“Disrespectful to Take Money from One Man’s Pocket and Put It in Another’s”

WestsideCommunityCenterColoradoSprings2010-08-30.jpg“A March fair to raise private funding for community centers, held at Westside Community Center, was sparsely attended.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the WSJ article quoted and cited below.

(p. A1) COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.–Like many American cities, this one is strapped for cash. Tax collections here have fallen so far that the city has turned off one-third of its 24,512 street lights.

But unlike many cities, this one is full of people who are eager for more government cutbacks.
The town council has been bombarded with emails telling it to close community centers. Letters to the local newspaper call for shrinking the police department and putting the city-owned utility up for sale. A commission is studying whether to sell the municipal hospital. Another, made up of local businessmen, will opine on whether to slash the salaries and benefits of city employees.
“Let’s start cutting stupid programs that cost taxpayers a pot of money,” says Tim Austin, a 48-year-old former home builder now looking for a new line of work. “It’s so bullying and disrespectful to take money from one man’s pocket and put it in another’s.”

For the full story, see:

LESLIE EATON. “Strapped City Cuts and Cuts and Cuts.” The Wall Street Journal (Tues., APRIL 13, 2010): A1 & A16.

Energy Department Wastes Energy

(p. A17) WASHINGTON — Like flossing or losing weight, saving energy is easier to promise than to actually do — even if you are the Department of Energy.

Its Web site advises that choosing new lighting technologies can slash energy use by 50 to 75 percent. But the department is having trouble taking its own advice, according to an internal audit released on Wednesday; many of its offices are still installing obsolete fluorescent bulbs.
And very few have switched to the most promising technology, light-emitting diodes, which the department spent millions of dollars to help commercialize.
Many of the changes would generate savings that would pay back the investment in two years or so, according to the report, by the department’s inspector general.
In one case, the Department of Energy made most of the investment by installing timers to shut off lights at night when it moved into a new building in 1997. But it got no benefit: as of March of this year, it had not bought the central control unit needed to run the system.

For the full story, see:
MATTHEW L. WALD. “Energy Department: Make Thyself Fuel Efficient.” The New York Times (Thurs., July 8, 2010): A17.
(Note: the online version of the article is dated July 7, 2010, and has the title “Energy Department Lags in Saving Energy.”)