How to Win a Local Political Fight - Parts 1 & 2 (John Droz, Jr.)

How to Win a Local Political Fight - Part 1

Citizens Can Win (and Have Won) by Playing their Cards Right
John Droz jr.
Aug 24, 2023

Citizens are often faced with contentious fights about local issues — ranging from whether their community should host an industrial wind facility, to whether their community should host undocumented immigrants.

Even though many of these matters originated at state or federal levels, local citizens should still speak up about their position.

Some may believe that it is a waste of time to fight the powers that be. However, if few say anything, politicians will conclude (rightly or wrongly) that the majority of the public supports the matter at hand. Worse, the proponents will take the lack of pushback as a clear signal that they can go further yet — i.e., instead of one wind facility, they will now go for three.

What legal basis do citizens have to fight these matters? One powerful argument is called Home Rule. Basically, it means that local citizens have more say over what happens in their community (on many issues) than state or federal legislators. (Here is a good explanation as well as a list of Home Rule states.)

What about the frequent situation where your local representatives are carrying the water for state or federal agencies? The word “representatives” is key, as ultimately their legal obligation is to act in the best interest of local constituents — not be supporting virtue signaling for higher-ups.

Most State Constitutions (or State Statutes) impose a legal obligation on local representatives to specifically protect the Health, Safety, and Welfare of their constituents. These are broad terms (e.g., see here) so looking for violations of any of these three matters can be fertile grounds for making a case.

There are two general options for such fights: shotgun and rifle. The shotgun strategy is to throw out a broad range of complaints and see which ones stick to the wall. The rifle tactic is to decide ahead of time what is the key weakness of the opponent’s case, and specifically target that. (I favor the latter as usually being more effective.)

How do citizens know the weaknesses of their adversaries’ case? Let them tell you!

It’s a good idea at the beginning of a contentious issue, to get your opponents to show their hand. (When I say opponents, I primarily mean community leaders/legislators who should be objective.) A simple way to do that would be to email the primary opposition parties, and politely ask them to clarify for you what their top three (3) reasons are that justify their actions. Getting their response in writing is key.

Three BIG benefits here: 1) it can expose a rift in the adversary ranks [e.g., if they indicate different or conflicting priorities], 2) it gives you a superior indication as to where you should focus your efforts against, and 3) it makes it very hard for those people to come up with new reasons after they have spelled out their best ones (in other words this method can minimize playing whack-a-mole).

As an example, doing this for representatives who are advocating a wind project in a local community, reveals that their number one reason was the supposed financial benefits that such a facility would bring. However, their beliefs were entirely based on what the wind developer told them (i.e., a biased, one-sided story).

Once citizens knew that economics was the key matter, they researched what financial liabilities there could be (see here), and found out that the net economic impact was almost always negative — and typically very negative! Making that case (in a professional manner) is a much smarter strategy than bombarding local representatives with a slew of objections. (See here and here for more info.)

Of course getting allies to support your effort via organization, good communication, etc. are also ingredients of a successful campaign (e.g., see #4, #5, and #6 here).

Here is a fine example (by two women) of how to speak to local representatives. If you check out their online Dropbox listed, research and focus came before their talking.

Some of my favorite quotes that apply here:

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” — Edmund Burke

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Meade

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." — Samuel Adams

“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” — Milton Friedman.

Be proactive, be professional, be precise, be persistent — and you will likely prevail.

The bottom line is that citizens CAN win these fights...

Please continue reading at https://criticallythinking.substack.com/p/how-to-win-a-local-politi...

 

How to Win a Local Political Fight - Part 2


More Details about How Citizens Can Win
John Droz jr.
Aug 25, 2023

Although there weren’t that many public comments after Part 1, I did receive a large number of private emails, all positive. It became clear that there not only was a lot of interest in this topic, but that I should go into further detail for those citizens who are serious about winning such political fights. Thus Part 2.

A successful campaign will effectively utilize three (3) distinct types of ammunition. Below I’ll outline each and use fighting a local wind project as an example…

Ammunition #1: The FACTS.

Citizens need to get educated about the facts, as what is presented by the opponents will almost be: a) inaccurate, and/or b) incomplete. For example, wind developers frequently claim something like “Our project will power up to 10,000 homes.” The technical Fact is that no wind project will even power one home, 24/7/365. Citizens need to understand why this is and to use such deceptions to their advantage.

Since there are often a LOT of Facts involved, how do citizens know which Facts are most important? That is answered in Part 1. In the case of wind energy, it turns out that (on the local level) economic Facts are by far the most important.

Where do citizens get the Facts? This is a bit trickier, but the good news is that there are competent people in almost every area of conflict, who have posted helpful factual information online. You will have to do some research, but if you persist you’ll almost always find honest factual information — and it will usually be for free.

For example, my website, WiseEnergy.org has a slew of free science-based wind energy (and solar, etc.) facts to help citizens trying to defend their rights (e.g., here). This is augmented by a free twice-a-month Newsletter, multiple free Substack commentaries (like this), and free email/phone consultation!

……………….

Ammunition #2: PUBLIC RELATIONS.

Many people believe that having the strongest Facts will win the day. It would be great if that were true, but often it is not. For example, the Facts indicate that there are no proven net societal benefits for wind energy, yet it continues to proliferate. This happens because there are other forces involved, and those have to be countered.

An example of another force is virtue signaling. Local, State, and Federal representatives can be easily inflicted with this highly contagious disease. The cure is to see it for what it is, and then provide the antidote.

