Given that this isn't breaking news, it would have been good if Billy had done some more reporting on the story. Specifically: WSM is one of the only co-op markets in the country that has multiple classes of shares. My understanding of the proposed change is that it's intended at least in part to bring the Durham co-op more in line with how the majority of other US food co-ops operate. This may be good or bad from a philosophical perspective, but given the shoestring upon which the co-op operates, and the lack of deep experience on most people's part, there's probably some value there in terms of aligning to best practices industry-wide.
Another thing omitted is that none of the proposed worker shares have actually been issued, for some reason (lack of interest? lack of funds on the part of the workers?) -- it would be good to know more about that.
Finally, it would have been nice to have some direct quotes from members & workers, instead of just a brief allusion to their discontent.
Virtual web ink is cheap -- it would be nice if stories like this were fully reported instead of seeming more designed to stir up controversy & innuendo.
The problem with the name has very little to do with its length, and a lot more to do with the unchecked class & race privilege that it embodies. I honestly can't believe you guys let Gray Brooks get away with telling his press-release story without asking any serious questions about the name & how it might be perceived by the community.
One quibble -- anyone who has watched any of Sean's videos knows that his name is pronounced "Haw," like the river.
Duke's business is actually in providing energy infrastructure to consumers. They'll try to do that via the most profitable means available. Building coal, nuclear or NG-fired power plants, and then paying to maintain & fuel them, is extremely expensive. If they can buy/build solar for cheaper, there's no logical reason why they wouldn't do so.
However, power generation is only half of their business. Power distribution is the other half. Think of all the miles and miles and miles of distribution lines, the hundreds of substations & hundreds of thousands of power poles that make up the Duke Energy distribution system. Those things cost real money to construct & maintain.
If citizens wanted to put solar power on their roofs & *not* connect themselves to the grid, then Duke probably wouldn't care one way or another.
But most citizens adopting solar, particularly those who live in homes that are already grid-connected, want to have it both ways -- they want to generate power when the sun is shining, and sell that power to Duke if they're making more than they can use, but they also want to be able to use grid power when the sun isn't shining.
So how much would you pay for that luxury? Current electric rates are set with the assumption that any grid-connected home is going to spend within some predictable range every month, and that has to cover both generation and grid maintenance.
The other difficulty with adding large amounts of grid-tied solar to the current grid is that the grid is highly inelastic. The regional grid operators have to balance supply to demand on a minute-by-minute basis. They like production sources that can be turned off & on reasonably quickly, like natural gas.
So in addition to figuring out a new equitable billing structure to cover grid maintenance under this new distributed generation model, we also need to figure out how to manage a distributed network of generation sources on a grid where there's no storage capacity to speak of.
THAT is what companies like Duke Energy are afraid of.
I have been following the solar energy industry for 15 years, including designing & building a passive-solar home with solar hot water panels. I actually set it up for solar electric as well, but couldn't afford the panels at the time.
In other words, I'm by no means an electric industry apologist. But it's a difficult problem to solve, much more difficult than a lot of people seem to realize.
Folks who are interested in learning more about the delicate balance of the current US electric grid should read Maggie Koerth-Baker's excellent "Before the Lights Go Out" : http://www.amazon.com/Before-Lights-Go-Out…
I definitely second Barry's comment. Could use some better streetlighting as well. I have a decidedly un-fond memory of being flipped off & yelled at by some jerk in an SUV as I tried to cross the road from the Fish Shack to Local Yogurt.
I'm confused. In the Michelle Shocked vs Azure Ray vs Brendan Benson section, Chris Parker goes out of his way to compare the [lack of] "natural beauty" of Shocked to the "cuteness" of Azure Ray's Orenda Fink & Maria Taylor. But he must've gotten distracted when writing the Brendan Benson section, because nowhere does he mention how Benson's handsomeness, or lack thereof, compares to the other two.
HOW AM I TO MAKE AN INTELLIGENT DECISION ABOUT WHICH SHOW TO ATTEND WITHOUT THIS CRUCIAL INFORMATION?
As I did for Hopscotch, I put together a Troika flickr pool -- but in looking through people's photos I realized that a bunch of folks had a lot of good stuff from the previous 7 years that hadn't ever been collected, so I went ahead & invited everyone. So there's good stuff in there from '05, '08, '09 *and* 2010: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1535435@N20/
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