March 16, 2014 in City

Doug Clark: Only you can help Avista’s cats stay fat

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Welcome to “Loot for the Loaded,” our first-ever charity telethon.

I’m devoting my column today to helping poor Avista executives, who are feeling the pinch like never before.

So dial our toll free number: 1-800-FAT-CATS. One of our Avista volunteers will be happy to take your pledge.

Uh, nobody’s calling?

OK. Well, some of you may be thinking, “Why would I give any of my hard-earned money to a bunch of greedy, rich power czars?”

That’s just selfish. We working stiffs aren’t the only ones hurting these days.

Consider what’s happening at the highest rungs of the Avista ladder.

All five of the company’s top executives saw their pay plummet dramatically last year due to “lower stock and changing pension values,” a recent S-R news story reported.

This is not peanuts we’re talking about.

Avista Corp. chairman and CEO Scott Morris’ total compensation reportedly fell nearly $600,000.

Morris had to try to make ends meet with a paltry $2.9 million for 2013. What a hardship.

That $600,000 could mean the difference between buying new diamond-encrusted lobster bibs and having to throw a dinner party with your embarrassing old shabby bibs.

So please call that phone number and give generously.

Hmm. Still nobody? Guess it’s time to talk about our exciting offer.

The first 10 callers who pledge $100 or more will receive a complimentary Avista Emergency Outage Kit.

Not sold in any stores, the Emergency Outage Kit comes in a genuine Naugahyde bag that contains 1 (one) candle and 1 (one) flint that should fit any Zippo lighter.

You might not need it now. But an Outage Kit could come in mighty handy during those times when you find yourself sitting at home in the dark because you couldn’t pay your Avista bill.

Whattaya know. Looks like we’ve got our first caller. Let’s listen in.

VOLUNTEER: “Loot for the Loaded. How much would you like to pledge to our struggling Avista executives?”

CALLER: “I read awhile back that Avista profits were up 42 percent for 2013. How come my rates didn’t go down 42 percent?”

VOLUNTEER: “I’m sorry. Avista volunteers aren’t allowed to listen to news or do simple math. Now, what would you like to pledge?”

CALLER: “Hey, I’m talking about $111.1 million here.”

VOLUNTEER: “Oh, my goodness. That is such a gracious gift.”

CALLER: “No, you ninny. That’s Avista’s NET PROFIT!”

Click.

Some people obviously don’t know a thing about economics. Much of that so-called profit is already earmarked for corporate necessities.

You know, like bailing lobbyists out of jail or giving away thousands and thousands of those poison-filled, curlicue death bulbs that nobody seemed to want.

Just in time! Here’s another caller.

VOLUNTEER: “Loot for the Loaded. I’m ready to take your pledge.”

CALLER: “I just got another Avista energy report card and the black bar showing energy use is even longer than ever.”

VOLUNTEER: “You obviously need some help, sir.”

CALLER: “Yeah? Well, here’s the thing. I’ve been out of town and had the heat turned off for a month. What do you think that means?”

VOLUNTEER: “The power company works in mysterious ways, its wonders to perform.”

CALLER: “And now this questionnaire came in the mail that asks me all sorts of personal questions about my electricity and heating habits. Well, I’m not gonna take it anymore!”

Click.

People. This isn’t the time to air your Avista angst. This is the time to help some VIPPs (Very Important Power People) who are in need.

Consider this: Only one of the four executives under Morris cracked the $1 million mark for 2013. The year’s pay for the other three ranged from $866,656 to $988,943.

The time has come for all of us to help. So pick up those phones and make those pledges.

Anyone?

Anyone?

Doug Clarkcan be reached at (509) 459-5432 or dougc@spokesman.com.


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