So as I mentioned in Part 1 of this post, quasi-journalist Gene Marrano and I had an email exchange a few weeks back. I posed some questions of him and I was assuming they would never get answered.
But to my surprise, I got a very detailed response from Gene. With the following P.S.
“I dare you to post this on your blog/Tea Party Facebook page.”
After reviewing this missive, I am happy to oblige. Deconstructing this email has been the most fun I’ve had since I stopped celebrating my wedding anniversary. In fact this was so much fun and the answers Gene provided are so ridiculous, that I plan on posting his response to these questions in a series of posts over the next week or so.
As some background, Gene posted a comment on our website awhile back and suggested that we focus on taxes instead of ICLEI. Well as we will see, those issues have never been seperate issues. The questions were designed to bring that issue into focus. I believe Gene’s answers certainly will help me make the case on a number of issues. But you can read this exchange along with my commentary and make up your mind.
My comments will be in red. My original questions are italicized. Look for part 3 coming soon.
“Chip, many thanks for posing these questions….the same questions and talking points Tea Party members and others pose repeatedly at BOS meetings, during unsuccessful attempts to stop the county’s membership.. Which is why Mike Altizer and Richard Flora need to be replaced. Your questions allowed us to narrow down our response and develop our own talking points. Many thanks again. (PS: I dare you to post this on your blog/Tea Party Facebook page). If these are the same talking points repeated to the BOS over the past year, why did you have to develop a new response? I mean it took since the end of August to get the answer to these questions. I think these are the questions any reasonable person should have been asking. Including the people responsible for spending our tax dollars.
1) How effective was the $50,000 dollars of taxpayers money spent from the stimulus money RCCLEAR received? You spent $15k on advertising, handed out some flyers and did some energy audits. Was that good bang for the buck?
1. We believe the $50K in federal stimulus funds was used effectively. About 2/3 was used to develop and market a high quality, award winning, energy conservation education campaign/website called SaveaTon. The fact that it was the result of a regional effort is significant in itself. The $12K spent on advertising in all the media resulted in thousands of “impressions”. The $15K spent on 100 “Free Energy Surveys” was a great success, demand was much greater than supply and of the 25 we were able to survey, 80% reported they had followed at least some of the recommendations.
The website is pretty It did win an award for design and well that must justify its existence since, as we all know, ”award winning” is a label Gene and his green friends loves to throw around. There is nothing wrong with the message of the website other than one simple fact. It was paid for with our tax money. When did it become government’s job to assume I am incapable of making my own decisions on what lightbulbs to buy? That is essentially the point of the website.
This was paid for with stimulus money. You know those failed stimulus packages Obama and the Democrats foisted on the nation that were supposed to be “shovel ready” jobs that would fix the economy? This is a microcosm of how that money was wasted. Is it any wonder the economic stimulus package failed when this was how the money was spent? I have no problem with someone putting up energy tips on a website. But no matter how pretty the site is, it was still paid for with our tax dollars. And that is not the role of government and certainly is not the role of the federal government.
I don’t care how many “impressions” it received.
Plus there are plenty of sites available for free that provide the same information that this site provides. Why not just use one of these site instead of creating a new one with our tax money?
As for the surveys Gene referenced, of the 25 people who answered the survey only 13 of them saw a drop in their energy bills. If these audits were such a great deal, shouldn’t that number have been a bit higher? Wouldn’t that give you a better baseline to determine how much you reduced carbon emissions than the method you used? A reduction in energy usage would have a direct link to the carbon emissions windmill that RCCLEAR is tilting at. But perish that thought.
In Part 3, when we delve into how this group determind that they saved 424 tons of carbon emissions, we will see that scientific rigor is not in the cards….according to Gene…
Keep in mind that the activities of RCC and the DOE stimulus grant were not scientific experiments and never presented as such.
Gene, no one expected you to pull out a bunson burner and a lab coat. But since you are spending our tax money, we expect to know there is some rigor behind your numbers. And we will see the lack of anything close to logical rigor in Part 3 when he answers this question…
2) How about the 400 + tons of carbon emissions that was claimed to have been reduced?:
Stay tuned for Part 3 coming soon.