July 10, 2012 — The once proud standard of separating news from opinion has eroded somewhat in this digital age of bloggers and their websites and the obvious ideological and partisan perspectives being taken by national news organizations.
For example, if one compares news coverage by conservative-leaning FOX News and liberal-leaning CNBC, it seems the viewer is being force-fed information from two distinctly different and totally alternate universes.
Most of these stories on both sides are peppered with pointed, partisan opinions from highly paid pundits, consultants, former and current political figures and the medium’s own talking heads who make the news rather than report it.
What troubles me most is some people apparently can’t separate news from opinion or even worse; they don’t want to have to make that messy distinction. So let me be up front and clear — this column is simply my opinion, for whatever it’s worth.
This is not a news story.
I, like many other Lassen Municipal Utility District ratepayers, must be concerned about the possibility of hundreds of thousands of our dollars being spent to remove the transmission line at the Hayden Hill Gold Mine. (I’d much rather see the district use that money to lower our rates.)
According to documents from a lawsuit between LMUD and Kinross Gold currently making its way through the U.S. District Court, the board alleges Frank Cady, it’s former general manager, purchased the gold mine’s electrical transmission line for $65,000 without its approval or knowledge. Sorry, but I just can’t swallow that one. I don’t think the court will either. Cady alleges the board gave him consensus approval to go ahead with the purchase once certain conditions were met, but that action was never reported to the public.
My concern runs even deeper. Frankly, I don’t know why the LMUD board hired Cady, its former general counsel, as its general manager in the first place. Attorneys, even veteran attorneys for electrical districts, obviously don’t have the education, knowledge or expertise required to adequately serve in that position.
At the time, the newspaper reported Cady was being offered the job (May 10, 2005) we reported: “One concerned citizen said Public Utilities Code 11927 reads, ‘All other things being equal, the board shall appoint as general manager some person who has had experience in municipal engineering or in the construction or management of public utilities.’ Cady has no experience in those areas.”
But this discussion begs the real questions of who runs LMUD — the board of directors or its general manager — and who is ultimately responsible for the operation of the district?
The answers are simple. We, the people, elect the LMUD directors to run the district in our behalf, and they alone have the responsibility to operate the district in a reasonable way. The buck has to stop with them. The general manager is their employee.
If LMUD loses this suit, as I suspect it will, we, the ratepayers, will be stuck with a huge bill to remove a transmission line we could never use and who knows how much more in legal fees and costs. I’m not the least bit happy about that.
Please. Somebody — anybody — on the board over there on South Roop Street, start paying attention to the people’s business. This whole Hayden Hill debacle, however it turns out, brings no good news to your ratepayers.
|< Prev||Next >|