Shortly before departing for the frozen north in the wake of winter storm Titan, I read several pronouncements from our political leadership.
State Sen. Charlie Dean announced himself an environmentalist one day. I don’t recall any mention on his part of occasions when he had used his not-inconsiderable influence to save natural resources from someone planning to destroy them to make a fast buck. Perhaps I missed it.
The second day he offered a mild implied criticism of Duke Energy, which, as we all know, continues to collect hundreds of millions but has done nothing but destroy a nuclear plant and blow smoke about others. His comments were muted by the admission that since they had won their case against the tax assessor, perhaps there was nothing we could do.
The next day Sen. Dean said some nice things about the environment. But I didn’t stick around to see what smoke he would blow next.
The leader of the Party of the Plutocracy has begun saying nice things about the environment, discounting automobile registration, and even returning a fraction of what he has taken from public employees.
It reminds me a bit of conditions in my home town in Arkansas, where it was said that you knew when an election was coming because politicians would start showing up in church.
Gov. Rick Scott‘s former company, Columbia/HCA set what was then a record for a Medicare fraud settlement. And, according to Carl Hiaasen, Scott took the Fifth repeatedly during inquiries into his subsequent medical enterprises during the election.
Obviously, those of you who voted for Scott were determined not to have an honest person in as governor, and you were able to avoid that situation.
When Scott took office, his first inspiration of genius was to get rid of Florida’s award-winning and economically successful state park system.
With no support from fellow Republicans, he eventually compromised by privatizing the concession stands. Then he set out to have a fire sale on all the state property not nailed down. And in a down market, as well.
By the same token, the public utilities of this state have been given a license to steal. The legislature in 2006 authorized them to overcharge customers on the pretense of investing in clean energy. To be fair, while it was a bad deal at best, Florida Power seems to have used some of the free money to build a gas powered plant. The customers who were thus forced to invest get no stocks or bonds. But at least Florida Power has added electrical capacity. Progress/Duke has blown smoke about nuclear plants in Levy County, destroyed Crystal River 3, and is now beginning to blow smoke about a gas powered plant. But they are collecting over a billion dollars and actually destroyed capacity.
More recently, much has been made of the flood of lobbyists and political contributions on their way to Tallahassee from the utilities.
One reason given is to make sure the Republicans don’t allow consumer advocates to make the utilities include a line in each monthly bill telling the victims how much has been stolen from them that month. I’m surprised they bothered. Surely the Republican Party doesn’t want its victims to be reminded of the damage they have done to them monthly. And for that reason alone, they should block the truth without extra payments from their corporate employers.
Frankly, as far as I am concerned, any Duke customers who vote Republican deserve what they get. But the rest of us deserve better.