Virtue signaling is nothing more than politicians trying to gain favor with their constituents. Their implied message is: “I’m doing great things for you!”

Once we recognize this tactic, the antidote is a strong dose of reality. For example, a PR campaign that exposes what they are doing as being ineffective (or better yet, harmful) can be amazingly powerful. Of course, to do this properly, citizens need to be steeped in the Facts (see Ammo #1).

Most citizens are not PR proficient, so they need to get educated about what to do (e.g., here), and/or get assistance from a PR person who is sympathetic to their cause. Good PR boils down to getting a sizable amount of the public to be on your side. Politicians want to be liked (especially on local levels), so once they realize that the public is against them, there is a strong chance that they will change their position.

……………….

Ammunition #3: The LAW.

Sometimes after citizens have succeeded in the first two fields above, their opponent will try to take refuge in the Law. For example, the opposition may claim to have no choice about what to do, saying that they are legally obligated to go forward.

As in the prior two Ammunitions, the devil is in the details. For example, your community may not be able to prohibit an industrial wind facility, but they likely have the ability to regulate it. If so, it is easy to come up with reasonable regulations that will substantially reduce the interest of a developer coming to your community.

Another legal angle to take advantage of is that there are often legal conflicts (or gray areas) that can be used to your benefit. For example, a State’s commitment to wind energy can be in conflict with local representatives’ statutory obligations to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their constituents. Which matter takes priority?

That is a legal matter where citizens need to align themselves with a sympathetic, competent, aggressive legal person. Regarding sympathetic, finding an attorney who sees the issue as something they are genuinely interested in (vs. a business opportunity), can result in getting better and lower-cost legal help. Of course, as with Ammo #2, the more you know the Facts, the better your chances are of winning a legal case.

The good news is that there are often powerful legal angles that a clever, committed lawyer can come up with. For example, regarding the wind energy issue, informing obstinate local representatives that you are planning on filing a 1983 lawsuit against them, can have magical results — without ever having to go through with it.

One thing is for sure: if citizens do not aggressively defend their legal rights, they will be eroded away.

…………….

Be proactive, be professional, be precise, be persistent — and you will likely prevail.

The bottom line is that citizens CAN win these fights...

Please continue reading at https://criticallythinking.substack.com/p/how-to-win-a-local-politi...

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Comment by Willem Post on August 27, 2023 at 4:13pm

BATTERY SYSTEM CAPITAL COSTS, OPERATING COSTS, ENERGY LOSSES, AND AGING

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/battery-system-capital...

Grid-scale Battery System Owning and Operating Cost for Solar Bulge Control

 

Battery systems perform various functions during a day, including absorbing the heavily subsidized, midday solar output bulge, and discharging about 81% of it during the peak hours of late-afternoon/early-evening; the other 19% are system losses. See Part 4

 

Assume, in the morning, the batteries are charge at about 20% full, so they can absorb the bulge to about 80% full.

On many days, there is enough bulge to charge the batteries

In New England, panels are often covered with snow and ice in winter. 

On days, with little or no bulge, the batteries are charged with low-cost, night-time electricity

 

Assumptions for Analysis

 

- Bank loan 50%; Owner stake 50%.

State governments require investors to have a 50% stake in projects, i.e., “have skin in the game”

- Li-ion systems at $500/kWh for 2023. See Part 1  

- Capacity factor of 0.6

- Bank loan, 6%/y for 15 years

- Owner's return on investment, 9%/y for 15 years

- Cost of government subsidies at 50% of total costs

- System loss at 19%, HV AC to HV AC basis. See Parts 2 and 3 

- System aging at 1.5%/y is ignored. See Part 7

 

The 0.30 c/kWh of throughput is significantly understated, because it is based on a very high CF = 0.6, and excludes the cost of system aging

 

All project costs are paid by ratepayers, taxpayers, and added to government debts.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-na...

 

NOTE: Utilities of grid-scale battery systems have the real owning/operating numbers, which they do not make public, because they are “proprietary”  

Capacity, 1.0 MW/4.0 MWh

2022 pricing

2022 li-ion pricing, $/kWh

500

Capital cost, excludes aging, $

2000000

Rating, kWh

4000

Subsidies

50%

Cycles/d

365

Owner financing at 9%/y for 15 y

50%

CF

0.6

Bank financing at 6%/y for 15 y

50%

From HV grid, kWh/y as AC

1081481

Return to Owner, $/y

121712

In battery, kWh/y as DC

973333

Payment to Bank, $/y

101263

To HV grid, kWh/y as AC

876000

Total payments, $/y

222975

System losses, kWh/y

205481

Other costs; O&M, insurance, etc, $/y

40000

Total costs, $/y

262975

Total costs, $/y

262975

Cost, c/kWh of throughput

0.300

Paid to Owner by: c/kWh

Government, as subsidies, $/y

131488

0.150

Utility rate payers, $/y

131488

0.150

Total, $/y

262295

0.300

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on August 27, 2023 at 3:10pm

From Covid to Climate Change: Vehicles for Global Authoritarianism
https://americafirstreport.com/from-covid-to-climate-change-vehicle...

 

Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

Not yet a member?

Sign up today and lend your voice and presence to the steadily rising tide that will soon sweep the scourge of useless and wretched turbines from our beloved Maine countryside. For many of us, our little pieces of paradise have been hard won. Did the carpetbaggers think they could simply steal them from us?

We have the facts on our side. We have the truth on our side. All we need now is YOU.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

 -- Mahatma Gandhi

"It's not whether you get knocked down: it's whether you get up."
Vince Lombardi 

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

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