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Friday, November 4, 2011

Holland City Council Candidate Scott Troeger's Message to WMP Readers

I am proud to call Holland my home. I have lived and traveled throughout the world and chose to settle
in the community that welcomed my great-grandparents. With the exception of college and active duty
military service I have been an active member of my community since 1975.

It is easy to claim that you believe in cooperation between governments and/or business. However, I
can point to specific instances where I have demonstrated leadership in that arena:

1. As an Officer in the Michigan National Guard, I led when we assisted Tulip Time during parades
with traffic control and medical emergencies.
2. I was a Trustee of the Holland School Board when we finalized the relationship with the City of
Holland to create the joint fueling facility that has saved the taxpayers significant funds.
3. Also during my tenure as President of the School Board, we had the groundbreaking opportunity
to work with the entire staff of the District to make significant cuts in the budget. Furthermore,
we were able to open mid-contract bargaining sessions and negotiate reductions in pay for
everyone. This phenomenal cooperation allowed the District to maintain programs and staffing
that would have otherwise been cut.
4. As a member of one of the area Public Safety Teams I led the effort to raise (to date) more than
$10,000.00 to purchase a rescue boat and equipment. All of the funding came from business
organizations and no public dollars were spent. (see story in Holland Sentinel Archives dated
Nov. 25, 2003)

As a member of Holland’s City Council I would be especially conscious of the public trust in the
expenditure of funds. I have a particular sense of pride in the fact that I was on the Board during the
last major building program for Holland Public Schools. Major portions of that project were completed
not only early, but under budget. The monies saved allowed additional improvements to facilities not in
the original plan and benefited the students, staff and our community.

The current economic realities are causing hardship to the families of Holland and beyond. I believe we
must focus on:

1. JOBS. Every tool available must be used. Those tools include:
a. Tax abatements. Business development costs money. If Holland has the ability to
attract employment we must give industry the chance to save on their investments and
create well paying jobs.
b. Organization such as Lakeshore Advantage, Hedcor and the Chamber of Commerce.
These groups need support to seek and attract business and industry to Holland.
c. Reliable and affordable energy and water. Peter Garforth was quick to point out that
Holland has the unique ability to generate electricity at the municipal level. We need to
use this to our advantage. The BPW has an exceptional track record for reliability in its
power, water and wastewater treatment systems. Even after suffering major storms,

Holland recovered its utilities quickly.
d. Transportation of goods. Holland is located in an area with abundant transportation
options. We have easy access to road networks, air cargo possibilities, Great Lakes
shipping and even rail. We need to promote all of these advantages and continue to
improve on their accessibility.

2. PUBLIC SAFETY. Holland has cut deeply into our public safety services. The current term being
used is “minimal staffing”. Public safety is not satisfactory when conducted at minimal levels.
Options are available to provide “optimum staffing” and we must explore them.

The Professional Firefighters of Holland’s Department of Public Safety has endorsed my
candidacy because of my long term commitment and beliefs.

3. OUR ENERGY FUTURE. The Sustainability Committee has recommended a course of action and
an outline for Holland’s energy future. The plan needs to be adopted… soon.

Our community needs education and the opportunity to participate in implementation of the
program that will carry us for the next forty years. We need to remember that the plan must
adapt to changing technology and new opportunities as time passes.

Everyone needs to take ownership. This ownership includes citizens, business, educational
institutions, churches and government.

4. FILLING VACANCIES OF SENIOR CITY STAFF. The current leadership of full-time city staff has too
many “interim’s”. Filling these positions is critical for our future.

Qualifications for both City Manager and BPW General Manager have to include:

a.
b.
c.
d.

Superior fiscal responsibility skills.
A commitment to long term planning.
A collaborative spirit.
The ability to introduce innovative opportunities that will continue to make Holland a
preferred destination for well-paid jobs.

(See quote: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/feature/x1764488103/Holland-city-council-
candidates-weigh-in-on-energy-new-manager-more)

I believe my demonstrated commitment and proven record are a benefit to Holland. My understanding
of current issues provides me with the ability to join Holland’s City Council and immediately participate.

Mr. Troger can be found on Facebook HERE

***Regarding the Holland Sentinel saying he supported the gay rights measure before council:

"I do not know why the Sentinel reported me as being in favor of the ordinance.  The July article you referred to is in regard to the League of Women Voters forum that was held before the primary.  If you were to watch the tape of that forum, you would see that I outlined objections to it.  In fact, you might even notice that one or more of my competitors thanked me for the issues I brought out."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Klomparens: "A New Voice for Holland City Council"

I have worked or lived in Holland, Michigan for nearly all my life. My ancestors came to Holland in 1847. As a retired educator, I have time to work for the citizens of this community.

If elected to city council, I pledge to speak up on your behalf. I have supported the following ideals from the get go: (1) at green energy policy, (2) limited tax abatements for companies and industry in the name of fairness, (3 support current levels of employment of city workers, (4) develop new language out lawing discrimination against the LGBT community, (5) control urban blight, but not at the expense of homeowner's rights, (6) use tax dollars with fiduciary responsibly, (7) I will listen to your ideas and viewpoints.

Sincerely, Wayne Klomparens -a new voice for Holland City Council

Wayne can be found on Facebook HERE

(WE HAVE ALSO OFFERED MR. KLOMPARENS OPPONENT THE CHANCE TO SHARE A MESSAGE WITH POTENTIAL VOTERS AS WELL...)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Zylstra: Update on Holland Energy Plan


Update on the Holland Energy Plan


Please see previous Posts on the Holland Energy decision here and here.


On November 2, the Holland BPW will be holding an all-day session at the DoubleTree Hotel in Holland entitled Risk Analysis Process: Session 2. It is a follow up to the first session held back on September 28 by HDR Consultants that set out the perimeters (workbook here) for the subsequent sessions that the BPW has held as as part of what it calls P21decison, a relatively elaborate process whose stated goal is to go through approximately eight major options they've laid out as possible ways in which the BPW can supply the Holland area with its future energy needs. Because the November 2 Session will seek to fix the economic inputs and values, and thus be fairly determinative, it seems a good time to review what has happened up to now in anticipation of that meeting.

On October 17, the Holland Sustainability Committee voted to approve the recommendations of the Community Energy Plan  which it had spent the previous year working on, together with Garforth International. The recommendation was to approve Scenario B, which offered a wide variety of generation options and time schedules to provide for the next 40 years of Holland's energy future. This recommendation was sent to City Council, and is awaiting action.

On a parallel course, the Holland BPW has begun its P21decision process on September 28. It has its website, and the BPW is beginning the process of putting power points and videos of the presenters online, both on its own site and on Macmedia.org. Up to now, we've seen discussion of generation options, fuel types, regulations, and assorted topics such as dredging, district heating and thermal discharge into Lake Macatawa.

The two processes, Garforth and P21decision, definitely have different emphases. But they do agree on one central question, that is, what should be the very next step for Holland and which asset should we go with to power the next 5-10 years. And they both come up with the same possible three options:

1. Solid Fuel/Circulating Fluidized Bed - A 70 MW plant located at current JDY site, costing $270 million, and fueled by a mix of Petroleum Coke, Coal and Biomass. It will be able to support current snowmelt system as well as, with additional modifications, a district heating system. The CEP puts the levelized cost of electricity from this starting in 2016 option at $74.9 per MwH with no Greenhouse gas penalty, and $98.6 per MwH with one.

2. Combined Cycle Gas Turbines - Two LM2500 Combined Cycle turbines costing $105M for 70 MwH capacity (Garforth) or $90M for 55 MwH capacity (HDR/P21). It will be fueled with Natural Gas. It will be able to support current snowmelt system as well as, with additional modifications, a district heating system. The CEP puts the levelized cost of electricity from this option, starting in 2016, at $65.5 per MwH with no Greenhouse gas penalty, and $75.7 per MwH with one.

3. Combined Heat and Power Plant - One LM2500 Combined Cycle turbine costing $60M for 30 MwH capacity (Garforth) or $40M for 20 MwH capacity (HDR/P21). It will be fueled with Natural Gas. It will be able to support current snowmelt system as well as, with additional modifications, a district heating system. The CEP puts the levelized cost of electricity from this option, starting in 2016, at $81.1 per MwH with no Greenhouse gas penalty, and $91.9 per MwH with one.

The following table shows the Option-Benefit matrix as developed by HDR, and discussed at the first RAP session:


If this is supposed to be just a preliminary idea of how the final process is going to work, that's fine. But if these are the only real categories that are going have weight in the final decision, that seems problematic. There are at least two fairly important concerns that are not dealt with at all here.

One, there's no scoring of emissions, which is important when we talk about the high cost of externalities.  A new paper in the American Economic Review attempts to  estimate the cost imposed on society by air pollution, and allocate it across industries. The costs being calculated don’t include the long-run threat of climate change; they’re focused on measurable impacts of pollution on health and productivity, with the most important effects involving how pollutants — especially small particulates — affect human health, and use standard valuations on mortality and morbidity to turn these into dollars. The following table represents their findings as it relates to the present discussion:


 A lot of that backs up what the Garforth report details. In the case of the AER report, it estimates the the Gross Economic Damage (GED) costs of Coal at an additional $28 per MwH, and Natural Gas at an additional $8 per MwH. This is very consistent with the GHG penalty the Garforth report applies to the two different fuel sources, which assigned a $24 and $10 penalty respectively.

Secondly, what the matrix also doesn't do is score financial risk. The larger list of categories does talk about fixed and variable costs, and that underscores in some sense the idea that larger projects carry more downsides than smaller ones do, as well as the idea that both Coal and Natural Gas have very uncertain price forecasts. But I don't think they are robust enough to underscore how much downside financial risk there is in large scale public works projects that are built, in some sense, on speculation of future revenues from a future clientele that is not at all certain. There is a category entitled 'Capacity Market Revenue' that deals with selling excess energy, but that is scored as a pure positive, without a corresponding acknowledgement that having an excess built capacity represents a downside risk as well.

Hopefully, these two areas get fuller attention in the next RAP session; without a fuller accounting of emissions as a serious social cost and financial risk as a large element, its hard to say that the final analysis will be at all comprehensive.

Douglas Zylstra is a small business owner, Vice-Chair of the Ottawa County Democratic Party, and a contributor to West Michigan Politics. Connect with him on Facebook HERE   

 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Zylstra: Holland Community Energy Plan Finalized

READ PART ONE OF DOUG'S PIECE HERE

Monday night was the formal presentation of the Community Energy Plan, proposed by consultant Peter Garforth working with local government, utility and business leaders, to the Holland Sustainability Committee.

In a previous post, I gave a short overview of the plan in its mid-stage. The final report didn't vary a whole lot from that preliminary report. It did, however, provide a recommended course of action, as well as financial implications of that action, and those of the other arranged scenarios.
In my overview, looking at the different pros and cons, I had posited Scenario B as the preferable as well as the more likely, scenario:
..it seems fairly evident that Scenario D, which is basically the CFB Coal option has substantially more drawbacks and much less in its favor than Scenario B, the more alternative, renewable energy heavy option. I think the strongest case against the CFB plant is just the amount of financial risk and negative incentives - for efficiency and conservation - that it introduces into the equation. Likewise the greatest argument for small scale renewables is the mirror opposite, that the investment scalability gives it a greater flexibility and involves overall less financial risk and greater incentives for conservation and positive environmental outcomes.
The final proposal by the Project Work Team comes to many of the same conclusions, and has the benefit of being able to put some economic analysis behind it. The more interesting of these was the discussion regarding what would be the preferred energy source for the city going forward, ie, Coal in the form of  a 70 Megawatt CFB option or Natural gas in the case of a 70 megawatt Combined Cycle option. Both would be sited at the current DeYoung Power plant location, in part in order to continue being able to supply the downtown snowmelt system but also because whichever option chosen would be the source of a “district heating” system that could include Hope College, Holland Hospital and the Holland Community Aquatic Center. As a side note, whichever scenario chosen would also include retrofitting homes in the city with energy-saving measures, such as insulation and newer windows, heating and cooling systems. Such projects could begin in the historic district, where 150 homes would be targeted for upgrades within two years. So the real difference here is to what the main source of electrical generation will be, that is, the CFB or CCGT option.

The following table shows the upfront capital costs of these two options, as well as some of the subsidiary generation options:

The initial capital costs for the CFB option are over 150% greater than those of the Combined Cycle option, and that $270M for the CFB is, as I understand, a one-time build, meaning that it's fairly upfront costs. The $105M is set to be spent over a number of years as demands warrants on additional turbines. This is obviously a tremendous point in favor of the CCGT option. 
This lower capital cost, in the case of the CCGT is offset, at least in part, by the cost of fuel  for each generating option. The following table combines the lifetime capital cost and merges with  the fuel cost over the same time to get at a comparable levelized cost:

The analysis gives three different costs, cost of electricity of each option, cost of electricity with a Greenhouse Gas Penalty regime in place and then the cost of district heating, were it chosen, for each option.  It also gives them at three points in time: 2016, 2030, and 2050. A quick comparison of each at the 2030 mark:
                             Cost MwH    Cost MwH w/ GHG Penalty    Cost MwH w/District Heating
70 MW CFB:         $101.2                       $180                                              $110.2
70 MW CCGT       $91.5                         $125.3                                           $105.3

Obviously, when we start looking at things 20 years out, it's really hard to be confident in a forecast, but what is really striking is what happens to the Coal vs. Natural gas options with a carbon tax in place. By 2016, when production is set to begin, I doubt we'll have one, but it's hard to believe that by 2030, when CO2 levels are set to rise by over 40%, that we won't have one. We almost had one a few years ago, and as the global ill effects of carbon emissions become more well accepted, it's almost a near certainty that we'll have one then. That future cost difference,  plus the financial flexibility that staging the new turbines offers, for me, puts the discussion very much in favor of the CCGT option.

