Camouflaged Motives?

Guest Post by Richard Golladay

camouflage-warrior-semmick-photo (1)Forget all the endorsements and self-focused, flatulent hype offered to the readers of  the most recent issue of Texas Co-op Magazine, touting the credentials of the two judges.

The electioneering endorsements of Oakley and Powers were also sent out by PEC in the balloting material, who only asked  the candidates for  biographies.  Mr. Palasciano was the only candidate who played by  the rules, and submitted a true biography.  To PEC’s discredit, the published result was heavily biased in the favor of those who went far in excess of a biography, and who brayed the loudest. (It is always the manner of politicians to  ride in on the shoulders and achievements of others.)

james oakley 3jpg

James Oakley

The underlying motives of the  two  judges appears to  be well camouflaged – and practically  invisible at this  time.   But perhaps there are indicators of what their true agenda is, and  this can  be deduced by the sponsorship given by a secretive organization called the “American Reform Coalition”, which appears to have yet another name: “Texans for Affordable Electric  Rates”.  The logo of the latter organization appears conspicuously on the flashy glossy mailer sent out to untold thousands, with photos of  the  two judges,  smiling like Cheshire cats.

It doesn’t  require serious investigation to see that this organization is pathologically antagonistic to  Electric Co-ops.  From their own website we have:  “Some electric companies are still municipally owned – they are treated like a government bureaucracy rather than a business. Bureaucracy leads to red tape, poor decision-making, and all too often, higher electric bills. Other non-profit electric companies – known as Cooperatives, or Co-ops – operate in similar ways and force higher prices on millions of Texas consumers.”

jim powers

Jim Powers

Wow.  So according to this Co-op bashing backer of Oakley and Powers, we apparently have a bureaucratic, red-tape bound Co-op, characterized by poor decision making, while forcing higher rates upon us.  So publicly Oakley and Powers smile at us, and Oakley hypes PEC’s strong points, our rate reductions, and the streamlining of our business.  But in reality they are in league with some of our worst enemies!

And I wonder, Mr. Oakley and Mr. Powers, in your list of endorsements going to every PEC member’s mailbox, why you didn’t list “Texans for Affordable Electric Rates”?  Strange, isn’t it?

The end game of this double talk and deception is nigh, and can only be a move  to sell off  our Cooperative to outside interests (investor-owned retail electric providers) via “customer choice”.

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6 thoughts on “Camouflaged Motives?

  1. It is always interesting to read slanted writing. In my newsletter, “Papa Joe….Tell Me If It Is So”, I ask concrete questions. One being is if the candidates are receiving support from special interest groups, political parties, etc…..All three candidates answered this question—all three admitted they are receiving backing from certain groups.

    In fact, in my newsletter, Oakley and Powers stated the one mentioned here, “Texans for Affordable Electric Rates”, as did Palasciano mentioned “Friends of the PEC'”, thought to be made up by some old “PEC4U, Public Citizen, and Clear Water Action” folks. I asked the “Friends of the PEC” about this once and didn’t receive an answer. Makes one wonder that my assumptions are true… that the “Friends of the PEC” is just a renaming of some of the old PEC4U folks and their followers. How transparent is the “Friends of the PEC”? No more than the so called secretive one mentioned in the comments I am replying about, “Texans for Affordable Electric Rates”.

    Special interest groups have been involved in the PEC since 2006. Nothing new. But it would be good to go straight to the sources and ask the candidates, like I do. Making assumptions without questioning is insidious. If they lie they can always be fact checked and held accountable.

    I appreciate Palasciano, Oakley, and Powers for answering my questions for my newsletter “straight up”! It is easy for writers on this blog to make declaratory statements without searching for the truth. Why? Because digging for answers often leads us to answers we don’t want to acknowledge.

    Yes, special interest groups are at work in this election….just like they have been since 2006. Only now there are varying special interest groups. We all belong to special interest groups, including myself, but the problem is that special interest groups only seek info and answers that support their various positions—not necessarily the truth. I appreciate this blog for allowing different ideas….but to be honest, it only supports the ideas it likes.

    Joe Summy
    Johnson City, TX.

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  2. You truly are suffering from a lack of perspective, Mr. Summy. However, your comment deserves an answer.
    The common understanding of a “special interest group”, is an entity that seeks to profit monetarily or politically by interfering with, or steering an organization in a certain direction. Such as the direction of interfering with, or destroying the Pedernales Electric Co-op’s current governance and causing the loss of its membership to outside investor owned electric providers.
    Friends of PEC has no profit or political motive, and is not concerned with steering PEC in any new direction, but rather only preserving what we have now. We have no secrets and therefore do not need to be secretive. Our values are plainly stated on our website, and while I do not know all those who share our values, the officers are made up of two Republicans and one Democrat. I happen to be one of them.
    I’ve never heard of the PEC4U group that you imply we are a reincarnation of. Neither Public Citizen or Clean Water Action have any involvement with our current affairs.
    Contrast our explicitly spelled out values with the conspicuous lack of content on the “Texans for Affordable Electric Rates” website. The analogy would be the difference between daylight and darkness. We are an information source. They are not, except for a superficial dig made at electric Co-ops in three or four sentences. In the absence of any other data we must assume they have a business-grabbing / Co-op destroying motive.

