Friday, November 13, 2009

Rate hikes and serfdom

serfsFor Xcel's explanation of its rate increase request, read this document.

I can't tell if the public comment period is over or not, but you can email the PSC (docket #4220-UR-116) with your comments on the proposed rate increases. This page talks about how to provide comments to the PSC.

It seems other Xcel states are none too happy about paying higher rates when Excel execs waste money on extravagant dinners, spas, box seats at sports events and other luxuries.

In this Wednesday, Nov. 11 article from the Colorado Independent, we learn that:
Some of those 2008 travel and entertainment expenses include $9,524 of a $41,890 bill for a board retreat at the plush St. Julien Hotel and Spa in Boulder; $5,410 of a $9,721 bill for Colorado Avalanche games; $19,323 of a $26,639 bill for “other employee related sporting activity”; $3,746 of an $11,958 tab at McCormick’s Fish House and Bar in Denver; and $3,458 of a staggering $15,211 bill at Frasca restaurant in Boulder.
Really, have we progressed all that much?


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Surprise hearings - energy, health care

Democracy depends on an informed electorate ... unfortunately, finding out where and when the information will be dribbled out often takes some keen sleuthing.

In Saturday's paper, uncovered by Guy, was a notice of an Excel rate increase teleconference hearing on WEDNESDAY, Nov. 11 from 3 to 6 p.m. in room 104 Wing Technology Center, UW-L. (Note - this overlaps with Wednesday's Racial Profiling listening session, 4 to 7 p.m. at the La Crosse Public Library.)

According to the LaX Tribune: "Xcel filed June 1 with the PSC for an electric rate increase of 5.7 percent and proposed to keep its natural gas rates the same. The PSC staff recently suggested a 2.7 percent electric rate increase and no change in natural gas rates."

Guy says, "Please consider coming and voicing your concerns about money
for laying the plan for 345Kv, 150 powerlines; for upgrades to
increase nuclear power and nuclear storage at Prairie Island
Mdewakaton Dakota Community (even while Xcel is fighting basic safety
measures requested by the Tribe and City of Red Wing, and
all the while raising rates on low income individuals."

I suppose this is better notice than that of Wednesday's Ron Kind Health Care sort-of listening session by proxy
At the start of the call at about 6:35 p.m., a random selection of households in the district will receive a call inviting them to participate. Those who stay on the line will hear some comments from the La Crosse Democrat and will have the opportunity to ask questions. Interested constituents may also dial in themselves by calling 1-877-229-8493 and using the code 15311.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Driving while black?

from Wisconsin ACLU:

Effective January 1, 2011, all Wisconsin police officers are required to collect data that will be used to determine whether vehicles operated or occupied by racial minorities are disproportionately stopped. The data collected, collection method, and analysis will be determined by a new administrative rule. The Office of Justice Assistance (OJA), a state agency, is preparing the rule with the assistance of the Advisory Committee.

The public is invited to share their comments with the Traffic Stop Data Collection Advisory Committee on a rule being developed to assess the possibility of racial profiling in Wisconsin traffic stops at a public to attend a listening session next Wednesday, November 11th at the La Crosse Public Library, 800 Main Street from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Please encourage people you know to attend and speak out.

If you are part of the media have any questions about the listening session, please contact OJA: Tami Jackson, Office of Justice Assistance, Public and Media Relations Officer, Office: 608-266-6476, tami.jackson[at]

If you are an advocate with questions about racial profiling, please contact Chris Ahmuty, Executive Director, ACLU of Wisconsin, Cell: 414.704.6226, CAhmuty[at]