A final point on Externalities:
The question of external costs for both Coal and Natural Gas extraction and combustion were brought up in both sessions as questions, but, outside of the calculation of the cost MWh w/ GHG Penalty, these costs were not part of the report.

Douglas Zylstra is a small business owner, Vice-Chair of the Ottawa County Democratic Party, and a contributor to West Michigan Politics. Connect with him on Facebook HERE 

Hall: Snyder Recall Will Be Shot Down In Flames

Gov. Snyder
Despite his historic twenty point victory only ten months ago, special interests are hard at work to send Governor Snyder packing from Lansing and back home to Ann Arbor. They can't get him on East I-96 fast enough!

Backed by the Michigan Education Association, a recall against the Governor is underway.

Hide yo' grandma! Hide yo' kids! Cause Governor Snyder's going after everybody out here! Except evil big business of course....

Unfortunately, much of the "reasons" for the recall are pure BS.


Let's start with the controversial Emergency Manager Bill.

If one listened to recall backers (or Rachel Maddow), the Governor is "nerding it up" in Lansing by plotting ways to take over your town and/or school district.

Meanwhile, back in the real world... The same amount of Emergency Managers exist today that existed under Jennifer Granholm: four! The Jackson Citizen Patriot opined on the subject and layed it out brilliantly.


"When Rick Snyder took office as governor, emergency financial managers were picking through the rubble of four school districts’ and cities’ budgets in Michigan. His administration asked for and got a new law giving these managers new power. There were protests and an attempt to recall Snyder — and yet only those four remain under financial managers’ control.

That fact was made clear in a new Associated Press story, which pointed out how the new law has not reached as far as some predicted. Maybe the law’s critics can take a deep breath and relax.

Only one entity, the Highland Park school district, today is being considered for a financial manager. State officials turned down requests to review finances from officials in Allen Park and here in Jackson.

The recent law is either less of a threat to troubled cities and schools than critics say it is, or maybe it is just doing its job."





All the entities that have been taken over deserve it completely, and they were given time and time again to get their act together.

Another one of the MEA's favorite talking points is the fact Gov. Snyder reduced some financial assistance to school districts. Not only can Michigan's school districts afford the reduction through smart reforms, they can also use the opportunity to retool an education system in Michigan that is still mostly stuck in the 20th Century.

While almost every other area was cut by around 10%, education was only cut by around 2%. It's interesting to note that Gov. Granholm also took hundreds of millions from schools, but the MEA didn't try to recall her...

Regarding senior pensions, why should seniors who are pretty well off get by tax free on their income, while hard working folks bringing in a lot less are taxed?

Listen to the MEA, and where did Grandma and Junior's money go? Big business!

Anyone who listened for two seconds to the Gubernatorial election knew Republicans were getting rid of the Michigan Business Tax. Snyder, calling the MBT the "dumbest tax in the country," repealed it. However, he also axed the loopholes big businesses were cashing in on, meaning they still have to pay the same or in some cases, more in taxes. Small businesses are the true beneficiaries of the Snyder tax overhaul.

Even if the MEA can get the amount of signatures needed to waste the state's money and have a recall election, they will not be successful. Snyder will win the day with Independents, moderates in both parties, and will retain enough support from the Republican base to make it all the way until 2014. At that time, when all the lies haven't come to fruition and the rhetoric is overshadowed by results, Governor Snyder will win four more years as the state's "CEO."

Brandon Hall is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
Read more about him and the WMP team HERE

GH Tribune: Cherette: Snyder "One Tough Cookie"


(Granholm takes over Benton Harbor)

Op/Ed: Snyder isn't plotting to take over your school district

Thursday, September 8, 2011

CHIODO: Obama "jobs plan" is Stimulus, Part Two


What exactly is Obama’s plan?   He has suggested a “balanced approach” but what is that?   Allow me to gaze into my crystal ball and make a prediction.   After trying to lead from behind and following his vacation, he will enlighten us.    Is this prompted by falling support among his staunchest supporters (black community) and across-the-board, historically low approval numbers?



Whatever the reason, he is faced with an impossible task of pairing his ideology with something that will “stimulate” the economy.  It must be a bold move and forward looking with no reference of results from the past two and a half years.



What will we hear?  In addition to overlooking multiple metrics which are obvious to everyone, he will continue blame the economy he inherited which was “at the brink”.   On top of this, he will blame current Republicans in Congress for ….. What?   What exactly has the current congress done to block Obama?   What proposals has Obama submitted other than vague references of the rich paying their “share”?    Ironically, even if congress had blocked anything, he’d just backdoor his plans with an executive order or impose new regulations without benefit of congress through various agencies.   



By any measure the original stimulus not only failed to spur the economy and jobs. Many would argue it made it worse while destroying economic outlook.    Rather than try anything with proven results (like lower business tax), it is likely he will continue to do that which failed before.   The stimulus was about $1 trillion, part of almost $5 Trillion in spending in less than 3 yrs, requiring a debt ceiling increase to give him more spending room.



To be fair, $5 trillion in three years was not wasted completely.  It cemented support of bankers, unions, government workers and millions of low income assistance recipients.  It allowed Obama to “spread the wealth” among the poor, not-so-poor and of, course big money friends and ideological brothers.



Getting back to the impossible task, it is not brain surgery to create jobs and improve the economy.   By any logical view, it would mean a reversal of virtually every piece of his business killing legislation and executive orders, while ceasing his rhetoric of taxing the rich and demonizing industry which has strangled the private sector.   Most importantly, it would require massive cuts to government programs, dismantle agencies and negate regulatory power.



Sadly, ideology of a Socialist like society will not let him, resulting in his visible foul mood of late.  


The more his is pressured by all sides looking for relief, the madder he gets and seeks to place blame on everyone but himself including the Japanese earthquake and “bad luck”



The biggest source of his poor disposition was the debt ceiling “crisis”.  Rather than a simple, painless process, the media attention made it major epiphany to the American public.  It raised awareness to the real problem (spending and debt).  That the public is aware spending is the problem runs counter to every instinct he has to grow government and increase control.



