Wednesday, June 25, 2008

As Bush Approaches, Peters proposes energy plans

As Bush approaches, Peters proposes energy plans

by Greg Kowalski • Eccentric staff writer • June 25, 2008

As President George W. Bush came into Livonia to raise money for the Republican Party Democratic Congressional candidate Gary Peters wasted no time tieing him to Joe Knollenberg, Peters’ opponent for the 9th U.S. House seat.

Linking the Republicans might seem to be a natural match, but these days Knollenberg, like many other Republicans, is distancing himself from the president, who now has a dismal public approval rating.

“The fact that he is coming in shows the Republican Party in Michigan is closely linked to Bush,” Peters said. But, “the people of Oakland County are ready for a change,” Peters said in a noon telephone news conference.

Although Peters had some choice comments for Knollenberg and Bush, the primary focus of the conference was on Peters’ plans to deal with the high cost of fuel and how it is impacting municipal operations.

“I’ve been extremely frustrated with the lack of an energy policy,” Peters said. Peters proposes a short-term and long-term approach, starting with reining in oil speculators and going after price gougers. Long-term he wants to see development of alternative energy sources.

“We have to make a serious commitment to research,” he said.

But he doesn’t approve of off-shore drilling or drilling in environmentally sensitive areas. The oil companies, he said, already have access to 67 million acres of oil fields where they aren’t drilling.

“Even if they were to drill, an impact (on prices) wouldn’t be felt for 10 years,” he said

Also taking part in the conference were Birmingham City Commissioner Scott Moore, Waterford Township Supervisor Carl Solden; Royal Oak School Board Member Kevin McLogan; West Bloomfield firefighter Dave DeBoyer; and Fred Timpner, executive director of the Michigan Association of Police.
All described how the high cost of fuel is impacting their community or working conditions.

“We’re considering more outsourcing,”
Moore said. That saves the city money, he said but the contractors tend to pay less, which means the workers have less to spends and ultimately, “That affects the quality of life.”

DeBoyer said the West Bloomfield Fire Department is already $7,000 over budget this year for its fuel expenditures.

“We started shutting trucks off at the scene, which is something historically we don’t do.” But allowing trucks to idle burns gas.

Timpner said some police departments are severely curtailing police patrols to save gas. One department, he said, has limited its officers to drive only 45 miles per shift. Other departments, like
Pontiac, have drastically cut the number of officers
“We have less officers on the street today than we had on 9-11,” Timpner said.
Yet, Peters said, Knollenberg has voted against funding for such operations as COPS, the Community Oriented Policing Program.

Echoing the theme of change, Peters said. “The policies of the past are not working now.”

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