Monday, September 11, 2017

Sacred Trust Excerpt

Sacred Trust Excerpt

This chapter from Wayne King’s new novel “Sacred Trust” revolves around an essay written by a group of North Country folks, writing in the fashion of the authors of the Federalist Papers, who have chosen to provide written support to “The Trust” the name adopted by a group of compatriots using civil disobedience to try and stop the construction of a massive private powerline.

Some people have suggested that this fictional story has a reverberating echo of familiarity. We’ll let you decide for yourself.

You are invited to share this excerpt freely with your friends and contacts. Permission to reprint this except is also hereby granted by the author.


Chapter 42  
Who’s in Charge Around Here?

Duggan, Wilson and Echo walked through the front door of Tea Bird’s Cafe in Berlin with just minutes to spare before they stopped serving breakfast.

Wilson immediately noticed that a new Essay from the Gazetteers had been released and was in the magazine rack just inside the front door. She surreptitiously snatched up the entire stack of them and slipped them into her jacket. As the three took a table she withdrew a copy and photographed it with her smartphone, sending it directly to both Enright and Mac. Mac would no doubt want to send it along to Governor “Mags” who was still operating under the illusion that she was of an independent mind on this and Mac still needed to treat her with kid gloves until she was turned.

She shared copies with Duggan and Larry Echo and the three sat stoically reading the essay.

Giving Away the Store  
A Free Pass and an Extension Cord

Politicians and Bureaucrats Sell Out the State’s Future with Granite Skyway
Patrick H. Stark

No matter the state, politicians have a long history of tough talk and slight of hand. Whether it’s Kansas or Georgia, Alabama or New Hampshire we have all heard a line of Governors, Senators and Representatives talking tough about protecting the interests of their state only to cave in to the first comer with a bag of money.

All too often the tough talk is not meant to protect us but rather to distract us from what is really going on. This allows the politicians to seem as if their interest coincides with ours when actually they are aiding and abetting a bait and switch that leaves us digging around in our pockets and wondering how someone made off with our keys and our wallets.

Virgil and Wyatt Earp have the rest of us watching the OK Corral while the thieves are sneaking into the bank and stealing all the money and a horse or two on their way out for good measure.

Such is the case with Granite Skyway. Our current Governor was elected on a pledge that she would not support the project unless the entire length was buried, yet since her election all talk of burying the lines has evaporated like so much hot air and now she has moved on to wringing her hands about making sure that the long term power needs of the state are met.

Leaving aside the fact that no politician ever gave a rip about what was going to happen 20 or 30 years hence, unless it fits the needs of their current agenda, it’s worth noting that the Granite Skyway project is being proposed at a time when electricity demand has been flat or falling for more than a decade. Not because we have been in a recession - we have in fact had one of the longest periods of sustained growth in US history - But because of new technologies, particularly ones that allow us to reduce electricity demand through efficiency and conservation, are being employed by more and more individuals and businesses.

Additionally, though only a modest number of homes and businesses have been able to take advantage of net metering laws the electricity generated for the grid has demonstrated the promise of expanding rooftop, business and home solar arrays in the future. Most projections for the future indicate that conservation and technological advances will continue to exert a downward pressure on the need for large new power facilities and transmission lines. Allowing older plants to be retired without the need to construct new large facilities.

This is not to say that new sources of power and new transmission will be completely unnecessary, but the changes needed will be more along the lines of upgrading existing systems and taking advantage of new ideas like smart grids and more green, renewable energy sources, decentralized and scaled laterally, built by joining together locally developed resources and linking them together through a smart grid.

A recent report from the highly respected Marcy Institute for Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire, indicates that no additional transmission or power production is necessary for the foreseeable future and the creation of such is likely to create unanticipated costs to the ratepayers from unneeded stranded assets.   

When viewed in this light the Granite Skyway project can only be described as . . . well . . . DOWNRIGHT STUPID.

A theft of public resources for private greed.

Ask yourself this:  If a group of experts representing a broad diversity of residents and expertise had been brought together to design a power generation and transmission system in keeping with our best interests, how would it look?

Certainly not like this.

This is the biggest betrayal of all: At a time when we need our primary state utility to be planning the transmission grid of the future, advocating and advancing the generation of renewable power in a post-carbon era  and standing up for the values that define our beautiful natural state, they are wasting their time and resources on a glorified extension cord with no future value to our state whatsoever.

All around us states have begun planning - even constructing - smartgrids that meet the challenges of the future and support distributed energy sources, but not here.

It is malpractice, malfeasance of the highest order. Over the years Polaris has grown fat, dumb and happy - with particular emphasis on DUMB  -  in its enviable position of a publicly sanctioned monopoly. If it had to compete with other utility companies in an open marketplace it would have been long gone, but it has benefitted from a lack of assertive oversight and now we are paying for it.  

In essay number 1 Gazetteer Paine compared them to the Oligarchs of old who despoiled the air and the waters of our country rather than finding ways to produce their products without polluting the public commons - pocketing the difference and leaving us to breath the air and drink the water poisoned by their greed.   

If the proponents of Granite Skyway  have their way, they will repeat this travesty again and  we will pay the price for the next 5 generations. They will start with thousands of acres of clearcuts, creating massive scars upon the land we love, and they will  leave behind a trail of towers and tears that will be our legacy to our children, our grandchildren and their grandchildren.

