June 25, 2008 · Updated 9:42 PM
"Governor should bash CaliforniaGov. Gary Locke has had a hard sell trying to convince Washingtonians to conserve energy.Locke points to a worsening West Coast energy situation, most evident in this state by the low level of water behind the dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. Unless rain and snowfall are well above average in the coming months, the dam situation bodes ill for this summer. Demand could far exceed the supply of comparatively low cost federal hydropower.Locke has worked hard to spread the word about the need to conserve electricity, but he has done a poor job explaining California's role in the current energy shortage. Northwest residents are upset that California apparently caused the shortage but is not paying its share of the resulting higher costs.Public utilities in Washington and Oregon are raising rates 30 to 50 percent to cover the cost of buying more expensive power from outside suppliers such as B.C. Hydro. But California utilities can't do the same because of statutory limits on how much they can charge consumers. As a result of these inane price controls, California utilities are facing bankruptcy and Northwest ratepayers are being gouged, while California residents merrily use all the power they want -- when it's available -- because their bills are capped.Gov. Locke has demanded action from the federal government to limit the price producers can charge for electricity. That's fine, but he should also be demanding that California lift its consumer price lid. Otherwise, Washington residents are being asked to pay for California's power crisis.A bit of well-deserved California-bashing by Locke would help express the outrage citizens of this state feel when they open their electricity bills. It might also help force California legislators to repeal their electricity price lids, so Californians also feel the budgetary pain of the power crisis.Energy conservation will be an easier sell for the governor once everyone involved is paying the same price. Washington residents won't willingly conserve while paying higher prices for electricity until they see Californians are doing the same.Don't miss this high school playEnjoy yourselves and support the arts by attending this year's South Whidbey High School play, The Man Who Came to Dinner, this weekend in the high school auditorium.The play opened last weekend to enthusiastic crowds who left laughing at the antics of lead actors Paul Benz and Amy Walker and the entire cast of characters.Ably directed by drama teacher Mike McInerney, the play provides an outstanding alternative to staying home and watching TV. The $6 ticket price is cheaper than a mainland movie, and proceeds help support the outstanding arts program at South Whidbey High School.Catch The Man Who Came to Dinner at 7:30 p.m. Friday or Saturday, or at 3 p.m. Sunday. Thanks to its outstanding cast of young actors, we can guarantee a satisfying theater experience. "