Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Mere List of Names Does Not Constitute a Petition

Submitted by J.P. Michaud:

In keeping with its continued sloppy coverage and biased reporting of the wind energy project, the Hays Daily News reported last Wednesday on the submission of a “petition” by supporters of the project. They need to buy Kaley Lyon a dictionary. From Webster’s unabridged: “Petition: A formally drawn request ... to a group of persons in authority ... soliciting some favor, right, mercy, or other benefit.”

Their list of names presented by Krista Gordon (in favor of building the industrial wind complex) cannot be considered a petition in any sense of the word as they are not signatories to any formal request addressed to anyone in authority. Theire prepaid, mail-in responses simply expressed general support for wind energy and the supposed “millions of dollars” it would bring to Ellis County.

This is a zoning issue dealing with the appropriateness of land use in a specific location (despite the apparent inability of zoning board members to grasp this charge).

In the Hays Daily News coverage of their "petition," there was no mention in the proponent’s letter of support regarding this project’s specific location beyond “Ellis County.” That could mean the 20 sections of land in the southwest corner of the county where almost nobody lives — and where I suspect there would be little opposition to siting the project.

Therefore, their list of names is completely irrelevant to the crux of the controversy: the siting of this project on top of 100 families that don’t want to live with it. Proponents have produced a list of supporters of wind energy in the most general of terms, not supporters of this project’s proposed location. Theirs is just one more cheap publicity stunt by Krista Gordon.

Contrast this to our citizen’s petition from our coalition we will be submitting soon. Ours was obtained largely by word-of-mouth, knocking on doors and other personal forms of contact. Ours has a clearly stated request addressed to the county commissioners — a moratorium on wind energy development within the county until an independent and unbiased assessment of all impacts can be performed. So vague is the statement of supporters that it is possible to agree with it and also agree that a moratorium is needed. In fact, a number of their signors subsequently signed our petition — without contradicting themselves in any way.

Closer examination of their list of “supporters” reveals many apartment numbers (most reflecting temporary student housing), apparent names of children, at least one deceased person, and even the name of one of our supporters who cannot understand how his name appeared on the list.

We doubt that more than a tiny fraction of people on their list would be willing to step forward and actively protest any decision to reject this project.

On the other hand, our list represents a large number of people who have already shown they are willing to commit considerable time and financial resources to defending this community against corporate exploitation and creating a sizable political backlash if this project is approved.

Submitted by:
J.P. Michaud
1189 180th Ave.
Hays, Kansas

No comments: