Occupy Boise using taxpayer-funded electricity; State OK with it
While occupiers fortified their shanty town against the coming winter cold, Tuesday, Today's 6 News went looking for the source of their power. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
While occupiers fortified their shanty town against the coming winter cold, Tuesday, Today's 6 News went looking for the source of their power.
“Um,” occupier Paul Johnson said, “well, we’re using one outlet.”
Oh, we’ll see about that, Paul.
Now, when looking for an electrical outlet it’s prudent to begin your search at the electrical devices in question – in this case: Christmas lights, electronics chargers and a Wi-Fi station – and then to trace the cords back to their source.
“This,” occupier Dean Gunderson said, gesturing to the one outlet into which the encampment plugged, “constitutes the total amount of electricity that’s coming to the camp.”
One Occupy Boise cord stuck into one State of Idaho socket sucking down power paid for... “by taxpayer dollars,” Johnson said. “And I’m a taxpayer.”
“Everybody here is also Idaho taxpayers,” Gunderson said.
“You can pretend that your taxpayer money is going to the stuff you want,” Johnson said. “And my taxpayer money is going to the stuff that I want.”
Only, it doesn’t quite work like that.
It’s true: Taxpayers who might not support the movement technically pay some tiny amount to power the encampment’s one string of lights, communications tent and observance of proper flag conduct (the American flag must have a light on it if said flag remains up at night).
Still, occupiers said they use an absolutely minimal amount of electricity – the state said it didn’t know just how much because it couldn’t isolate the consumption of just one socket.
Occupiers also said they were open to paying for the small amount of power they consumed.
“If there is a request for us to pay for the three or four dollars a month of electricity that we are using," Gunderson said, "then we could certainly pass the hat around.”
But until that happens, the movement’s proverbial hat will remain on its head. After all, it’s getting cold out there. And using electricity for space heaters? Not allowed.