Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fear, Blame, Guilt and Targeted Punishment? How About Rewarding Being Responsible with Our Resources?

Let's start by finding out what it would cost each user to flatten the base water rate for in and out of Town users. Let's include our necessary use, maintenance, and future capital improvement costs, and factor in all the current and new conservation that our responsible residents will employ with this focus and see where we are.

"Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink (link)"
As with trying to conserve our way out of our oil and natural gas resource limitations, conservation of our water resources is only part of the responsible solution to managing our needs.

The ideal of conservation should not be appropriated to punish neighbors who choose to water their lawns in the rain or have different views than we do. Hanging an albatross around their neck is as silly as it sounds. Using the nobel, responsible practice of conservation to prop up our egos and make us feel better than our neighbors, or worse, work out some insecurity with those who have more financial resources and different views conform to our ways, is the wrong way to go. It's unnecessarily divisive, embarrassingly immature, and won't be nearly as effective as honest suggestions and truthful, fair conservation incentives.

We had an encouraging Council meeting last night. Most of our Councilmembers, me included, have very strong speaking personalities, and don't have a problem getting their twenty-five cents in - whenever they want. Last night our seats were moved around, and it produced a change. A few times, we went from one Councilmember to the the next in line from one side to the other - right down the line. It felt more organized and more fair somehow. A little structure goes a long way. Stan, our Mayor, did a great job of keeping our verbose speakers to their fair time-frames. This also helped. I think we would benefit from a little more structure at our Council table. Not so much the three minute rule (though some of us do go on), but maybe just a left to right or right to left order for speaking. It worked nicely last night anyway.

Water, water everywhere and not drop to drink.
I whole-heartedly agree that those "who loveth well both man and bird and beast (link)" are on the right tract. Even if that man/woman is your neighbor and his/her porch-light is brighter than you'd like, or s/he keeps her/his lawn greener than you would like, s/he is as worthy of your love and respect as our other bird and beast residents. Hopefully, we don't need to dislike our fellow neighbors, or their chosen ways of living, to encourage us to do the responsible thing. I suppose some may think the way Stan suggested last night - that because a water allotment was given, they should use it up because they paid for it. I never looked at it that way. I see how he and others do though. I'm glad he's responsible and doesn't follow his thinking - I doubt that anyone in Town actually follows that line of thinking. Water "wasters" can afford it finiacially, and will not be motivated to conserve more by saving 20 bucks on an already really low base rate. People who will be motivated at the low end, already are conserving - that's why they are at the low end. We need to park our emotions and practically look at our goals for water use and conservation.

My business manager, Jason, is one of the most environmentally conscious and resource conserving humans I know. I think an honest assessment of what impact this change will have on our dozen or so businesses needs to happen. Most businesses are not being wasteful. A business base rate needs to be fairly allocated just as a resident's is. Then, people who want more water to use the way they want, can pay more for it with a new progressive rate structure. Fair enough.

We shouldn't need to make other people feel guilty about watering their lawns in the summer, or hurting our fellow fish residents with wasteful water uses. We should look at ourselves, and our motivations, and approach this honorable endeavor with fairness, reconciliation and intelligent, imaginative solutions. Let's start by finding out what it would cost each user to flatten the base water rate for in and out of Town users. Let's include our necessary use, maintenance, and future capital improvement costs, and factor in all the current and new conservation that our responsible residents will employ with this focus and see where we are.

Reference:
Post: Efficiency and Goofiness - Out of Towners Speak-Up!
See the email on out-of-town water rates - we can do better. "About ten years ago, we became aware that we were paying over 50% more on our monthly base water rate than those that live in town. When Janine asked Mr. Lin why, he said "because we can"

Nice Read:
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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Thank you for taking time to read and respond to my Post. A quick sentence stating your opinion will be much appreciated - it's the reason I'm blogging, Mike