Jobs is the number one issue and a grand strategy is called for.  His only logical answer?   Propose an historic spending scheme, perhaps eclipsing the original stimulus. 



With daily erosion of the recently increased debt ceiling, Obama desperately needs to raise it further.  His justification will be for a “jobs initiative” which is actually another stimulus, but that word won’t be mentioned).



Hurricane Irene was perhaps seen as a “crisis, which shouldn’t be wasted” and maybe the over hype by every media outlet was part of the plan.  Although less than hyped, it will still provide an excuse for billions in spending to fix roads, etc.



Spending on hurricane damages can only go so far.   He needs an excuse to call for much more spending.   This, I predict will be the crux of his “jobs initiative”


The original stimulus was supposed to be for infrastructure projects, bridges to nowhere and especially “community grants” to impoverished center city areas which will be a promise to shore up support for his based of minorities.  Whatever “investments” are made, history tells us they will have the same results as similar big city projects unfolding over the past 50 yrs.

My guess is he will use the same script for “Stimulus II” with he same predictable results as the first.   His bold “jobs initiative” will make headlines.   Obama will be seen as the Pied Piper throwing money all over in an attempt to be loved.

The spending levels he will ask for will never fly and he knows it. In fact, he will ask for the largest possible amount.  Perhaps even tie it with the next increase to the debt ceiling again to ensure it will not pass congress.   He knows the Republican congress and the great majority of Americans will be against another stimulus as they were against the first.  Against the backdrop of the stimulus’ failure, the opposition will even be greater.

However, among the least informed of his Democrat support it will play well.   With the inevitable 


When congress rejects it, his campaign speeches will proclaim, “I tried to help, but the 
Republicans stood in the way”.   (Teleprompter), “repeat often and blame Republican racism for standing in the way of jobs for minorities”  



For the noisiest and most hard line liberal of his base which wants him to stand firm against any indication of fiscal conservancy, it will increase their support.  However for any moderates or those looking for results oriented options, I doubt they will be charmed.  In fact, they will be turned off by the continued blame game.   

JIM CHIODO is the leader of the Ottawa County (Tea Party) Patriots

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Zylstra: The Holland Energy Plan - Coal vs. Renewables


This past June 20, Peter Garforth came to Holland to present the most recent version of the Holland Community Energy Plan that was commissioned the City's Sustainability Committee.  You can see the slide show here, and the video presentation here.

The plan consists of two basic propositions, one, creating a more energy efficient consumption future for the City, and two, seeking to find the right mix for energy generation and sourcing for the upcoming half-century. The Community Energy Plan (CEP) foresees that a certain level of energy efficiency will be pursued regardless of how the City sources its energy. Thus the real decision lies in the possible ways to power our future.

To that end, the CEP proposes four different scenarios, all with different sourcing options, levels of investment and greenhouse gas emission targets.

A brief overview:
Scenario A
1. Energy Efficiency renovations for both residential and commercial buildings throughout the city.
2. 20 MW of Combined Heat and Power for the Battery Cluster.
3. District heating for core city area.
4. Maintain current Solid Fuel capacity to 2050 (JDY, Cambell, Belle River)
5. Introduce 55 MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine in three phases by 2026

Scenario B

CEP Scenario A plus
1. 24MW of Solar PV to eliminate summer peak –
start in 2012 complete by 2050
2. Add 20MW Biomass Generating Block after 2030
using bio-gasification
3. Blend bio-gas/natural gas starting in 2013 and
leveling off at 10% by 2023 for CHP and CCGT
4. Add 37 MW(nom) Wind by 2020

Scenario C

CEP Scenario B with
1. Add 70 MW Solid Fuel with 30% biomass by 2050
2. CCGT not implemented

Scenario D

CEP Scenario C without PV, Wind and Blended Bio-Gas
All of these scenarios come down to the simple question of how much energy should we be consuming versus how much we should be producing and from what sources.  We, as a city, can either decide to reduce energy consumption a lot and invest heavily in ways to do that,  as well as limit the amount of energy we plan to produce, and make that from as many renewable sources as possible. Or, we can try a little bit of energy efficiency and focus our investments on building up energy production from mainly carbon sources to both supply our own future energy needs but also, and just as importantly, those of outside communities as a future profit center for the city.

In picking through these scenarios,  Holland City Council will be answering the question of what energy consumption and distribution will look like here for the next half century. It will do so with a lot of decent rationales on either side and I'd like to take a look at them, using as base scenarios B and D, which I believe best exemplify the two poles of the equation.

Scenario D

Scenario D involves basic energy efficiency measures, Combined Heat and Power for Battery Clusters, coupled with the replacement of the current James de Young with a new Circulating Fuel Bed with a 78 MW capacity. This scenario easily covers currently forecast demand with additional to spare. It is permitted for a fuel source of biomass, traditional coal as well as more controversial Petroleum Coke.
 Pros:
1. Obviously, money. A 78MW CFB fueled in its majority by pet coke would produce relatively inexpensive electricity not only for its current customer base but also for outside customers via the grid.
2. Supply seems relatively assured, at least in the short term. The planned CFB is permitted to employ 50% of its fuel source from Pet Coke, which is capable of producing lower-cost electricity due to its low price as a refinery by-product.

3. PA295 - Holland BPW still has to meet PA 295 requirements, which stipulates that 10% of its power come from renewable sources. Currently the BPW projects that we can fulfill requirements without additional new capacity out to 2019. One of the stated advantages of the CFB is that it provides fuel diversity. It will be able to burn biomass, biosolids from the waste water treatment plant. Whether that will be enough to get to PA 295 compliance is unsure, but it would be a help.

Cons:

1. Obviously, greenhouse gas-producing CO2, which is the result of burning coal and pet coke for both the city and downwind communities.

2. Although the BPW has been given its permit by the DEQ for the CFB, the Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit against the state in Ingham county to rescind it. Even if the lawsuit fails, groundbreaking will have to begin by (18 months from date).

3. Concern about expanding DeYoung — located on Holland’s Lake Macatawa shoreline — and its impeding future redevelopment of that shoreline from the historical industrial use to a more recreational, residential, or commercial use.

4. At over $300M, the initial investment is costly, and adds a level a risk to the BPW portfolio that other options don't because it's a one build, one time option instead of smaller builds over time. Also, if demand does not materialize, and energy efficiency proves more inexpensive, this could put the city in serious imbalance.

5. Allegan Wind Study - The results of the Allegan study should come in this summer. If they are positive, the project itself could produce 80 to 130 megawatts of power. That's obviously enough power and would obviate the need for the CFB and would obviously take care of the PA 295 requirement.

