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Group calls on governor to oppose solar tax

Lesley Littlewhite of delivered petitions to Gov. Jan Brewer's office on Friday. (Bob McClay/KTAR Photo)

PHOENIX -- The governor's office had some visitors Friday.

Members of the group delivered over 3,000 petition signatures calling on Gov. Jan Brewer to stop a proposed tax that would add $152 annually to the bill of families who use solar power.

Members of the group say public utilities are afraid that their bottom line is threatened by families who are switching to solar to save money. member Richard Studley of Anthem, Ariz., said the utility companies are being hypocritical.

"The utilities should be helping us," he said. "They have web pages that state they are pro-solar, but they're trying to make it unaffordable for residential users like us to afford it."

Studley said he switched to solar to save money because of his $250-a-month electric bill. He said he's using about $13 dollars a month in electricity but is paying a lot more than that because of fees that are starting to add up.

"My flat fee for the leasing of the solar panels is $150 a month," said Studley. "The other fees are about $10 to $20 on top of that. If they keep adding other stuff, I'm back up to the $200 to $250 range, and then it's not affordable."

Studley said Brewer is siding with the power companies who favor the tax, instead of the people that she was elected to serve.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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