Fountain Valley News - Your Hometown Community Newspaper

Enough is Enough


Far too often I have sat at home quietly fuming about the actions of the Fountain City Council. But now, enough is enough. After their mid-March meeting, I had an occasion to cheer in my heart and head and wallet about the City Council's response to Electric Superintendent Carl Christian and his proposed life-size bronze statue to honor the 100th anniversary of Fountain electricity. The Council was able to hear the request of Mr. Christian for an expenditure of $25,000 from the Electric budget to sculpt the statue of an electric lineman, to weigh the ramifications, and then to recommend that the Electric Superintendent solicit donations for their statue from sponsors and private donations. Hurray! A vote for the citizens of Fountain. Council decided not to take $25,000 from the ever-increasing monthly rates, paid by home-owners and small businesses for their electricity, to fund a statue.

Well, after reading minutes from the latest Council meeting, I am betrayed. I cannot help thinking that there must have been heavy-duty, under- the-table collusion and promises to lead the individual councilmembers to consider paying the cost of completing the statue with a further promise that the city would be reimbursed as donations continue to come in. Not only that, but it looks like there may be other statues in the offing to be paid for by the citizens of Fountain.

Curious enough to research the matter more closely, I went to the internet to see what credentials and reviews the artist has. Checking with the Council minutes I saw that neither the artist who would sculp the statue for $100,000 nor the artist who could produce it for $25,000 has a name. Certainly, a college student with no resume or an artist with no successes might be willing to take $75,000 less than a high bidder who probably has a website, a resume, referrals and testimonials. What does anyone know of this "artist we have in mind"?

Once the statue is paid for with electric bills paid by citizens who are not experiencing an income-increase to keep pace with the ever-raising cost of electricity, who is going to erect the statue and at what cost? Where will it stand and how is that land to be acquired? The Fountain Valley News published a computer-generated image of "what the electric lineman statue would look like" indicating there might be still some costs with the design. There are many questions still to be answered before $25,000 should be allocated for the statue with a promise that it could be paid back with in-coming donations. What if donations never equal the cost of the statue? Will the citizens of Fountain, who were never asked, be stuck with the cost? Wouldn't it fine to have the Electric department consign, build and erect their own statue? Wouldn't it have been fine if their officials had realized last year, not this month, that the anniversary is coming in September and planned accordingly?

Mary Koepp


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