After reading Michael Huber’s letter-to-the-editor in the June 15th Olympian, I was reminded of watching Stew Henderson at the Tumwater City Council talking about TCAT. Reading Stew Henderson’s response to that letter reinforces what I thought then: Stew Henderson is not a man to represent our community. He says Mr. Huber misrepresented the facts. I would have to disagree with the gentleman from Michigan.
Stew’s presentation had nothing to do with paying people’s power bills. He spoke a lot about “bold action” and “exciting funding opportunities,” but when it came to the details, the only thing he came close to touching was an idea where our cars would be electric and plug into a grid when we park. He described how the power of our cars would be sucked back into the grid for use, yet would be miraculously restored with a full charge just in time for us to drive home. Not only does this sound frighteningly Orwellian, it had zero to do with the business at hand. I still don’t know what that has to do with climate change.
Then we read Stew’s explanation of what a good investment his plan was. Let’s start with the fact that he showed the City of Tumwater where to apply for the money. As he posted his graphic, he really got going about the “bold action,” and “exciting funding opportunities.” Frankly, I was thinking the same thing at the time that Mr. Huber wrote in his letter: “Doesn’t the city have grant writers?”
Stew claims he didn’t get paid for his work at TCAT. For the sake of argument, let’s take the gentleman from Michigan at his word. He took money on behalf of the Thurston Climate Action Team and then handed it off to the Thurston County Economic Development Council. When we look at the membership of this organization, we see that out of four executive positions, we have two banks and a casino. The energy efficiency program director, Ramsey Zimmerman, appears to be the only person on staff with any real environmental training, but does he? The man has a BA in environmental science, but his MBA is in marketing. Is the energy efficiency program run by an environmental scientist with a bachelor of arts, or a salesman?
So Stew went around town asking local governments for money for climate change action and handed it off to the economic development council, where a guy who just happens to have done his graduate work in Stew’s real home is the only person with any sort of identifiable experience in environmental matters. What do banks and casinos have to teach us about climate change, and was paying some people’s power bills with money borrowed against the taxes of my children really a good investment? Stew calls it one of the best investments Tumwater has ever made. Newsflash: an investment is when you take a risk with capital so you can realize a return. If Stew’s spending was such a good investment, where is the return? Are we going to teach our kids that paying our bills is an investment?
It’s telling that four Tumwater City Council members have endorsed Stew. They considered a four-year construction project to finish a mile of road, “efficient, effective transportation planning,” and ruined Littlerock Road in the process for police and fire. Having seen Stew Henderson in action, I would expect more of the same failures if he were our state representative.
By the way, where are those jobs you said your work created, Stew? I read the June 1st Olympian story and it mentioned one contractor who is benefiting from the Thurston Energy program. The June 17th story you bill as a “correction” doesn’t mention this either. By the way, the Thurston Energy program sounds an awful lot like “cash-for-clunkers.” Where are those jobs going to be when your $1.5 million runs out?
I will be sure to vote for a candidate who is actually from our town and didn’t come here just to make a career in government.