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June 2018

Bill Sherrod, Editor


The ongoing electoral-college debate in Cooperative Living’s Mailbag has grown tiresome. Those against it always talk about an ulterior motive: i.e., the founders were really dumb — but don’t worry, I’m here.

As a retired five-year resident of beautiful Virginia and a second-generation Sicilian-American, I believe the arguments against the electoral college constitute what the founders referred to as the “tyranny of the Commons”; that is, potentially, “mob rule.”

Example: Back in 2013, Virginia elected a new governor. The best candidate lost by the few votes cast for a disgruntled Republican (Libertarian). To get to know my adopted state better I acquired a map. After the election I colored the counties won by each candidate either red (Republican) or blue (Democrat). Spreading the finished map on a table there was no doubt who won.

Red, of course. And of the county/city districts represented on the map, only cities and their outlying districts were blue.

As has been pointed out, in this magazine, Trump “squeaked” out a victory in the last presidential election, winning more than 3,000 counties nationally out of 3,141! And like the Virginia map, the national one is even more glaringly red.

My analysis is that blue equals large-population- area “consumers,” and red equals small-population- area “producers.”

Or, by analogy: two foxes (blue) and one rabbit (red) are voting on what’s for lunch? Or, ants (blue) confined to a crowded “hill” are smarter than the deer (red) of the forest.

The founders’ chosen method to represent all voters was via an electoral college (really smart). To them it was a way to avoid the “tyranny of the Commons.”

Imagine such a red-and-blue-colored map displayed in public schools. Tomorrow’s teachers would then actually know the difference.

— Frank Sardina Unionville


Regarding Cooperative Living magazine’s frequently published safety tips and how to prepare for emergencies, I would like to suggest that one should always stock quantities of ice in the freezer, in anticipation of power outages.

Why isn’t this ever suggested? I had to care for my family of four through a week-long power outage with hurricane Gloria on Long Island, New York, and several gallon and half-gallon cleaned milk containers filled with water and frozen got us through the week.

Frozen cubes that were brought in during this extended emergency to help Long Islanders were costing $25 each, if you could even get them. It is more efficient to have a full refrigerator, too! As the ice melts, you’ve got cold water for drinking.

— Kathy Saladino Locust Grove



Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative CEO John Lee and Southside Electric Cooperative CEO Jeff Edwards gave Gov. Ralph Northam a tour of the Virginia Power Line Worker Training School at Southside Virginia Community College in Blackstone this spring. Gov. Northam was at the Blackstone facility to see firsthand the benefits of the Workforce Credentialing Grant Program and discuss issues facing rural Virginia, including broadband deployment and workforce development. Also on hand were SVCC officials, including President Dr. Al Roberts. Now in its third year of operation, this 11-week line worker pre-apprentice program provides graduates with Level 1 certification from NCCER (the National Center for Construction Education & Research), as well as a commercial driver’s license, CPR/First Aid certification and OSHA safety training. Shown in the photo above are (from left) Dr. Roberts, Mecklenburg Electric CEO John Lee, Gov. Northam and Southside Electric CEO Jeff Edwards. At the spring class graduation ceremony May 3 (below), Dr. Roberts (left) signed a memorandum of understanding with Richard Johnstone, CEO of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives. This agreement will allow VMDAEC co-op line workers to earn an associate degree at SVCC upon completion of VMDAEC’s four-year apprentice program, with course work requirements that can be completed online. For more information about the Power Line Worker Training School, visit southside.edu/ content/power-line-worker or call SVCC’s Susan Early at (434) 292-3101.