FPL is turning down the sunshine in Sarasota

It is a sad day in Mudville folks when one of our City Commissioners questions the point of  holding another town hall for the public to explore the remaining options for the city when it comes to alternatives to signing the FPL franchise agreement.  It’s even sadder when the city attorney is instructed to find ways around the Sunshine Law.

It appears that Commissioner Turner, the same man who was the first to lead the quest in finding alternatives to the city’s energy supplier, is now having second thoughts about even going through the process.  After receiving a call from Rae Dowling, representative of FPL, Commissioner Turner is now calling into question Schef Wright, the attorney the city hired to help negotiate the franchise agreement, wondering what influence he has in these negotiations.  “It’s troubling to me.  She (Ms. Dowling) thinks that Mr. Wright is in charge of negotiations for the city.”  And now Mr. Turner is questioning other things that Ms. Dowling took issue with.  Commissioner Turner goes on to say that he is “not very comfortable” with the thought of having another public meeting or a feasibility study on the alternatives.  Commissioner Atwell said that Nick Gladding and Mel Kline asked, “Who’s running the show?” during their meeting.

Yes.  I, too, would like to also know who is running the show?  

It was only less than two months ago that Commissioner Turner was challenging the integrity of FPL and their offer to the city.  He brought up points that most people wouldn’t have the guts to even talk about.  That evening, he was asking the same questions that they people would have been asking if they too had a chance to read the new franchise agreement offered by FPL to the city.  Now it seems that it was all a ruse.  There was no meat on that bone.  There was never any intention of any real follow through other than a small offering to the public.  Now, the same Commissioner is asking the city attorney to see how they can get around the Sunshine Laws and hold a closed workshop for the Commission.

What is going on here??  Is everything that we do a charade? When will the people stand up and not just take notice but actually demand a better government.  “Just wait until November” I am told over and over again.  November?  Really?  Is that when it’s gong to happen.  I’ll be sure to make it down on my calendar.  And if you believe “November” is the date when the message is going to be heard loud and clear…well I’ve got a bridge I want to sell you.  And that bridge is available now.

Why is it that you think change is going to happen each time there is an election??  Every time an opportunity arises we pass on it, thinking that someone else will take care of it for us??  This mantra of CHANGE is really wearing thin on me.  Change will never happen when the majority spends most of their time waiting for someone else to drive the bus.

 “THE GOVERNMENT IS BROKEN” is what I hear all of the time.  Well I have a more honest assessment – CORPORATE AMERICA is KILLING US!  I will say it again.  CORPORATE AMERICA is KILLING US!  And yet we have made the government the evil-doers . We continually give Corporate America a pass because we all find ourselves sitting on the sidelines hoping that the coach will take us off the bench and put us into the game.  So we allow them to be above the law when it comes to crimes against the people.  We scream about injustice when our President doesn’t go and punch someone out over the BP Oil Spill…and yet, where the hell is Haliburton or Transocean in all of this?  Why aren’t they down cleaning the beach???

Just last week two different articles were written about how FPL continually controls the Public Service Commission like the strings on a marionette.  And yet our City Commission is still thinking that they can trust FPL when they are told that negotiations can be done outside of the franchise agreement.  Well, I’m thinking I now have a few more customers for the bridge that I need to unload – and fast!

When are we, the people, going to stop lining up like cattle?  When are we going to stand up to those who are standing in our way to the future that we know is possible for us?  When are we going to say, “We are not going to stand for this anymore!”

Just recently a lobbyist was heard to say FPL will decide who the winners and losers are going to be.  We need the Sunshine now more that ever.  Don’t let FPL run our city like they are running our state.  Write the City Commissioners and let them know that we are tired and we are not going to take it anymore!

I pledge that I will take the 6% that FPL collects from me for the franchise fee and give it directly to the city.

How about you?  Will you take that pledge?

For video on the July 6 commission meeting — Commissioner Comment section 1:44-1:52 of the recording –click here 

3 comments on “FPL is turning down the sunshine in Sarasota

  1. Anonymous

    Commissioner Turner has just one vote, right?Wouldn't it take a majority of the Commission torule out another public hearing on the FranchiseAgreement or have we decided that the one whoshouts the loudest wins? Don't let the destructionist democratic process of Mike Bennet poison thework of the Commission; insist on due process. Bennett's ways destroyed the DCA and PSC; don't let them destroy Sarasota. Send FPL packing. No city needs a Franchise Agreement; Parkland, Florida has not had one for years and they are doing just fine.

  2. Anonymous

    Excellent post Susan! Unfortunately I am a county resident, not a city resident – otherwise I would take the pledge. You are exactly right about who runs this country. It is not big government that is the problem, it's massive corporate influence that buys our democracy. Thanks for speaking up.

  3. Susan Nilon

    Annonymous,I also want to point out that I don't think this issue should just be limited to City residents. This agreement is for the next 30 years, and unless you are certain that you will never live or work within the city limits, you have every right to get involved.

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