#rangothedog vs. nud.net
i’ve recently run out of money and come back again with the support of family, friends and good fortune. but i’ve learned a few things along the way, specifically about water, shame and punishment in the USA.
this insight is not flattering to any of us here.
we’ve come to accept as de facto morality that if you can’t pay even your most essential utility bill, water, even if it’s just for yourself, without regard for your circumstances, that it’s acceptable that you should punished financially, and be deprived of an essential, life-sustaining commodity, water, until you can pay. nobody will ask you why, but you’ll get a precisely enumerated bill with your disconnection notice.
unless you resort to consuming this essential resource from other, more fortunate people (some of us don’t have those nearby), you don’t get to wash your clothes for your interview, you don’t get to cook or clean like everybody must, you don’t get to quench your thirst, until you pay. for water. nobody cares why, you get a series of bills with escalating punishments, which you must pay, or the water will be shut off, period.
“no water for you” – northshore utility district (aka: NUD.net) (#somewhat, i just made that up)
substitute: electricity in a modern age (ed: PUD you are next).
it’s accepted policy and indeed a profit-seeking imperitive that non-trivial fees will be assessed to your account, from the cost of issuing you a bill with a negative balance (~$3.50, apparently negative math costs extra these days) to the cost of posting an overdue notice on your door (~$23.00 for pink paper and a rubber band in a utility district that spans <5 minutes in every direction, so easily 4 notices an hour for a minimum wage driver making <$8/hr).
tack on a standard late fee ($15.02, so precise, must have been a CPA there) and the fact that you’re willing to take a ~$35 overdraft fee from your bank (thank you Wells Fargo, but i’m better going to a pawn shop for terms, and did). so dozens of hours of labor to be able to clean your clothes, cook, and drink for a month, and now the cost of not being able to afford water in the United States of America is positively obscene.
much of this lofty profit-grabbing is just american (!!), and we accept it as essential capitalism. however, much of it is incoherently, morally justified by comparing life-sustaining water to other utilities, primarily electricity and cell phones. this comparison is fundamentally bankrupt and should be shut down. we can kill memes here with no remorse, so let’s do that.
water is not electricty or cell phones. no water, no life.
the people hurting for water the most suffer the most indignity. at minimum wage, or god forbid unemployment, the penalites alone for a missed bill eat up an entire week’s wages, for somebody that can’t afford their most essential utility forced to pay for the most common molecule in a world of life, water. this payment goes to a utility district where everybody makes many, many times the minimum wage and reasonably does not care about the people that don’t, until you walk into their office and explain why they should, as i did today.
next monday, 5:30PM, the Northshore Utility District is going to get this explained to them in very clear terms by #rangothedog. they know i’m coming, they just don’t know who i am, yet. i will explain that, too, and why they should care, again and again, until they do. this is going to change, eventually, for the people in kenmore, washington, and then hopefully, spread to some of you that are hurting.
because: that i can do. at least i think i can according to broadway mythology and the little engine that could. by the time i show up at their office i’ll have this post, on my blog and on facebook, and all your feedback, screen-captured, and i will have discussed the matter on my radio show, for thousands to hear.
sure, next monday, no problem.
i’ll just show up and make my case and hopefully change their minds about water in the USA, forever, in just a few minutes, starting from here. at least that’s the plan. you gotta start somewhere, i’ll start right here with this pink notice on my door, and water.
“rango4prez” – Ben Badenhorst aka the secretary of defense
“you h4cked your ankle bracelet again, i’m calling the cops” – parole officer
“what he said” – Tim Hearn, probably (because we’re bros)
Matt….aka Rango… did you learn anything when you came to visit the Board at NUD? Care to share with your blog? Did you tell them that the board agreed to help prevent shutoffs with a Hopelink fund for the NUD customers? You can even donate to it yourself so the next person has a resource to prevent shut off… and unlike other utilities run by cities who charge everyone a bundle more for their poorer neighbors, we actually donated our own money.
We invite everyone to contribute and keep this fund full 🙂
Your friendly neighborhood commissioner