6. The EGO Analysis that the BPW is undertaking will give us a good indication It would be a more expensive source of power than the CFB.

7. CFB excess production - Part of the rationale behind the CFB is that the excess energy it produces could be sold back to the grid, creating a potential profit center for the city. But, unless energy demands rise substantially, both in Holland and elsewhere, grid prices will not be all that high, cutting into profitability. Add to the equation the fact that Wolverine Power also has a state permit to build a new coal plant, and they will also be putting excess capacity on the grid, which could exacerbate the price problem even more.

8. Combined Cycle vs CFB option - In the Original Black and Veatch study, the Combined Cycle Natural Gas option came in at a slightly lower cost than the CFB option. The CC option does have the advantage of being more scalable downwards, plus the advantage of producing drastically less greenhouse gas emissions. As stated above, CFB would be able burn biomass, biosolids from the waste water treatment plant, which CC would not.

9. Construction costs - Estimates of $300 million would make this a massive project for the city. Interest costs on estimate of $225M alone would be near $10 million. Currently, the BPW has some $80 million in expenses and slightly more than that in revenues. Add in interest costs  as well as other fixed costs, and the power plant will represent a serious financial risk. If fully successful, total city revenues would go from $160 million to approximately a quarter billion dollars and BPW will be responsible for more than $200 million of projected revenue. That's a big increase in BPW's influence within the community.

Assuming a construction cost of $300M, annual revenue of $50M, and a net income, pre-borrowing costs, of $5M, the coal plant would have a return on equity of 2%. That seems incredibly low, given the risk of fluctuation in fuel input costs.

Note - Revenues are based on estimated $.08 per kwh and 10% net margin per 2010 Annual report on electricity operations.
Scenario B
Scenario B likely involves more intense energy efficiency measures, Combined Heat and Power for Battery Clusters, coupled with Solar PV, Biomass Natural Gas Combined Cycle Gas Turbines and significant sourcing from wind.
Pros

1. The word 'renewable', says it all. Fossil fuels are perishable sources of energy whereas renewable energy sources are non-perishable and can be easily replenished. Being non-perishable energy sources, one doesn't have to worry about these energy reserves declining or getting exhausted in the future.

2. Most renewable energy sources do not involve the combustion or burning of fossil fuels or other substances, which otherwise result in the release of toxic chemicals or other harmful atmospheric byproducts. Therefore, renewable energy is a clean source of energy and one that offers numerous environmental benefits.

3. Scalable. The plan calls for a diverse portfolio of renewable options, envisioned in such a way that investments are made over time.

4. Most of these energy sources have low maintenance costs associated with them. Also, renewable energy sources such as solar energy, can be tapped very easily and conveniently for domestic use by individual home owners. In addition, Solar can be used as a peaking energy source during summer months.

5. Renewable energy sources are increasingly competitive with new carbon-based construction, in some cases already significantly so.
6.  Renewables, because they involve the creation of new technologies, have a greater potential for job creation in West Michigan than carbon based generation.
Cons
1. Reliability and consistency is a significant drawback with respect to renewable energy. Atmospheric conditions and geographical locations make a huge impact on the efficacy of these energy source. 
Going through the pros and cons of each scenario, it seems fairly evident that Scenario D, which is basically the CFB Coal option has substantially more drawbacks and much less in its favor than Scenario B, the more alternative, renewable energy heavy option. I think the strongest case against the CFB plant is just the amount of financial risk and negative incentives - for efficiency and conservation - that it introduces into the equation. Likewise the greatest argument for small scale renewables is the mirror opposite, that the investment scalability gives it a greater flexibility and involves overall less financial risk and greater incentives for conservation and positive environmental outcomes.

Douglas Zylstra is a small business owner, Vice-Chair of the Ottawa County Democratic Party, and a contributor to West Michigan Politics. Connect with him on Facebook HERE

Doug Zylstra

Monday, August 29, 2011

Price and Right to Work

We first reported on Amanda Price's comments about Governor Snyder and Right to Work HERE.

Rep. Price subsequently denied ever making those comments- CLICK HERE.

Chiodo has since clarified his comments from that post: "In truth, I can't remember exactly what Amanda said.   When I saw the blog, my first thought was, "it's pretty accurate." When Amanda called me, she was emphatic that she hadn't said it.  I said I'd look into it and would post what I remembered from the meeting.   If you have confirmation, I guess you'll have to take it up with her."

On that note, what is Gov. Snyder's position on RTW?


Price's denial is clearly a sign of the political theater ahead as Right to Work is debated.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gary Glenn Makes it Official: He is a Candidate in the 2012 Republican Senate Race

After months of toying with the media, controversial leader of the American Family Association Gary Glenn announced Tuesday he would seek the nomination of the Republican Party for US Senate.

""Over the last 20 years, Debbie Stabenow and Pete Hoekstra have both voted for budgets and debt ceiling increases that resulted in trillions of dollars of increased debt on our economy and our children," Glenn said in a release.

From  Michigan Public Radio:

The 53-year-old from Midland says his views on a variety of issues are very different from Senator Stabenow’s.

“I have championed the issue of worker freedom in the past, supporting right-to-work legislation. Debbie Stabenow is on the opposite side of that issue. I was a champion of protecting constitutionally marriage between one man and one woman. Debbie Stabenow is on the opposite side of that issue.

Glenn also says he wants to repeal the new federal health care reform law.
He also believes America can become energy independent if it drills its oil reserves and uses fracking, a process that removes oil and gas from rock formations.

Glenn recently suffered political defeat in Holland, leaving one MLive commentator to ask " "If Gary Glenn can't muster a couple hundred votes in Holland, how does he expect to beat Debbie Stabenow?"

Controversial leader of AFA Michigan and US Senate candidate Gary Glenn

Was Tuesday's Holland City Council Vote a Loss for Gary Glenn?

BREAKING NEWS: GLENN TO RUN FOR STABENOW'S SEAT

So....Was Tuesday's Holland City Council Vote a Loss for Gary Glenn?


WMP would argue it very much was.

WMP broke the news last night before any other media outlet, declaring "Holland's Second Ward tells Gary Glenn to get lost, re-elects pro gay rights incumbent Jay Peters by a wide margin."


First of all, turnout was very low. Pathetically low. Even then, Gary Glenn couldn't motivate just two or three hundred people to go to the polls. Only 365 out of about 5,000 voters voted, and most of those votes were absentee, cast before Glenn's robocalls. 200 went to Peters. If the voters of the Second Ward were as outraged as Glenn claims, one would think they could muster a couple hundred folks out to the polls and send Jay Peters packing.

