Originally published in PULP Magazine
In the spirit of April Fool’s Day, we are encouraged to write something out of character. For me, in this column, that would require me to write something complementary about local politics.
I feel the same way about this as I used to feel when my mom tried to get me to eat green beans. Maybe I’ll just hide my column under the table and hope the dog eats it.
Seriously, I am pretty stoked about the prospects—which I think are actually very real and achievable—of Pueblo becoming the Green Energy capital of the West. People were excited when Vestas announced they were coming to town to build one of the world’s largest wind tower plants, mostly because it meant good jobs.
We greenies, on the other hand, were excited for a whole different reason. The idea that the very ethos upon which our community has subsisted for decades could change in the very near future is such a big concept that I’m dumbfounded more people aren’t talking about it.
Add to this that there is news afloat that we may also be the beneficiaries of one of the largest solar energy arrays ever built—enough to power every home in Pueblo county and then some—pushes us even closer. The fact that President Obama signed his new energy bill in Colorado speaks to our prospects as a Green state.
Leaning upon the steel industry to keep us afloat has yielded mixed results, but there are several benefits to retooling now, while we have the chance. First, our nation’s thirst for energy does not drop at nearly the rate that the demand for steel does when times are hard. Second, unlike steel, wind and solar are renewable, meaning they can continue producing indefinitely. Finally, there’s a good deal of money in the stimulus bill for infrastructure to encourage Green development like this, which means we might be able to get our workforce newly trained on the Fed’s dollar.
The possibility that Pueblo, of all places, could become a net-zero community (one that produces at least as much energy as it consumes) should have every citizen in our county limits chomping at the proverbial bit. It should, at the very least, be the final motivation we need to implement a county-wide recycling program, to suggest to the greater public that we actually believe in this Green Energy stuff, and we’re not just in it for the money.
Okay, enough positivity. On to Pueblo City Schools Superintendent Covington. If there’s any validity to the myth that Pueblo has a self-esteem issue, it’s reinforced by opportunists like Covington who, in about a year, was almost lured away to Louisiana, having used Pueblo as a convenient stepping stone to further his career.
Never mind that he’s set a multi-year plan into motion that he has no intention of seeing through. And never mind that would have left us holding the tab for a budget deficit in the millions. What’s worse is the message it sends to our children, which is to get what you can, when and where you can, and that long-term commitment takes a back seat to personal gain.
Though he has removed his name from consideration in Baton Rouge, much of the potential damage already has been gone. He knows, as do we know, that if or when the next best thing comes along, his bags are already packed and waiting by the door.