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Mayor Rabideau is bad for us

To the editor:

I’ve often heard it’s difficult to change a man’s mind when his paycheck depends on disagreeing. In his July 16 letter Mr. Rabideau (he needs to own that title because odds of him getting reelected are poor) has again proven that axiom. He denies that hydrogen fuel cell production is mainstream technology and that it could benefit Saranac Lake. The variety of vehicles coming off the assembly lines proves the contrary. The real question is whether we will fill up our future fuel cell cars with hydrogen trucked in from Canada, or will we produce our own and enjoy the benefits?

Mr. Rabideau then goes on to instruct me that Lake Flower dam is not Hoover Dam. Is the point of that to say if we don’t have one of the largest dams in the world, we can’t do anything? That’s not leadership; that’s obstructionism. The fact remains we have an opportunity to generate hydrogen fuel with clean energy, and we have an existing market in our region to sell this product. For instance, hydrogen can be mixed directly with natural gas and burned in our household appliances. In the UK they are blending in 20% hydrogen to heat Keele University in Staffordshire. That’s a straight-up 20% reduction of the carbon footprint for heating at that location, and money that could stay in the community.

So what is Mr. Rabideau’s problem with all of this? Why does he take such umbrage to my assertion that the tourism-based economy does not serve the whole community? It’s just this: He specializes in high-priced housing for the well-heeled outsiders. They come up for the quality of our environment, as he admits, and decide to buy one of his new houses. How many who are born and raised here can afford the $350,000 price tag of his latest work on Fox Run Road? No, his market target is high-end housing for the affluent. Meanwhile, housing has become so expensive that working families struggle to live here. How many times in the past few years have we seen articles about local businesses unable to find anyone to hire? Well, there’s no available, affordable housing; that’s why. It is exactly the same process that happened in Aspen, Colorado. The swells come in, the prices go up, but wages don’t.

I could go on about the $10 million we got from the state, but it just proves my point that our economy requires handouts to maintain our infrastructure. And the hotels are actually just tourism money-harvesting machines, exporting the big money while leaving crumbs locally. So yes, we do need new leadership in the community — leadership that can see the need to diversify our economy. Leadership must choose to support the young working families, the aged, the disadvantaged and the youth of our community — not just the rich.

So, good people of Saranac Lake, let’s begin to elect a new village government. And remember my slogan: “Anyone but Rabidoo in ’22.”

Sincerely,

Stephen McAuley

Saranac Lake

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/24/hydrogen-uk-gas-grid-keele-university

Delivering the future of heat

https://saidit.net/s/hydrogen

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