His outrageous, spin filled robocalls (and ramblings to whatever media outlet will talk to him) sound more like the ramblings of someone who hasn't taken their meds than someone who should be taken seriously as a candidate to represent the people of Michigan in the United States Senate. Did a single person vote for the only candidate in the race who was against the gay rights measure BECAUSE of Glenn's robocalls? If you're one of the 45 who voted for Tonini because of Glenn, email us at westmipolitics@gmail.com We won't hold our breath waiting on those emails...

One reader said : "Why the narrow characterization Jay Peters and those who voted for him? Perhaps he just did a good job, and those in his ward can see that."

WMP is confident that is why most Second Ward voters went with Peters: because of his record of service on Council over the years. That's still a loss for Glenn and a message to him as well. It's a message that says Jay is doing a good job, we don't need you Gary, the Second Ward can govern itself without the influence of "outside agitators."

Glenn issued a statement afterward, out of which one would never know the Holland Reformed Church Classis stands behind the gay rights measure, and that it has religious exemptions:


“We appreciate Jerry Tonini for taking a principled stand against homosexual activists' discriminatory gay rights ordinance that threatens religious freedom and the institution of marriage,” CMF Chairman Gary Glenn said in a prepared statement. “We will continue to oppose that agenda before the City Council and at the ballot box, should the issue ever be put before Holland voters to decide directly.”


One Mlive commentator summed it up well: "If Gary Glenn can't muster a couple hundred votes in Holland, how does he expect to beat Debbie Stabenow?"

Holland Councilman Jay Peters

Ottawa County Patriots Look to Engage Young People: "Not Your Typical Tea Party Meeting"

The Ottawa County (Tea Party) Patriots will host Amy Jayne Hawkins, Executive Director of "Citizens for Traditional Values," at their next meeting.

The meeting takes place at the Herman Miller Library and Community Center in Zeeland, and starts at 7 p.m.

"This isn't your typical Tea Party meeting," said Jim Chiodo, leader of the group. "This meeting is about youth and why we must reach them.  Better yet, how we, as a generation have failed our children and grand children by waiting too long to wake up and get involved.  It may be too late for many of us, but not too late for them to save our country."

Chiodo has a challenge for those attending.

"Bring an 18 to 25 yr old," Chido said.

In a release for the event, Hawkins is featured in a "Q and A" piece.

Q: How do you define the younger generation, or the Millennial Generation? 

A: "The Millennial Generation is defined differently among different sources. I use it as a term to capture the young adult crowd, including those born in the late 70's to those who are now around voting age and were born in the mid 90's."

Q: Why is paying attention to the Millennial Generation Important? 

 A: "The average age of those participating in the Republican Party, or Tea Party Community (aka the more conservative conversation) are probably in their 50's, 60's and older. The older population knows the young adult's presence is needed but have little clue about how to get their attention, much less their action.
 
It's vital that this generation be understood, and engaged because: we are the ones who are - and will be - carrying the brunt of the current leaders' decisions; as individual citizens, teachers, parents, tax payers, business owners, and community leaders, we live in a culture that is the manifestation of the previous generation's inactivity and choices; and we are tomorrow's leaders that could be the answer for preserving the Founding Father's America for future posterity."  

Q: Why should young adults care about what is happening in the government arena?  

A: "Because the sacrifices men and women have made for our freedom for over two centuries demands our stewardship; because our children will benefit in a free society where the individual has value; and because there is blessing in a country where God, not government, is the answer for salvation and prosperity."

Q: Why should the younger generation attend the August 9th meeting? 

A: "Because you need to meet and get to know the men and women who are sorry for what their inaction has done to your America and who are working to make it right. And you need to understand the truth of how we've been duped all these years as a generation. A conversation needs to start. This is an opportunity to influence your community, state and nation but it's a discussion that is only for the bold of heart."
CTV Executive Director Amy Jayne Hawkins

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Other Peter in the US Senate Race: Konetchy Discusses and Debates with West Michigan Politics Readers

  • Ken Cooper Hoekstra or Stabenow; what's the difference...really?
    Sunday at 3:24pm ·

    Jeff King The fallout for Amash has been largely positive. Huizenga, you tell me, but I can't think it is that good.
    Sunday at 3:47pm ·


  • Ken Cooper Huizenga is disappointing. Give him another credit card to max out, and then another. Hoekstra would have voted the same way, he has a voting record to support it.
    Sunday at 4:03pm ·

  • Monte 'Andrea Regan' Blachford Reid's Plan and Obama's Plan have NO support, yet we always have to Compromise? The idiots in charged 'caused the mess, Let the people with guts resolve it.
    Sunday at 4:37pm ·

  • Dennis Lawrence Take a look at Peter Konetchy
    Sunday at 5:54pm ·

  • Ken Cooper Dennis, Peter is very similar to John McCain on occupation, and infiltration, as well as invasion of other countries without a declaration of war. No thank you!
    Sunday at 6:00pm ·

  • Monte 'Andrea Regan' Blachford John McCain? Ken, I think you have the wrong Peter.
    Sunday at 6:03pm ·

  • Ken Cooper Nope, I Have the right one. Unless he deleted our correspondence on his FB page, it is all there.
    Sunday at 6:10pm ·

  • Peter Konetchy I support Justin Amash 100%. I would never vote to raise the debt ceiling. The only way this country will survive in the short term is if we cut spending and balance the budget. Once this is done we need to phase out all non-constitutional federal influence from society and allow the people, through the free market, to address societies needs. Congress has proven time and time again that they are unable to cut spending. Please help elect me so that I can be the "Amash" voice in the Senate.
    Peter Konetchy, Candidate US Senate 2012, Michigan

    Yesterday at 11:02am ·

  • Peter Konetchy Ken, Please post my correspondence in full for all to see. I do not delete correspondence and cannot find any addressed to you. For the record this is how I feel about the military:
    I believe the military should be used to defend the US when we are physically attacked. I do not believe in nation building, a world police force. or use of the military for humanitarian purposes. The primary purpose of the Federal government is to provide for the common defense. I want the most powerful military in the world capable of defending the US if needed. I want a strong military force to deter attacks against the US through the knowledge that such attacks would incur the full force of the US against the attacker. If you disagree with this concept, so be it.

    Yesterday at 11:09am ·

  • Jeff King Peter, OK good reasons to vote for you over Hoekstra . But the Republican party animals are going to want someone who they think can win against Stabenow. Tell us why you are a better person then Hoekstra to win against Debbie?
    Yesterday at 12:13pm ·

  • Peter Konetchy Jeff, of course I want support from the GOP, but don’t expect to receive it till after the primary – if at all. The GOP is often a great part of the problem by supporting candidates they feel can win regardless of ideology. (Remember the Arlen Specter debacle where he received the GOP endorsement hours before he switched parties).

    This election will be a referendum on the status quo vs tea party type reform. To win I need an educated electorate with the courage to vote in the primary for the candidate which best represents their values. Those wanting to rein back, cut, government back to its constitutional limitations will vote for me. Those wanting a safe candidate will vote for the establishment. Franklin's correct when he states” Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” I will win if those desiring liberty vote for liberty over safety.

    Yesterday at 1:17pm ·

  • Jeff King OK, but didn't answer my question. It was again: "Tell us why you are a better person then Hoekstra to win against Debbie?"
    Yesterday at 1:25pm ·

  • Peter Konetchy I'm a better candidate for Senate than Hoekstra because I would not have voted for TARP, Cash for Clunkers, or for the Auto Bailouts. I will actively work to phase out all functions not authorized by the constitution including the departments of Labor, HHS, HUD, Transportation, Education, Energy, and the EPA. As these programs are phased out, I would like to have a complimentary decrease the direct taxes against the individual.

    My long term focus would be to return federal spending to its historical level of less than 5% of GDP. At this level we could eliminate the income tax and once again allowing the fed govt to be indirectly financed as our founders proposed.

    I feel that whoever receives the republican nomination will probably beat Debbie.

    I disagree with your choice of words. Pete Hoekstra is as good a "person" as I. He simply doesn't have the desire to limit government as muhc as I.

    Yesterday at 1:39pm ·

  • Jeff King Perhaps the reason you are disagreeing with my choice in words, is I've asked the same thing twice, yet you didn't answer it, other then suggesting any Republican can beat Debbie.

    Which is not to say your reasons you are better then Pete are not valid, they are, but being able to clearly tell the Republican party animals why you can beat Debbie is going to be real important in getting support. Don't underestimate this...

    Yesterday at 1:51pm ·

  • Peter Konetchy Jeff, I think I've answered the question clearly. The bottom line is that I have a tough up hill battle. We have a year until the primary and I'll work to get me message out. I can't guarantee a win. I don't understand how else I can answer.
    Yesterday at 2:27pm ·

  • Jeff King I was trying to be helpful Peter. Republican party animals are going to be on their hands and knees.... saying how Pete can raise more money then yourself, for example, and how that will be key to beating Stabenow. FUD.... Fear Uncertainly and Doubt. They will also try and marginalize you.

    I really wouldn't treat Hoekstra with kid gloves... your reasons for running against him are dead serious and very focused. With regards to his fiscal performance, I would hope you are a much "better" person then he is. I'm not suggesting he tortures small animals, but I am suggesting principles and fiscal restraint have to matter... alot... and if you need to throw some punches, you should.

    I still don't get it why he quit congress and is running again, the only thing I can figure is he wants to be President someday, and he knew only one President came from congress (most come from either the Senate or Governor). While I didn't agree with some of his positions, he did have good constitute services and he seemed to have alot of power within congress. He was my second choice for Governor, and I'm sure if Cox hadn't been in the race, he would have won (I was a Snyder supporter and the COX/Hoekstra standoff was a gift).

    Yesterday at 2:58pm ·

  • Robert Wells Well as a Pete Hoekstra supporter let me say no one is perfect and we must stop expecting 100% ideoloigical purity in every office older if we do that is how we end up iwth wingnuts only as candidates. Now we have a good field in this primary good rational men who want to help save there nation but I am supporting Pete Hoekstra because not only does he have a clear conservative record but he can get win, he can take a message across the state, raise the money needed, go after Stabenow on her horrible record. I would remind some of you that we control one half of one branch of government so Amash and Huizenga made there choices to Govern. We all want spending reduced and the budget balanced but the reality is we cannot turn a shit 180 degrees quickly it will take time. So let us get the cuts we can get, hold the line on taxes then when we have a Republican Senate, a Republican house and a Romney/Rubio Administration we can make the real changes.
    Yesterday at 3:32pm ·

  • Jeff King So someone trying to live by principles makes them a wingnut? I see.

    I suggest that anyone that thinks Mr. Hoekstra had a "clear conservative record" is the wingnut themselves. He *did* vote for every big goverment program, and more, that Mr. Konetchy mentioned.

    Peter, *this* is a good example of the muddled thinking you are going to be facing.

    Yesterday at 3:37pm ·

  • Robert Wells No I am not saying that anyone who has clear principals is a wingnut I have clear principals what I am saying is this idea that "he once voted a way I didnt like hes a socialist" is silly its the reason that good people dont get into politics, look at Pete H record over his 18 years in congress anyone who is intellectually honest will say it is clearly conservative. Yeah so you would rather have someone you disagree with 95 % of the time like Stabenow then 5% oif the time like Hoekstra that makes sense. What I am saying is we must stop with the idea that 100% compliance with ideology is a deal breaker you have to win an election to govern and Id rather have a guy I m gonna disagree with 5% of the time then feel good beat my chest about nominting a perfect ideoliog and LOSE!
    23 hours ago ·

  • Jeff King First of all Robert, we need to operate from the facts and be speaking the same language. Who said Pete was a socialist? Please answer this question as I saw no reason to make this huge jump.

    Second, I did look at Mr. Hoekstra's record over the last 18. He got a very good start. At one point, he was called one of the more Libertarian like congressman on the hill. But he faltered seriously in recent years. To reiterate Peter's points, TARP, bailouts, cash for clunkers. Tell me, EXACTLY what is the difference between Hoekstra and Stabenow? Sounds the same to me, in fact I understand Stabenow even voted against one of the Bailout bills.

    Robert, if Mr. Hoekstra is your "95% solution" we are doomed. Principles and voting records have to matter. You can call it "wingnuts" or whatever you want to spread fear, but the fact of the matter is, this nation is in trouble, and Mr. Hoesktra was at the helm when it happened. He was in the congress, the Republican congress, that voted us the largest deficient in our history until Obama. That for all their false talk of conservative values, just couldn't stop spending.

    No, I contend to you we must stop with these 5% solutions, and instead of party and the special interests, we must think of our country and children.

    22 hours ago ·

  • Robert Wells Pete is not perfect he made some mistakes in his voting record that is for sure he admits that but his record would look noting like stabenows, he would vote for cut cap and balance, for term limits, to protect the second amendment, to cut spending dramatically, to end base line budgeting, and aside from all that he can actually win the election and have a chance to cast those votes. Rocky in 2002 and Bouchard in 2006 and Jack in 2008 where perfect nearly but they lost so all the take was moot. Pete H can win and will be a good conservative Senator
    22 hours ago ·

  • Jeff King Unfortunately his recent record doesn't support your claims. He had 18 years to cut spending dramatically yet failed.