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    • Thanks for your polite dialogue, but I disagree, Mr. Golladay, with your base statement. I have spent many years observing, studying, interacting with, and being a member of various special interest groups. Having been introduced to the nature of special interest groups a long time ago as a graduate student, I have had a “special” curiosity about them ever since.

      Contrary to the common understanding, a special interest group actually exists in the real world when two or more people come together to advance a common cause. We can veil them with a textbook definition, and we can veil them as just a group of folks coming together to advance a cause—just a group of people with a common, and special interest. My Lions Club is a kind of special interest group because we come together to serve, to seek knowledge, and to influence others to do the same. We want to advance a cause. There are all kinds of special interest groups….some benign and others not so.

      Nothing wrong with being a member of a special interest group. As previously stated, I have belonged to several as an adult, and I still belong to some. Let’s just call them what they are.

      My concern is that with only 8%-10% of the members voting in PEC elections, special interest groups have overly influenced the outcome of the elections, since 2007. Thus, special interest groups want at-large elections for directors because it increases their power and influence, leading to a far greater influence then their actually numbers, which has also led to some directors being elected who couldn’t even carry their own districts. Sad, but true.

      I admire Mr. Palasciano,, Mr. Oakley, and Mr. Powers for being forthcoming in my newsletter about the groups that are supporting them. Innately, they understand these groups have a “special interest” in the elections. And, I am making an assumption these “special interests” also have ties to political parties. Respectfully, I find many of your statements also to be assumptions. As someone who use to monitor and investigate school districts, I know that many assumptions turn out to be just…assumptions.

      In addition, I have no problems with the mission of the “Friends of the PEC”. I share some of its same goals. But, if the “Friends of the PEC” has no secrets, please release the names of its members. Let’s not only have transparency at the PEC, but let’s also have transparency from the various special interest groups that are involved…on both sides. Of course, I know this will never happen from any special interest group.

      “Friends of the PEC” I assume is made up of good people. However, one of its goals should be to share the truth…not just make assumptions.

      Joe Summy

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  3. Richard –

    While I don’t question your intellect, I do question its use.

    Per Wikipedia –

    A biography (or simply bio) is a detailed description of a person’s life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death, but also portrays a subject’s experience of these life events. Unlike a profile or curriculum vitae (résumé), a biography presents a subject’s life story, highlighting various aspects of his or her life, including intimate details of experience, and may include an analysis of the subject’s personality.

    That being said, now it’s my turn,

    1. Your categorizing my submitted bio to that of intestinal gas, which of course, I take exception to. You also stated that I broke the “rules”, which, again I take exception to as well. You might do a little research and see how other candidates have expressed themselves in prior PEC elections. As for a list of endorsements, I can assure you the list was limited and could have been much more extensive. I do think it is relevant to illustrate to the members whom the local & state elected leader place their trust in.

    2. As for your camouflage labeling of me, I can assure you and all readers that image absolutely nothing to hide. I do find it ironic that the group you admit to being an officer of a rouge group that does not list its board on the website, not even a phone number. I do suspect that now that ice pointed that out, some info may magically appear.

    3. You state that you find it strange that I did not list “Texans for Affordable Electric Rates” among endorsers. In fact, I knew nothing about them when I submitted my bio materials. I still don’t know who they are. I had nothing to do with the development nor distribution of the post card they sent out. And to be clear, it was sent out after I submitted my materials.

    In closing, it would be nice if you could take a moment, take a breath, and consider all the great things that have been accomplished in the last 3 years. We have reduced rates, enhanced member services and employee moral has improved. You seem focused on casting sinister shadows and making assumptions. You know what they say when you assume things. You’ve done a great job of trying to make me look like an ass. Who does the other part of that word point to ?

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  4. James, an alternate definition of “flatulent” is “having or showing excessive self importance” (six words). “Hot air” is two words. I confess to being a word economist and went with one word.

    I stand by my assertion that an extensive list of endorsements falls outside the scope of a biography.

    I find it amazing that yours and Mr. Powers’ pictures (and platform) appear on the ARC website, and on the mailers they sent out, without your knowledge or approval. How could they possibly know that your values are aligned with theirs (a hidden and unpublished agenda) to do such a mischievous thing?

    If you are not camouflaged, then simply pull the covers off, and state unequivocally that you are not going to promote Co-op destroying “customer choice”.

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  5. Richard –

    First I want to acknowledge there was a couple “auto correct” errors in my prior post. Mobile devices are certainly handy, but proofing has merits.

    Candidates get 400 words to use for their submitted materials. There are no guidelines given other than no PEC logo can be used. If a candidate is not savvy enough to figure out that this material will go out to all members and to make the most of it, well so be it.

    You may find it amazing that I was not contacted prior to a group sending out a post card in support of me. Frankly, it seems a bit amazing to me as well, but not sinister as you would assert. I suppose it is not that far fetched that a group called “Texans for Affordable Electric Rates” aligns themselves with me given my proven track record of reducing rates during my time on the board.

    Camouflage….none needed. I have stated in the record during board meetings as well as on questionnaires, that I do not support customer choice. I am now repeating it again on this media that I do not support customer choice. I have always said we at the PEC need to focus on reducing rates and not simply toss our membership to the “devil in the details” sharks. I have no idea where you come up with this assumption, but I hope now it is perfectly clear as what my position is.

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