The midterm elections are over. We know who our representatives will be and hope they justify our faith in them. But the 2018 elections also gave us a glimpse into what voters might do if they voted on policies rather than representatives. In 37 states there were over 150 measures on which we voted directly either … Read More
This November, millions will go to the polls to cast votes in the midterm elections. In addition to electing candidates, some voters have a unique opportunity to directly shape their local energy system. Initiatives on the ballot in Portland, Ore., Washington state, and Colorado, present opportunities and new models for advancing local renewable energy, climate goals, and energy democracy.… Read More
The final referendum results in May 2018 were stunningly close, with local organizers coming within three votes of advancing an effort for a municipal electric utility in the small town of Decorah, Iowa. The incumbent monopoly utility outspent local activists by a 4-to-1 margin, overwhelming local organizing despite a study that suggested electric customers could save 30% by switching to a locally owned utility.… Read More
What can a town do to advance clean energy locally if it is fed up with its incumbent, investor-owned monopoly utility? In the latest episode of the Local Energy Rules podcast, John Farrell, Director of ILSR’s Energy Democracy Initiative, interviews Andy Johnson and Joel Zook, community members and local energy leaders from Decorah Power, about an upcoming ballot initiative in Decorah, Iowa, and the culmination of an organized, grassroots effort by residents to take back local control of their electric utility and energy future. In a midterm election year, this is one vote that those who care about local, clean energy will not want to miss.… Read More
When residents and business owners completed a survey in 2013 as the community considered what route to take, 70 percent of respondents said that their current ISP did not meet their needs; 95 percent expressed an interest in alternative choices for Internet access. Since then, community leaders have hired a consultant to develop a feasibility study and Sharon Broadband Yes, a grassroots group advocating for a fiber network, has formed to educate the public.
The group is asking voters to pass a broadband bond proposal to allow the community to issue $4.9 million in general obligation bonds to fund a fiber optic network project. … Read More
Percent of population making under $50,000 in 2014: 48 percent.
Percent of those voting making under $50,000: 36 percent.
Percent of population making over $100,000: 22 percent.
Percent of those voting making over $100,000: 30 percent.… Read More
In a democracy the majority wins. Which makes minority groups vulnerable. At the dawn of the Republic John Adams warned about “the tyranny of the majority.” Almost a century later, the 14th Amendment finally declared that no State shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Despite its being passed … Read More
A few weeks ago Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA who is retiring from the House this year, gave a memorable interview to New York magazine in which he criticized President Obama for aggressively pushing health care reform. Frank says he warned Obama the Democratic Party would pay “a terrible price.” Apparently Frank was not alone in counseling … Read More
It’s hard to make this stuff up. Last year the Michigan legislature passed a bill that gave the Governor the right to seize control of a city and insert a manager that had the authority to fire all workers, abrogate all contracts and privatize all public asset, all without the advice or consent of elected officials. … Read More