Gainesville At-Large District 1: Nathan Skop: Restore trust

Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 2:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 2:20 p.m.

This election is about change. Change requires restoring the public trust and confidence in local government and bringing representative government back to the citizens of Gainesville.

Like many other citizens in Gainesville, I am tired of the wasteful spending, the lack of accountability and the lack of transparency from our elected officials, who blatantly disregard the citizens that they were elected to represent.

Hearing the resounding "Call for Change" from members of our community, I have decided to build upon my proven record of public service to the citizens of the state of Florida by running for Gainesville City Commission At-Large District 1.

As your next city commissioner I will bring the following core values back to City Hall:

Openness of local government

Responsiveness of local government

Accountability of local government

My priorities include:

Managing GRU to minimize your utility rate increases

Fiscal responsibility/open government

Public safety

Economic investment

Koppers remediation and environmental issues

The biomass contract is a textbook example of what is wrong at City Hall. Negotiated in secret to the detriment of GRU ratepayers, the biomass contract is a $3.1 billion financial disaster of the City Commission's own making. The commission failed to protect GRU ratepayers by ensuring that the "termination for convenience" clause, required by an affirmative vote of the City Commission, was omitted from the final contract.

This is important because none of the assumptions that the City Commission and GRU presented to the public regarding this project have come true. Not a single one. Such a clause would have protected GRU ratepayers by allowing the city to terminate this fiscally irresponsible $3.1 billion contract for less than 1 percent of the contract value through June 2011. As a result of this malfeasance and breech of fiduciary duty, our electric rates will skyrocket unless immediate action is taken to reconsider this project.

The wasteful spending practices, failed policies and lack of transparency from the Gainesville City Commission represent the failed leadership down at City Hall. The majority of our elected officials have consistently demonstrated that they are completely out of touch with the mainstream views of Gainesville citizens, and ill-equipped to spend taxpayer money in a fiscally responsible manner.

But for the mayor's questionable hiring of an unnecessary research assistant (his former campaign manager) at $45,000 a year, an additional uniformed police officer could now be patrolling the streets of Gainesville, enhancing public safety. The use of taxpayer money must be prioritized and allocated in a manner to maximize the value to the citizens of Gainesville.

As your Florida Public Service Commissioner, every major newspaper endorsed my service to the people of the state of Florida. With your vote we can bring representative government back to the citizens of Gainesville. I would be honored and privileged to serve the citizens of Gainesville as your next Gainesville City Commissioner. Please visit my website at

Vote Skop on Jan. 31.

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