Electing to Participate

ballot 0619Perhaps you missed me yesterday; perhaps you heaved a sigh of relief to not be bothered by me; perhaps you didn’t even notice that I wasn’t in your inbox (if you’re following along at home), but I wasn’t here yesterday.

I was going to be; I was busy writing, writing away, but at some point realized I had the calendar confused yet once again and ought to post that one on Tuesday, the real June 25. For once, I even had a back-up topic at hand, but Time got in the way.

This and next are the two busiest weeks of the Pat’s Screen Printing year, and it seemed horribly irresponsible to be sitting around writing after already taking extra time to return moldy raspberries to City Market (somehow, exchanging those caused the strawberries I bought alongside the replacement berries to cost one penny) and stopping at True Value, then talking carpet on the phone with Dusty.

Which may have been a good preventative. He was calling to double-check which room got the gray carpet and which got the emerald green. “What emerald green?” I asked. It’s supposed to be blue, possibly tilting toward green, and one of the carpet guys was telling him it looked like the adjacent bathroom floor. That color sounded correct, but not green. When Lynn went out last evening, gray carpet was down, but nothing in the other room, so maybe they did bring the wrong carpet and Dusty’s double-check saved everyone the expense of putting the wrong color down.

Plus there was the extra-long lunch to get my truck to the mechanic’s (on Sunday Mr. Barry and I were able to confirm the “phantom drain” theory I read about on-line, but not where it’s coming from). My mechanic lives right across the street from me, and his wife runs his front office, so we had to cover the house contract (she knows and likes the buyers) and the college-boy neighbors. I thought maybe it was just us, but she is ready to track down the owner of the house and file a complaint. These boys seem to think their front yard makes a serviceable trash can for all their party beverage leavings.

At any long-winded rate, I never got to a post yesterday. And I was just going to go with the nearly-there post from yesterday that should be launched today, especially since I have to be out an hour early for The Inspector to pass judgment on us, but instead I want to talk about Election Day.

No, not the one that has us in such a national fervor (did you see yet another Democrat has entered the fray? What are they all thinking?) despite being one year and four and a half months away, but the one taking place today. If you’re unaware of it, don’t worry, because you’re likely not eligible to cast your ballot. But I am, for the first time.

Today is the annual meeting of the Gunnison County Electric Association, of which I am now a proud, I’m sure, member. (At the rate our construction guys are chewing through electricity, we’d better be proud. Or GCEA ought to be proud of us.) And because GCEA is a cooperative, owned by members like me, there’s a board of directors. And the members get to vote on them.

I think voting is the most important thing people can do. On the November Election Day, both this year and next, Pat’s Screen Printing will close briefly so that every employee (maybe not the 14-year-olds) can cast ballots. It’s only participatory democracy if people participate.

So it is Election Day for GCEA, and have I cast my ballot? (Well, technically, it’s “our” ballot, since Lynn and I together get one vote, but one of us cares more about this than the other and has helped himself to the ballot.) No, I have not, and as the hours tick by, I have yet to make a decision.

There is one contested race, for District #3. I can’t tell, looking at the little map on the ballot, if we will live in District 3 or 4, possibly 6 (because I think I’m looking at waterways rather than roads), but all members vote for all districts.

I have to confess, I don’t know much about my new cooperative, although I did follow last year’s hotly contested race for the District 6 director. A longtime member of the board wanted another term to see through a local hydro-electric project, while his challenger was stressing the need to rely on renewables (which ought to include hydro). Really, a lot of their rhetoric sounded similar, but when the dust settled, Polly Oberosler unseated John Vader.

This year seems to host a similar problem: two good candidates are seeking one seat. A male incumbent, the president of the board with a long history of energy efficient experience, is facing a female challenger who wants to see the board look locally to generate electricity. As with last year, they both seem to be touting the same approach, and so far I can’t decide whom to vote for.

Never mind that these days any decision on any issue seems beyond me, I don’t know which way to go on this. I know of, rather than know, the incumbent. Heck, I even used to print his shirts when he was a building contractor. Then he started doing energy audits and got involved with a now-defunct non-profit that was helping people make their homes more efficient. If he isn’t elected, this body of local knowledge and know-how goes away.

His challenger is an engineer of unspecified sort who is on the board of HCCA (we say Hick-uh), which after a name change stands for High Country Conservation Advocates, an environmental group. She’s also a woman, and while I don’t believe in voting for people just because they are a members of an under-represented group, I think promoting competent diversity is important, and my two minutes to locate the list of board members shows five men and two women (all of them white, which is representative of Gunnison County excluding the City of Gunnison, perhaps one shade to the left, like the Frost on the walls of the Some Day House).

The really unfortunate part of this election, other than the additional burden on my Indecision Factor, is that the directorship for District 2 is open. No one is running for election for that open seat. So, two seemingly qualified, invested candidates, two open seats — and someone’s still going home empty-handed.

Who to vote for? I haven’t decided, and my time is running short. A local accountant is acting as the election auditor, and I either have to get it to his office by 4:30 or vote at the GCEA office between 5 and 6 p.m. And then there’s the annual meeting itself, which begins at 6. I would like to attend, to learn more about this energy co-op I now own, especially since a company whose name is escaping me is seeking to buy GCEA out of its very long-term contract with Tri-State. The upstart spent $37 million to buy a New Mexico co-op out of its contract. That seems like the long way around to try to make money, but no one’s going to ask me if I don’t participate.

Did I mention this is the busiest part of the year for Pat’s Screen Printing? This may be one of those times when my intentions are not well-matched by my actions, even if it means not participating in democracy. George Washington would be very disappointed in me.




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