The OPALCO board is about to make a decision about their broadband project.
This project will cost approximately $30 million, and will be paid for by the membership (us) over the next 10 years. It will also substantially change the physical landscape of our islands by covering them with a WIFI canopy of microwave radiation.
(By the way, those of you who believe that this radiation is “really low” should know that it is approximately eight million times more powerful than the earth’s natural radiation.)
In terms of public input, OPALCO has conducted one survey which received a 25 percent response (and many members who did respond did not understand the full ramifications of the project), and one set of public forums. These forums were held during the day, when working members could not attend, and were too short for everyone to have a chance to speak.
Wouldn’t you think, on our small islands, that our utility cooperative would allow its members more input before making this enormous decision?
Wouldn’t you think that they would allow us to vote on this project, or at least offer us a chance to express our opinions publicly by having true forums in the evening, with enough time for everyone to speak?
Wouldn’t you think, in these times of financial hardship, that there would be more discussion about how to spend $30 million of our dollars?
I do, and so I call on OPALCO, our member-owned cooperative, to allow us to vote, island by island, on their broadband project.
(It would not be hard to do—we could vote when we pay our monthly bill).
Ann Marie Fischer/Lopez Island