Thank you for the very timely article on the electricity production issues facing Michigan ("Power play," Metro Times, March 21).
As a member of the Ann Arbor Energy Commission and a longtime advocate of renewables, I feel that this is a very important topic that needs as much press as it can get.
The Energy Commission has been fortunate enough to have heard both Hermann Scheer and Paul Gipe talk in the last month. They were involved in the introduction of Renewable Feed-In Tariffs in Germany and Ontario, respectively. Many of us have become convinced that this is a much better avenue than Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs). Unfortunately, FITs were not mentioned as a possibility in your article. The benefits of FITs over RPSs include 1) more local jobs, 2) more local industry, 3) a faster installation of renewables 4) less expensive installations 5) a more diverse mix of renewables.
Just last week Vestas (a Danish manufacturer of wind equipment) decided to build a manufacturing facility in Colorado. That should have been Michigan. If we had the market that would be created with FITs in Michigan, it might have been built here.
We are facing the prospect of a new big coal plant and probably a new nuclear plant in Michigan if action isn't taken now. These are very risky investments compared to wind and renewables.
As far as Mr. Lauer's comment as to the intermittency of wind, if you look at the Iowa Compressed Air Energy Storage Project that is under construction, you will see how renewables can become a part of "electric base load." Michigan has the right geological formations to do this on a very large scale here. We currently store natural gas that is purchased in the summer for winter use in similar formations.
Thanks again for the article. I hope that you can do another one that goes beyond RPSs into what a much more aggressive future for Michigan could be. Wayne Appleyard, Ann Arbor
PS Please note that these comments are totally my own and may not reflect those of the Ann Arbor Energy Commission.
I read with interest the article, "State of the gritty," (Stir It Up, Metro Times, March 21) and must say I too bring a "jaded ear" to the state of the city address. Personally, what I thought we got was a lot of fluff and too much, too little, too late to fix what ails Detroit. As mentioned about the hiring of 200 police officers: Where is the money going to come from to do that? As to putting the gang squad near schools, I say no. Those police officers need to be out on the street where the real crime is and criminals are. Detroit Public Schools has its own Department of Public Safety with duly sworn officers, some of whom were once part of "Detroit's finest." The mayor also said that security at DPS was "terrible." Well, Mr. Mayor, there are still a number of murder cases that are unsolved, such as the killing of the young lady downtown during the Super Bowl, and the Hart Plaza shootings, to mention a few. The mayor talked about a "Workforce Development Department" to "develop programs to coach Detroiters on how to get jobs." This is nothing more than a duplication of programs that already exist, "Focus Hope" being one and "Work First" being another. Thomas A. Wilson Jr., Detroit
More FOIA follies
I enjoyed the article on the sunshine laws ("Let the sunshine in," Metro Times, March 14), and it didn't surprise me at all that local governments would deny these requests. I've been involved with numerous FOIA requests in the Flint area and have encountered many of these same games. I was wondering if the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission is exempt from these requests due to it being a chartered body. Also I've been refused access on police agency personnel records that involve police brutality. I've been forthright about providing my name and reasons for my FOIA requests in the past, but after reading your article, my next flurry of requests is not going to have any names or reasons for such requests. Let's see how these agencies will respond without a name or reason.
Thank you again for the very informative article. I'm sure it was an eye opening experience for the participating students. James H. Kerrigan, Flint
The war lovers
I want to thank Curt Guyette for his article "Battle cry" (Metro Times, Jan. 31).
There are many people who love to speak about war, yet they have never been in uniform to experience it, and they know nothing of what they speak. "Battle cry" spoke truth in blasting volumes, from real soldiers who actually served and fought. They lived through the nightmare, and are still living it. There will be some who won't read this entire article, but will still spew their own misguided opinions about the war. The words of these soldiers will never sink in. But for those that did read and absorb it, maybe a few who have been touting this war in Iraq, will wake up to rethink their positions.
The article was eye-opening truth, especially for those who did not live through Vietnam. Only now may they understand why so many of us who opposed that war are opposed to this one. Our protests, past and present, were never supposed to be against the soldiers, they were only against those who had sent them to war. Let's not do to these soldiers today, what was done to the Vietnam vets. Linda Valerio, Detroit
Errata: There were several errors in last week's cover story "Power play." Environment Michigan's main offices are in Ann Arbor. The group is pushing the state to mandate that 25 percent of its electricity come from renewable resources by the year 2025. State Rep. Jim Barcia is seeking a standard of 20 percent by 2020. Also, in "Goading us" (Metro Times, March 7), we missed some facts. Jim and Debbie Goad were based out of Los Angeles when they produced the first three issues of ANSWER Me! Also, the controversial fourth issue was entered as evidence on the trial's first day, persuading Jim to take a plea and end the proceedings before a trial by jury could take place.Send letters (250 words or less, please) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.