I don't know if anyone else caught the story about Ameren being deregulated and electrical rates going up? There has been an interesting grass roots effort started by a local politician to hit Ameren where it hurts, the profit margin. First Brad Cole went and found a different power company for Carbondale to use, then he had meetings with all the other Southern Illinois mayors to help then find cheaper power, Brad then proposed that Carbondale take over the Ameren power lines in town (I might have commented about this?). After a little pause, Glenn Poshard jumped in and proposed a $200M coal fired power plant for SIUC (I might have written something about that too?). Now one of the really powerful people in Illinois (you know because of our system of corruption there are only 6 right? Gov., Dem Leader of House and Senate, Repub Leader of House and Senate, Mayor of Chicago) House Speaker Mike Madigan has proposed the state doing something great about power.
Madigan's plan call for building a series of huge, coal fired, power plants. Our local power expert Bob Pauls has interesting things to say about this. Bob's take is that Coal Power plants are a really bad idea, and really bad for the environment. It is hard to argue this. A better plan would likely be to cover the big state buildings with solar electric panels and start to make Illinois the solar state, but as I have written before we are 10 to 20 years away from a great solution like that. At least the state has something on the table to discuss.
What about this Grass Roots nonsense? I can remember Margie Parker standing in the rain with her "Peace" sign on Saturday around noon, all by herself, working to end the war in Iraq. Why did Margie do it? She doesn't have the power to do anything, does she? I'm sure it was because she believed in the message and hoped that others would see her and join her cause.
Brad has shown how to start a grass roots movement in politics. I liked the idea to get power from a different company then Ameren (at a lower price) of course. I liked how he got other cities to see the option too. I didn't like his power delivery system takeover idea, but maybe it can work. A little later some of the big Dem's started rolling out their plans. Poshard and now Madigan. Are they the right plans for Illinois? I don't know. But at least the politicians of Illinois seem to have awoken that this is a problem and the state might do something about it.
Is Brad going to fix our power problems? Well, no. That is outside the power of a mayor of a 24,000 person town. Is Margie going to stop the Iraq war? Well, no she isn't. But both of them are working hard to move the cause forward and that is what leadership by grass root campaigns is all about.
I'm now sorry that I didn't throw Margie under the bus in my lucky series, she was a perfect addition.
Of course, your comments are welcome.