Saftler gains ground in SMPA race.
by D. Oak Smith, Edwin Schlapfer, and Dan Chancellor
May 22, 2008 | 1131 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Smith for Saftler


I would like to take this opportunity to urge all members of San Miguel Power Association to take the time to vote for their board of directors on or before June 7. The meeting will take place in Norwood at the High School Multi-Purpose room beginning at 9 a.m. If you are on the grid and if the power bill comes to your home in your name then you are a voting member.

SMPA members here have a great opportunity to elect a person to the board of directors of exceptional capability and who has the integrity and the foresight to represent the feelings of the local co-op members. I am speaking of Michael Saftler.

I worked for many years with Michael Saftler as a member of the San Miguel County Planning Commission and can speak from personal experience when I say I can support him completely and have faith in his judgment to pursue energy policy which will reflect the values of our community. I believe strongly that this is a vote of substantial consequence.

If you really feel that you can make a difference then this is without reservations one of the major things you can do locally to implement that difference. Michael will bring a point of view to the SMPA Board which I believe it needs. He will work hard on behalf of the electric consumers without compromising our environment.

There is a caveat to all of this however, you must vote. Do not let this opportunity pass you by. Your ballot must be returned to SMPA no later than June 3. If you miss that deadline then you must attend the meeting in Norwood on June 7 and can there vote in person. I can not stress enough how important this is to all of us, mail your ballot back in no later than May 30 to be sure it gets counted, or better yet attend the meeting on June 7 and vote for Michael Saftler.


– D. Oak Smith

Michael Saftler for SMPA Board


I am very happy to be supporting Michel Saftler for the San Miguel Power Association Board of Directors. We desperately need change on the SMPA board.

Last spring, the SMPA Board of Directors was faced with a crucial decision about extending our power purchase contract with Tri-State Power & Generation from the years 2040 to 2050 in order for Tri-State to secure financing for more coal-fired power plants. As an electric bill payer (and hence a part-owner of the SMPA cooperative), I knew I had to get involved in this issue to help educate and speak with the board members to urge them to not tie all of us to this problematic power source for the next half-century. With Tri-State at that point over 99 percent non-renewable energy, and carbon taxation on the horizon, this puts us in a financially risky position.

Michael Saftler understood the importance and implications of this vote and expressed his concerns to many of us. He also helped initiate and circulate a petition urging the board to not extend the contract. He was not alone. Our neighbors at Delta Montrose Electric Association did not extend the contract. The San Miguel County Commissioners passed a resolution asking that SMPA Board not sign the contract. Telluride Town Council passed a resolution asking the SMPA Board to not sign the contract. Ouray County Commissioners and The Town of Mountain Village Council also both passed strongly worded resolutions for the SMPA Board, stating among many things: “abundant opportunities exist for conservation, energy-efficiency, demand-side management, renewable resources, CHP and new coal gasification technology” and that it would be “a risky financial decision.”

When the SMPA Board finally voted, only one board member heard the citizens and the SMPA co-op owners and voted against the contract extension.

We need new leadership at the SMPA board: Michael Saftler will provide that. The old thinking does not work any more. In fact, the San Miguel County voters in 2004 spoke loudly for change and voted an overwhelming 73 percent for Amendment 37 (a state renewable-energy standard). We know we need it. Every resolution mentioned above sent to the SMPA board said this. We cannot afford to continue business as usual, and we must begin by changing our board.

By coincidence last year, we even had America’s premier climate paleontologist speak at the library before the board’s vote, and the only item he repeated three times in the lecture was America needs to put an immediate stop to any new pulverized coal power plants.

We have an obligation to ourselves and future generations to change the make up of our board as our neighbors in Delta Montrose have done. Michael has been open-minded and wanting to understand the relevant details when he needs to make decisions. He has been very active in our community on many different items for many years and is always interested and willing to learn more. Michael would be an excellent member on the board. We need him.

Please vote for Michael Saftler for the SMPA Board of Directors next week when you receive your ballot in the mail.


– Edwin Schlapfer

Vote Saftler for Sound Solutions


In the early months of 2007 our local power co-op board, San Miguel Power Association, was faced with a pivotal decision. Should they commit their members to a contract extension with Tri-State Generation to leverage financing for two or possibly three new coal fired plants?

Through petitions and scattered SMPA meetings, hundreds of concerned members came forward to express an apparent unanimous opposition to this environmental suicide pact. San Miguel and Ouray county commissioners along with the town councils of Telluride and Mountain Village sent letters to express their opposition. In the face of this overwhelming sentiment, our local co-op board voted five to one in favor of locking us into a coal fired nightmare for the next 45 years.

As he chastised the co-op members for their legitimate concerns, District 4 co-op board member John Arnold stated that we needed to do what our electric power contractor demanded or we would lose our seat at the table. His cowardly position reminds me of a Soviet-style democracy, where one must be a party member to vote, and one can only remain a member by voting a strict party line. We deserve better than this.

My friend Michael Saftler is running to replace John Arnold on the SMPA Board. I have known Michael for 25 years. In that time I have seen him step up to the plate to serve this community time and time again. Michael Saftler established the Free Box. His innovative, down to earth problem solving abilities will move our electric co-op toward the environmentally sound solutions that will stabilize our electric rates as we face a very uncertain energy future. Michael’s sophistication, knowledge and tenacity will serve SMPA, the community and the planet well as he leads us to a sustainable future. Most importantly he will listen to you and he will act on your concerns. If you live in east Telluride, Down Valley to Sawpit, Lawson Hill and north to Log Hill you will be receiving an SMPA ballot. Please do us all a favor and vote for Michael Saftler.

Thank you,

– Dan Chancellor
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