Goodtimes:Floodplains, Power Controversies and WWII Nuclear Karma | Up Bear Creek
by Art Goodtimes
Aug 05, 2007 | 476 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CORNET CREEK … A disaster waiting to happen. I remember going on a tour with a state group of engineers a few years back looking at natural hazards in the region. When they came to Telluride, they shook their heads, and said it was only a matter of time before a summer gullywasher took out a bunch of the homes built up along Cornet Creek.

In a way, the recent cloudburst that rained mud and debris down the narrow chute that is the creek was a good warning. This will happen again. And we need to be better prepared … Emergency planning is never sexy. But it’s usually only obvious how important it is after the fact … As the engineers I toured with commented, given today’s state hazard mitigation rules, the Telluride Town fathers & mothers would never have been allowed to move the valley’s townsite from San Miguel out by the old Brown Homestead to the floodplain of Cornet Creek – because that’s exactly what the whole town of Telluride sits atop. A floodplain debris fan of Cornet Creek … As Sheriff Bill Masters suggested, we don’t know what a hundred-year flood looks like in that watershed, and when that one comes (and it will come), I certainly hope folks are better prepared than they were this time.

SMPA RESPONSE … After publicly calling for an accounting of San Miguel Power Association’s approval of a contract extension with Tri-State Generation and Transmission – an action the county and many others advised against, I was glad to receive a three-page explanation from the Board of Directors last month ... According to the letter, the contract extension decision was “financial only.” Contrary to what many of us felt, again according to the letter, environmental concerns “were actually not the issue being decided. The fuel choice for future generation facilities has yet to be made and may be as far out as 6-10 years.” The letter admitted that Tri-State, it could be argued, “has long been a coal generation company.” But the letter countered, “It would be unfair to assume they will continue in that mindset. In fact, recent events and changes that have taken place within Tri-State indicate a new philosophy has been adopted. While not visibly apparent to the public, renewable energy and – best of all – the voice of cooperative members [are] not only being listened to, but invited.” … As to the basis for their financial decision, the SMPA board suggested, “Having a contract with Tri-State -- to fulfill all our power requirements through 2050 – keeps us from having to wade into the deep water of open-market power purchasing or funding a generation project solely on members’ electric bills. By working with Tri-State, extending the contract, keeping rates as low as we can into the future, we also continue to build on the great relationship we have with Tri-State. That puts us in a much better position to help direct future power generation decisions, including fuel choice. It may have looked controversial to the public, but the decision to extend the contract with Tri-State was actually a very wise financial decision” … While not all member/consumers may agree with the Board’s position, I personally appreciate the explanation and SMPA’s willingness to be responsive to its member/consumers environmental concerns by working with Tri-State rather than against them.

NAGASAKI … Thursday this week will be the 62nd anniversary of the dropping of Fat Man on the Imperial seaport of Nagasaki – the town where my grandmother, Lily Pond, was born out-of-wedlock to a missionary family, only to be abandoned on the doorsteps of Japanese tavern owners. The secondary target for Major Charles Sweeney’s B-29 Superfortress Bookscar, as the primary target of Kokura in the strategic Shimonoseki Strait was obscured by clouds, Nagasaki had been bombed a week before, and most schoolchildren had been evacuated to the countryside. Nevertheless, the second atomic blast, as authorized by Pres. Harry Truman (D-Missouri) in order to shock & awe Tokyo into surrender and thus preclude a military invasion with its hundreds of thousands of likely American casualties, was successful. Japan capitulated to the Allies four days later … In a war, ethical choices are never clear. But unleashing the nuclear genii on an entire city of civilians was the final technological step in a second world war that saw the fire bombing of Dresden and the V-2 bombings of London.

RUMOR MESA … A little birdie whispered in my ear … Did Mesa State President Tim Foster, chirp, chirp, really spin a non-advertised, non-competitive “interim” director of fundraising position to the reviled campaign manager for the Beauprez-for-Governor trainwreck – John Marshall. You remember, the campaign that self-imploded with faux pax after faux pax (like the Marshall attack ad that used illegally gotten info and itself became the subject of a federal investigation), a campaign that culminated in an overwhelming defeat on election day? Now the one and the same partisan operative is rewarded by Republican buddy Foster with a Director of Development plum, chirp, chirp, without having to go through the bothersome details of interviews and due process … It pays to be a Republican in this state, even a losing one, chirp, chirp.

MYTHS OF BARDSVILLE … Kudos to Douglas McDaniel and the Telluride Writers Guild for organizing the first open reading literary event of the year at Between the Covers last week. Stay tuned for more literary opportunities for the region’s many writers and readers.

THE TALKING GOURD

Do you remember "Enola Gay,"

a name redolent of calico

or a rose that wins

in a flower show?

Do you remember the day

of her bomber run

when beneath the flames

of a man-made sun

a city disappeared?

We stood on bunks and cheered.

It was August 7th, 1945.

At night chaplains arrived.

We stood in separate groups,

each a different faith, to contemplate

what man and God contrived.

Our young rabbi bowed his head to pray

and silently wept as though his tears

would quench the fires

that burnt the heart

of victim and victor alike,

then wonderingly looked up at us

and wordless walked away.

- Paul Homer

Chicago

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