!

Everyone else,

Ron Walker is not behind the moniker of the Big Dummy. I’m a Mohave County citizen that because of my educational background, where, and who I work with; I have experience in and access to much of this information first hand. All sources for what I say about taxes and Griffith water use is public record. I’d be a fool to lie when the numbers are available for anyone to see. I tried very hard to present nothing as biased or intentionally un-factual. If you are a lover or a hater of using water then the facts are going to seem biased, but it’s your personal bias. The facts, by definition, cannot be biased.

Whoever 'The Big Dummy' is... I want him or her to know that they are welcome to comment on this blog site anytime... I'd honor the wish to remain anonymous as well. This is great scissor use.

I’ve not read any HVS hydrology report or been to the public meetings. I used numbers published in the Miner and some common sense conservative assumptions and ran my own simple calculations that almost any of you could do as well. According to one of the No Names I guess they match pretty close to what HVS’s people came up with. I think that’s pretty cool! That means those HVS hydrology people aren’t fudging the numbers!

I've done the math as well... it was easy and it is very difficult to argue with.

If it weren’t for my associations and concern for repercussions I’d have used my real name, and I wish I could because I believe it would actually lend credence to my comments. I do hope my thorough commentary helps cut through the misinformed rants so my fellow citizens can make an informed decision about supporting or opposing these projects.

For years I've been trying to get more people to bring forth information that can be used in public... but for whatever reason the folks with a plethora of knowledge in this area just don't nearly as often as needed. I guess they have their reasons... but we are all missing out. Again, I'd let this person posting under the moniker of 'The Big Dummy' to post here at this site.

To Ron Walker; Clearly, some citizens hate your policies very much. I personally think you and the Board could do a better job in getting information to the citizenry, it would help clear up all that distrust so many people have. Think of the positive though, now you know how these folks really feel! I am offering you an apology for un-intentionally causing people to think The Big Dummy post was from you and for bringing such vitriol out against you. I am sorry about that.


And finally...

To the Kingman Daily Miner,

Thank you for posting my comments. Could you PLEASE do us all a favor and publish the Griffith tax assessment, summary of the terms of their water contract with the County, and the record of their water usage? Since Griffith was built there has been so much misinformation about that place; some of it your fault. For the sanity of our County, please publish the records! It’s really too much for someone to put in as a letter to the editor. If you can’t pick on just them then how about a nice spreadsheet that shows ten year averages of tax payments, water use and cost, and # of employees of the top 25 property tax paying businesses in the County for the last 10 years? You have my thanks in advance.

Yeah... how 'bout it Miner??

Like I said before, you can find gold in the comments at the The above was such an example. Would love to see more folks like this get involved in the discussion.

No comments: