Fairness is a basic tenet of American culture and character. In fact, fairness is the primary principle of liberal political theory. Nothing could be fairer than to tax my income and pass it around so we can all be equally poor. That is only fair, as any good liberal will attest.
Real American fairness, however, is more of the kind that happens when somebody is being treated unfairly in society and Americans step forward to share the hurt and ensure that no one is treated unjustly as a result of their race, religion or occupation. In fact, we have created a body of anti-discrimination laws, none of which is supported by the Constitution, unfortunately, to make sure that people and groups are treated fairly.
This brings us to the problem of the Bonneville Power Administration and its plans to shutter the aluminum industry in favor of other sectors of the economy that consume large quantities of electricity. What is fair after all? Should the employees, their families and the suppliers that depend on the aluminum industry be required to bear the brunt of a problem that affects all of the people in the region? Is that fair? Is it fair of the aluminum industry to expect that the rest of the region should pay exorbitant energy bills so it can continue to operate and profit? Where is the balance in this situation?
We are caught in the confluence of a situation caused by the fruits and nuts of California, and an aberration of the weather patterns sponsored by Mother Nature, and there is unquestionably a shortage of electrical capacity in the region. The responsibility for this failure has to be shared by the BPA as well as our political leaders, and they both seem intent on taking the politically easy way out to avoid accountability. How about applying some old-fashioned American fairness to this problem?
As I understand the situation, the "server farms," which power the Internet, consume almost, if not more, electricity to operate as a medium-sized aluminum smelter. I have heard no one say, "Let's shut down a few server farms so we can avoid raising consumer rates." Why is that? Why not be fair and actually show some real leadership at the same time?
There are more ways than one to skin the cat, as my daddy used to say. It is incumbent upon our political leadership to find a more balanced and fair way to see us through this crisis than to kill an industry that supports many of the rural communities in the region.
John W. Koger
quality insurance manager,
I want to thank you for the feature article in the May 31 edition of The Inlander, which was a preview of our Blues Fest.
Though the weekend weather forced us indoors, the event was highly successful.
We revamped our music department Friday morning in anticipation of unfavorable weather, removing and rearranging fixtures and book racks. That way we could seat 75 people, in addition to making room for a makeshift stage for the performers.
Several hundred people attended over the weekend, and the music was fabulous. There are so many talented blues musicians in this area.
And Karen Tyler [a blues singer and songwriter from Austin, Texas] was so impressive not only with her awesome singing voice, but also with her great rapport with the children during the "Blues for Kids" segment.
Many spectators and participants mentioned your article this weekend, and I know that the performers were appreciative as well. Thanks again for your support of our event and the local music scene.
Hastings on North Division, Spokane