Have the whole cake and eat it too

To the editor:

Do yourself a favor. Do your neighbor a favor. And your neighborhood, your town, your nation. Do the planet a favor.

Every dollar of the soon-to-be $3 million stashed in the Sustainable Reserve Fund will benefit every Oberlinian now and deep into the future. Every dollar of the REC money invested in the community — in family-owned homes, in rental properties, in commercial and industrial and institutional properties (institutional: churches, historic locations, college buildings, for example) — has the full-range potential to draw more dollars — lots and lots of them — into Oberlin. “matching funds,” as they are called, will pour into Oberlin when we ask. This cascade of money will come from government, from corporations, from philanthropies. One of our dollars for one of theirs. One of ours, two of theirs. Three of theirs….

The money Oberlin has earned from the sale of RECs gives us a powerful advantage when submitting energy efficiency and property improvement project proposals to, for example, HUD, the U.S. Department of Energy, USDA, Ohio Department of Development, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (a very very short sampling of the numerous possibilities).

Let’s not settle for a few crumbs. The 85-15 scheme is crummy. The scheme throws away our REC money as well as the access to money from elsewhere to invest in Oberlin. We can achieve the astounding result of having our cake — the whole cake — and eating it, too! Plus, the second feast of the matching funds cake!

It is a very rare thing that individual citizens can accomplish so much good for themselves and for others with so little effort. On Nov. 7, vote yes on 16, no on 17.

David E. Sonner