Final Word on Kirkwood Utilities
I hope some of you were able to catch the dueling commentaries in the Post-Dispatch over the weekend debating Kirkwood’s municipal utilities. If you read it online, great, but only in the dead-tree version did you get to fully appreciate the gigantic head shots that accompanied the articles. It’s hard for my mere words to describe the size it’s as if the Post realized at the last minute that their Sunday edition had some empty copy space, and they just decided to fill it by making my photo 10 times larger. I would go on, but in the same way that the dwarves in Spinal Tap failed to underscore the enormousness of Stonehenge, I fear further explanation would have the same effect.
My op-ed is here. The full version of it is here we had to edit it down for the Post. Kirkwood’s response is here. They had the debating advantage, in that their article was written in response to mine, whereas I had not seen theirs. As such, I would like to address a few of their points, in the same respectful, courteous manner and tone in which they addressed mine.
Judging by their response, I believe they thought I was being flippant when I wrote:
And, although it’s hard to measure, having your city provide utilities can generate civic pride, much like community pride in a high school football team.
And while, as David Stokes of the Show-Me Institute notes, we are indeed proud of our high school football team, pride is not the reason to run a business.
I want to be clear that I was not being cavalier there. I was just trying to note that there are hard-to-measure reasons for maintaining the system, and I tried to point out that a reason such as community pride is legitimate and worthwhile, while indeed being hard for either side of an argument to quantify.
Kirkwood also just had one flat-out error in their article. They write:
And consider this: As a country founded on the ideals of freedom of choice, there seems little benefit to a society served by only one bank, one grocer, one electric utility or one water utility. Ideally, choice spurs a healthy competition of alternatives. We are proud to provide Kirkwood citizens with just that.
The idea that somehow Kirkwood residents have "choice" is not accurate. You do not get to move into Kirkwood and then decide whether you want Kirkwood or AmerenUE to sell you your electricity. If you live in most of Kirkwood, you get the municipal utilities; if you live in parts of Kirkwood not served by the municipal utilities (I assume these are more recently annexed areas), you deal directly with AmerenUE or Missouri-America Water. That amounts to no more choice than the rest of us have in utilities.
Well, those two points are pretty much it for my additions. I thank Kirkwood for taking the time to respond, and for their professional tone in doing so. And thanks to the Post for the head shot!