    According to the Congressional Record, Congressman Hoekstra:

    Voted for over $1 Trillion in new federal spending; (Congressional Roll Call Votes, 1995-2006)
    Co-sponsored the “Bridge to Nowhere”; (HR 3, July 29, 2005, Roll Call Vote 453) and
    Voted for the $850 Billion Wall Street Bailout (HR 1424, October 3, 2008, Roll Call Vote 681)

    The year before he decided to run for Governor, the Club for Growth, a group that tracks up-or-down votes on many individual earmarks, gave Congressman Hoekstra an abysmal 20 percent rating on its annual “RePork Card.”

    http://www.clubforgrowth.o​rg/projects/?subSec=14&id=​667


    22 hours ago ·

  • Ken Cooper Peter K: I'm not going to dig through your public posts on your FB page. I am no longer your "friend" either. I asked you about your foreign policy, and we discussed our involvement in these undeclared wars. In short, you told me that you supported what we were doing overseas. That is a deal breaker for me. Other than that, you sound like a good candidate, and I wish you luck, but without my vote.
    21 hours ago ·

  • Peter Konetchy Ken,
    You don't need to dig through old fb postings. I did support the war on terror. We did have a declaration of war in that Bush did get congressional approval before going to war in both Afghanistan and Iraq. We had been under attack for many years by Muslim, Al-Qaida, terrorists. For 20 years prior we ignored them as an uncoordinated series of random attacks, in spite of the fact that Al-Qaida repeatedly stated that they were at war with us. 9-11 crystallized the situation. Bush took, what I consider, appropriate action. I wish that we had used overwhelming force, subdued Afghanistan, and then allowed a non-Taliban to form. Same in Iraq. I’m disappointed that during the entire length of the war the Democrats and press vilified Bush for his effort to defeat this enemy, then miraculously stopped the criticism when Obama became Commander in chief.

    20 hours ago ·

  • Ken Cooper Peter, thank you for maintaining your original position.
    19 hours ago ·

  • Peter Konetchy Bob,
    Sorry for the long post.

    If my biggest problem is that I’m an idealist then so be it. I revere other idealists such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, to name a few. They could not live under tyranny, and neither can I.

    Our current government has morphed into as tyrannical a government as was England prior to our revolution. Fortunately, we have a Constitution which secures our liberty - which our congress not only ignores but thoroughly tramples. The only long term solution to our nation’s problems is to purge undue federal influence from every aspect of society, and return this power to the people. When I say “purge”, I mean phasing out the depts of Labor, HHS, HUD, Transportation, Education, Energy, and the EPA to start.

    I agree with our founders that the people, through the free market, or the states (if people desire governmental control) can address these problems much better than the federal government. I do not expect it to happen overnight, but we must start the dialog now. There are currently voices in congress striving to limit government – Justin Amash & Ron Paul to name a few, and I will support these individuals 100%. For the record, my allegiance is to the Constitution, not to party.

    Government desires control, and our constitution is the only safeguard against tyranny. I am in no way inferring Pete Hoekstra was the cause of this problem, but neither was he part of the solution during his term in congress.

    We are a nation of free men with a government of the people. I’m tired of professional politicians, especially status quo republicans, compromising away our liberties. All I ask is a chance to express my opinions throughout this election cycle and let the people of this great state decide who they want to represent them in the Senate. If the people of Michigan support with my “idealistic” views, I’ll win the primary, then go on to win the general. Otherwise, I’ll continue to be a voice of conservatism to whomever will listen.

    Also Bob, Thanks for your friendship. I know you are a good man.

    19 hours ago ·

  • Jeff King Peter, your position on Iraq doesn't make any sense at all. There were no terrorist elements to speak of in Iraq. In fact, it will be one of the most expensive blunders we have made. Iraq was the best counter to terrorism we had in the middle east, and that is why Daddy Bush didn't roll on bagdad in Gulf War 1. Now Iran is our problem, something Reagan knew and played well in propping up Iraq in their 8 year war against Iran.
    16 hours ago ·

  • Robert Wells Pete I think its great that you are idealistic that is a good thing we need more Americans like you to seek public office. I agree with much of what you have to say and I agree we need leaders to stand on principal but I also think that as a leader first you have to govern and second you must understand that while we need serious reform in our Government we cannot expect it to happen over night we must understand that right now we control one half of one branch of government we won the debate in the fact that for the first time in a very long time if not ever we are actually talking about cuts ( I think your idea to get away from base line budgeting is brilliant and must be done by the way)
    9 hours ago ·

  • Robert Wells All I am saying is to the people who say NO NO NO all of it now! That is not realistic. As for our Senate race you are a fine man and would make a great U.S. Senator I simply am Supporting Pete Hoekstra because I have supported him in the past and I believe of the field he is the most qualified of the candidates. You know
    9 hours ago ·

  • Robert Wells that should you be the nominee I will work my guts out for you. I value your friendship and keep running hard and speaking up, viberant primaries are good for everyone.
    9 hours ago ·

  • Peter Konetchy Bob,
    First of all, when did I ever say "NO, NO, NO, all of it now"? I have never said that. All I've ever said is that we have to Immediately - balance the budget. Immediately means that the budget proposed for the next fiscal year should be balanced. Thereafter, in years forthcoming, I support cutting federal spending in real terms. I would like to cut non-constitutionally authorized spending by 8-10% so we can eliminate these programs in a short while - 9-12 years, but I realize I'm working with congress and I need to persuade people to follow the constitution. We cant be content with simply slowing the growth of government. The major problem is that virtually none of our current elected officials think cutting. Your arguing that anyone wanting to cut spending and government influence isn't qualified - a "wingnut", and shouldn't be considered. I can't accept the premise.

    7 hours ago ·

  • Peter Konetchy Robert Wells
    Second, If I'm elected to the Senate, my focus will be to secure life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - (allowance of the people to choose their destiny). I will be an obstructionist in that I will fight to halt the unconstitutional control of government into our lives. This is very much a full time job. Also, holding 1/2 of congress can stop anything. It could have stopped the debt ceiling increase, it could have forced spending cuts, and it can insist on a balanced budget next year. It's just that the democrats and Obama know that the republicans are so weak that they have no fear of being stopped. I, as one person cannot stop them, but I will be a voice they will need to roll over.

    7 hours ago ·

  • Jeff King A sad day when someone who vows to follow the Constitution and live within their means is labeled as "idealistic".
    5 hours ago ·

  • Jeff King Still like to hear your rational on Iraq however Peter.
    5 hours ago ·

  • Robert Wells I wasnt referring that you said those things Pete it seems that is the message being sent by some of my fellow tea party people thats all.