Yet the politicians and bureaucrats are not standing up to them. . . Not demanding that they go back to the drawing board or go home! Demanding that if we are to have a transmission line, let it be OUR transmission line not a privately owned one over which we have no control.

Polaris Electric exists by our forbearance. They are a Public utility. They can only hide behind a cadre of investors if WE PERMIT IT. If they wish to burden our grandchildren with a transmission line, let them bring us a proposal that is designed to cherish and respect our heritage, our land and our interests.

We have been played for a bunch of chumps. Handing over the public rights-of-way and the viewsheds to a cabal of investors, led by a utility company bent on ignoring its moral and economic obligation to us, whose only interest appears to be in making a buck.

Granite Skyway investors are bent on creating a transmission system that privatizes profits and socializes the environmental, social and economic costs and consequences.

As proposed The Granite Skyway project began as nothing more than a glorified extension cord, bringing power directly from Canada to the suburbs of Philadelphia, Boston and New York without so much as a kilowatt finding its way into a home here in the Granite State. Little has changed since then.
For too many politicians this is just fine. They are willing to throw open the doors and let the home invaders have their way with the entire family.

We are not.

When the British came to enforce their authority over our land, their soldiers wore red and marched in a straight line. We hid in the woods, fought back from behind stone walls and took the battle to them on our own terms.

This war will not be waged with guns and cannons but we will surely fight it on our own terms.

The Gazetteers
Patrick H. Stark


Scott Gregory was behind the grill making the last of the breakfasts and he watched Susan Wilson pocket the pamphlets. He discretely continued to watch the entire scene transpire as he cooked. Rather than confronting the trio he decided that he would simply watch them. Something wasn’t entirely kosher but he was going to arm himself with         all the details before he decided what to do, after all, he could always order more of the essays.

Heather was clearing tables and he hit the bell on the counter they used to indicate that an order was up. Heather looked up and Scott motioned with his head for her to approach.

“Don’t look over there” Scott said, “but those three who just arrived are acting very weird. The woman took the entire stack of new essays from the Gazetteers and stashed them in her coat but for one each for herself and the other two, then she photographed hers and texted someone - probably sent the piece to them.”

“What should we do? Should I make her put them back?” Heather said.

“No” Scott said. “Let’s see if we can figure out what they’re up to. If we figure out who the members of The Trust are maybe we can provide them with some useful information.”

“Okay, I’ll bring them some menus and water then.”

“Be careful Heather. We don’t want to tip them off.”

Heather hugged him, “This is exciting! We get to play spies for the good guys.”

“We’re not playing Heather. This is serious business.”

“Oh lighten up Lancelot. Your Guinevere knows how to handle this.”

Heather walked over to the table and poured water into the glasses that had already been set there after the last patrons had departed. She passed out menus with her characteristic good cheer.

“We’re still serving breakfast but only for a few more minutes” she said. “Can I bring you some coffee or juice while you decide?”

Will Duggan ordered coffees all around and just as Heather was about to walk away, he said, “hey we’re up here scouting a movie and we’re looking for someone who has a wolf that we might be able to use in some of the scenes. Do you know anyone?”

Heather seemed genuinely interested. “A movie! WOW! How cool!  What’s it about?”

Duggan hesitated, he should have thought this through a bit more. He was improvising on the fly and now he had to come up with something he had not planned on. “Err. . . well . . . it’s kind of a secret. You know intellectual property stuff. But it has a wolf as one of the characters. Does that sound like anyone you know? It’s pretty good money.”

“Wolves have been extinct here in NH since around 1900,” Heather said, “and it’s illegal to have a purebred wolf as a pet” There are some folks who have wolf-hybrids - - that’s a dog that might be up to 50% wolf - - but I don’t know any of them personally. There’s actually a sanctuary down in the Ossipee area and one near Keene as well. You might check there.”

“Ready to order? Or do you need a few more minutes?”

The trio ordered breakfast and Heather walked away, heading for the kitchen, trying not to be too obvious in her excitement.

“Did you learn anything?” Scott asked.

“They claim they’re scouting a location for a movie, said they were looking for someone with a wolf. but something was hinky about their answer when I asked what the movie was about.”

“Daniel Roy was here with that Canadian woman the other day, didn’t he say something about a Timberwolf?”

“That’s right. I caught a glimpse of him, the wolf I mean, his big head was sticking out the car window when they drove in. I told these three I didn’t know of anyone with a wolf.  Do you think we should warn Daniel?”

“Whether we need to or not.” Scott said.  “He needs to know that someone is asking around.”

Copyright Wayne D. King 2016/17.  Reprinted with permission of the author. "Sacred Trust" A vicarious, high voltage adventure to stop a private powerline has been published on as an ebook with the paper edition due soon.
Described by one reader as "The Monkey Wrench Gang Meets the Third Industrial Revolution" the book is a fictional account of a group of unlikely compatriots who join together to stop a powerline proposed by a private consortium, employing creative civil disobedience in the traditions of Alinsky, Thoreau and Dr. King.

Available from Kindle Books
Moosewood Communications Publisher

The Wildboy

"Sacred Trust" Published as ebook on Amazon
Available from Kindle Books
Moosewood Communications Publisher

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Tilton School chooses Sacred Trust as "Summer Community Read"

Pleased to say that The Tilton School here in NH has chosen my novel "Sacred Trust" as their "summer community read" I w...