Letters to the Editor for March 14, 2013
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 10:25 p.m.
Plans to re-file bill
Because I was out of town, I missed the opportunity to respond to The Gainesville Sun's request to comment on my municipal utilities bill. I wish to clarify the statements in the article regarding my legislation and Gainesville Regional Utilities.
This bill would have given customers inside and outside the city of Gainesville the ability to vote on how GRU is governed, by choosing to either keep the existing structure, which is currently controlled by the City Commission, or have an independent board similar to the Gainesville Regional Airport board.
I did not file this bill due to lack of a Senate sponsor. As of now, my plans are to re-file the bill next session and secure a Senate sponsor. In the meantime, I look forward to the Chamber of Commerce's study and the final outcome. After review of the committee's report we will then decide if any revisions to the bill should be made.
State Rep. Keith Perry,
Pay their own way
For three years, Gainesville Regional Utilities has surreptitiously built up a $23 million fund to offset the expected biomass fuel adjustment rise. According to an Aug. 12, 2012, story in The Sun, “GRU sent $36.22 million to the city's general operating fund last year. If there had been no GRU transfer this fiscal year, the city would have needed a property tax rate of more than 11 mills — the current rate is 4.25 mills — to make up for the lost revenue.” This is outrageous.
Why should people in outlying areas pay higher electric rates to subsidize Gainesville property owners? I say GRU should return their $23 million gamble to ratepayers and make the people of Gainesville pay their own way, since they are the ones who elected Pegeen Hanrahan and her cohorts who dragged us into this biomass mess. Use whatever is left over to lower the fuel adjustment charge.
No one is safe
Let's get this straight. The Legislature, last year, took 3 percent of state employees' money to pay into the state retirement plan and repealed retirees' 3 percent annual cost of living increase. Now they're proposing to do away with the retirement system altogether.
That's the only thing in Tallahassee that's ever worked like it was supposed to. It's financially sound and rated as one of the best in the country. Why bother it when it's not broken?
Of course they need this money to give to the billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins, to renovate his stadium. They propose giving him $90 million of our tax dollars.
What the Legislature ought to be required to do is pass a three-year budget with no spending increases and go home for three years. No one is safe when they're in Tallahassee.
Time is short
President Obama can block the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, or kowtow to fossil fuel giants, the world's most powerful corporations.
The Keystone XL pipeline would bring to Gulf Coast refineries, highly-toxic bitumen oil extracted from extensive Canadian tar sands.Virtually all climate scientists agree that burning all that tar sands carbon could cause irreversible global overheating plus worse weather extremes. Meanwhile, seas are rising faster as Arctic and Antarctic warming accelerates.
Florida's usual storm surges atop 2- or 4-foot higher seas (far less than maximum predictions) could jeopardize tidal waterfront development where 75 percent of Floridians live and work. Similar catastrophes would be likely worldwide.
We hope our president accepts the immutable physics and chemistry of how Earth's atmosphere controls the planet's temperature, and stops that killer pipeline. Time grows short.
Lee Bidgood Jr.,
As we celebrate Sunshine Week, March 10-16, I'd encourage readers to get involved in their local communities and promote the importance of open government and access to information.
Anyone can play an active role in government and help keep public officials honest, makes government more efficient and act as a check against waste, fraud and abuse of power.
Freedom of information isn't just an issue for the press, it's a cornerstone of our democracy. Join us and help make a difference in the battle against unnecessary government secrecy and waste. You can find out more at SunshineWeek.org.
Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity