I live in a modest rental in Mound.
My wife and I are on Social Security.
We are on what CenterPoint Energy calls its "Average Monthly Billing" plan.
It takes the total amount we spend on gas for hot water and heat, divides it by 12, and that is what we pay each month.
Up until May, that amount was $79 per month.
As of June that amount is $112 per month, an increase of 41%.
Our home hot water and heating will now cost us $1,344 per year instead of $948 per year, an increase of $396 per year.
My question is this:
CenterPoint told me it gets its gas from "out East" — it did last year and still does this year.
The plants out East are not new.
The pipes that carry the gas are not new.
The meters at my house are not new.
CenterPoint has not added significant numbers of employees in the last year.
Why did my natural gas bill go up 41% in one year?
I forgot. Vladimir Putin fighting a war in Ukraine did it!
If everything or a lot of what we have to buy (gasoline, food, energy, etc.) goes up 41%, how do you think the outlook is for two 69-year-olds trying to retire?
David Arundel, Mound
JAN. 6 HEARINGS
What say you, DOJ?
Having watched all of the Jan. 6 hearings, and listening to the testimony of former President Donald Trump's "allies," members of his administration, and White House staff, and subsequent reporting by various members of the media — print, cable and broadcast networks — I am struck by the plain fact that most the testimony provided was well-known 18 months earlier by those who provided it.
While I appreciate the courage it took for all these Trump supporters to testify to what was said and done from Nov. 3, 2000, to Jan. 6, 2001, had they found that courage or integrity then, it is very likely that the second impeachment of Trump would have been successful, and at the very least he would not be able to run again … ever … for anything. And the country would not have had to listen to the lying and posturing put forth by Trump, his "allies" and his hangers-on, bloviating about what is and was well-known as a lie.
Now that it is known to those who have taken the time to listen or read, the ball belongs to the Department of Justice for next steps. Some reporting expresses the concern that indicting a former president would be viewed as partisan and divide the country. My view is that doing nothing would be much worse than failing to follow the law, win or lose.
Mike Cassidy, Wayzata
As a College Republican in the early 1970s and then as a "YVP" (Young Voter for the President) who attended the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami, it is easy for me to understand how Trump supporters continue to cling to him and his message. I occasionally cringe when I think of my younger self chanting "Four more years!" in support of Richard Nixon's re-election campaign.
It took me years to realize how I had been falsely led (and this was before the days of the internet). I told myself that Nixon just got caught doing what other people in power do regularly. I blindly stuck with my party with the view that Nixon was right for our country.
Over the years my political leanings have been what might be called "moderate." At first I felt my party moved slightly to the right, but then in 2015 I thought the Republican Party began to go off the rails. By the way, I have long since quit calling it "my party," and yet I hesitate to label myself a Democrat (they were the enemy, after all, in the decades of the '70s and '80s).
It wasn't until I visited the Nixon Presidential Library and listened carefully to recordings from the Oval Office that I detected Nixon's true self. My bubble had begun losing air when Nixon resigned, but now it was fully deflated and I felt totally duped.
To my Republican friends, I ask that you watch or listen to as much of the hearings of the Jan. 6 committee as possible. Try to listen as though you had no dog in the fight, setting aside ego and malice. It may save you the pain of defending a dangerous movement only to realize one day that the movement was deeply flawed.
Neil Robinson, Plymouth
COURT RULING ON EPA
They just don't get it
In the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Thursday to cut back the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to reduce the carbon output of power plants, it is telling that the chief justice dismisses an existential crisis — the greatest human-caused crisis in world history — as a "crisis of the day." He remands the matter to Congress, where too many members wish to ignore this "inconvenient truth" and have thus far stymied the passage of climate legislation. Unless minds change (perhaps through intensive lobbying) and a resolve to take action ensues, our day of reckoning will arrive sooner rather than later.
Roger B. Day, Duluth
Failed on aging, timing
I'm writing as chair of the Minnesota Board on Aging (MBA), government-appointed advisers on matters affecting Minnesota seniors. It is the MBA's statutory obligation to advise state government leaders on issues affecting the aging.
We were greatly dismayed when the 2022 legislative session ended without addressing the crisis affecting aging services statewide. The overall system and infrastructure supporting older adults have suffered from neglect and are on the verge of collapsing. The financial challenges older Minnesotans face are wide-ranging — from basic needs such as nutrition, housing and transportation to accessing long-term services and supports such as in-home personal care, help for those living with dementia and their caregivers, and services provided in long-term-care settings.
For too long, the needs of older adults have been put on the back burner of priorities in budget proposals and discussions during legislative sessions. Even though aging is a nonpartisan issue, the needs of older adults and their families continue to be ignored by decisionmakers. In particular, the sustainability of the long-term-care workforce is in crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call to the impact of the older population on everyone in the state, particularly as baby boomers age.
The MBA implores our leaders to call a special session to thoroughly review the critical nature of the aging adult care crisis and for lawmakers to increase funding to services for older adults.
Our state is running out of time to make meaningful changes and can no longer afford to kick this can down the road. Waiting until the 2023 legislative session to address these issues will be too late. The time to act is now.
Susan Mezzenga, Pequot Lakes, Minn.
I must strenuously object to the suggestion by state legislators Lindsey Port and Jamie Long that the failure to finish their work in the recent session supports the idea of having a full-time Legislature (Opinion Exchange, June 29). We need only to look at our federal legislative branch to see that full time is no guarantee of efficient legislative performance. The current time allotted to the legislative session is, in my view, ample, and the failure to agree is a result of intractable positions held by both citizenry and legislators. Prolonging sessions won't change that.
Allen G. Holcomb, Mahtomedi