Friday, January 11, 2013

Tell Genoa Township Trustees to vote NO on the Sewer Bond!

To anyone reading this blog living in Oak Point, Tri Lakes or North Shore (in Genoa Township) who are served by the Oak Point wastewater treatment plant, tell your township trustees to vote NO on the sewer bond.  The bond will stick us with a 5 million dollar five mile pipeline to the Genoa / Oceola treatment plant - a cost of $3571 per household for the 1,400 households served by the Oak Point plant. The bond will likely be voted on in late January or early February by the Board.

Township officials are pushing this bond and pipeline because groundwater below the Oak Point plant is being contaminated by salt from the water softeners of households connected to the plant.  The Plant does not treat for salt, but lets it seep in settling ponds into the ground and groundwater.  By connecting to the Genoa Oceola plant 5 miles away this salty water is directed there.  The Genoa Oceola plant then discharges into surface water, namely the Shiawassee River system.

There is a better and potentially cheaper alternative.  Ban the salt.  Hamburg Township has already successfully done so, and we can to.  Hamburg Township allows the use of potassium chloride or any of a number of systems that use no salt or potassium chloride (thus saving the cost of buying salt or potassium chloride). These no salt systems can cost less than the $3571per household the bond issue costs (and you need never buy salt or potassium chloride again).

Plus, many folks like myself have medical conditions like high blood pressure so we need to restrict salt in our diets. ( Our household does not use a softener at all, and this method works too.  We filter our drinking water with a Brita - other filters are available for greater cost. We add washing soda to water for laundry and dishwater to soften it.) 

And, in the future environmental laws may ban discharge of salty water (brine from water softeners)
into surface water.  This is already the case in the Los Angeles County Sanitation District.  Google their web site and read the facts.

The future belongs to the no salt alternatives.

(By the way, the cheapest place to buy potassium chloride is a Costco at $19 per bag. Also, though potassium chloride prices spiked several years ago they have declined since and should continue to decline).

Jim Delcamp
former candidate for Genoa Township Trustee

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hope There's More To It Than This

So Rick Snyder is planning to recommend a plan for dealing with Michigan's crumbling roads and bridges. That's long overdue, as anyone who drives in the state understands.

According to the Livingston Press and Argus, the plan to be unveiled in Snyder's State of the State message next week could include switching from a flat 19-cents a gallon tax on gasoline (15 cents for diesel) to a tax that is a percentage of the pump price. Theoretically, this would help road revenues keep pace with inflation, since collections would go up when the price of fuel went up or go down when the price of fuel went down.

Inflation, though, isn't the state's main problem with road revenues. For proof, look at what happened to the price of the Latson Road interchange in Livingston County. The big problem, one that will get even bigger in the future, is that people are buying less fuel. Vehicles are more fuel-efficient. Some, such as electric cars, use little gasoline or diesel at all.

That's why Snyder's plan, as laid out in the media, is disappointing. It doesn't ask drivers of alternatively-fueled vehicles to pay more towards roads. That is the real challenge for the future -- how to make sure everyone using the roads pays towards their construction and upkeep. There should be no free- or nearly free-riders.

But as Snyder showed with his signing of right-to-work-for-less legislation, he thinks free-riders are just fine.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This Would Be a Nice Trend If It Continues

A reporter is only as good as his or her sources.

Anyone who has read about Woodward and Bernstein knows that. The two Washington Post reporters would never have been able to break open Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal without their sources.

One thing that has bothered me about the Livingston Press and Argus in recent months is the heavy reliance on the far-right Mackinac Center as sources for stories. Any report issued by the Mackinac Center usually shows up immediately as the basis for a story or editorial in the newspaper.

It's not that the stories aren't "balanced." The stories generally feature comments from opposing points of view. It's that the stories always start with whatever premise the Mackinac Center report or study or news release is based on and everyone else is asked to react or rebut, as if the Mackinac Center was the exclusive possessor of the truth or their framing of the issue is the only way to view it.

So it was refreshing Wednesday (Jan. 9, 2013) to see the Livingston Press and Argus base one of its editorials on a report from the centrist Center for Michigan's Bridge Report.The editorial encourages Republican Rick Snyder to stick to facts when making decisions, as he promised to do when elected, and takes him to task for relying on phony claims about Indiana's supposed economic successes after it passed anti-union legislation.

As the editorial notes, the Bridge report revealed that claims of businesses relocating to Indiana due to the anti-worker "right to work" legislation were vastly exaggerated.

This approach is refreshing -- and useful for readers interested in multiple points of view