On Driving Down a Road with No Headlights

I once owned an old pickup truck.  It had loose steering, brakes that didn’t like long downhill runs and headlights that would stay on for about 20 miles and then take a break.  I could never find the source of that problem.  But I loved the truck.  I used it mainly for commuting to my job in Washington, DC from my home in the Virginia suburbs.  Sometimes on weekends I would use it to haul stuff out to a rustic cabin across a couple blue ridges in West Virginia. 

When  you are driving at night on a deserted stretch of hilly, winding two lane road and your headlights suddenly go out, you put on the brakes.  And stop to get your eyes adjusted to whatever light is available.  Instinctively.  Because otherwise it’s really scary. 

My work with the City of Davis on their exploration of forming a community choice agency recently reminded me of my old truck and its quirky headlights.  For a year or so I was part of an advisory team that worked closely with city officials and consultants to help reach a decision on how to move forward.  The resulting decision was to join with one other local jurisdiction and form a joint powers agency.

In some ways our little team of local energy experts was the set of headlights our city needed to move confidently forward .  And it did.  It accelerated to highway speed as our team began to dig in.  And as our city gained confidence that it could trust the advice it was getting on a relatively unfamiliar and therefore somewhat scary subject. 

Several months have gone by.  A new community choice vehicle is now sitting at the point on the road the city got to.  It doesn't yet seem to be moving confidently forward, and I think I know why. 

Headlights help.

-- Gerry Braun

Integrated Resources Network