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Friday, May 25, 2018
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Steve Otto Columns

Otto: Think happy thoughts when it comes to electric bills, PSC

It was enough to leave a lump in your throat. Listening to the PR guy’s words, it was all I could do not to write a check right off the bat and send it in – in care of Gov. Rick.

You may have seen the story in Mother Trib Monday that the governor is going to have to pick a pair of new members for the Florida Public Service Commission, the people who regulate the state’s big utilities.

Hold on! I can hear you getting excited out there. Sit back down, take a few deep breaths and think about pleasant things. Think about the coming autumn and cool crisp days of fall. Why just today I noticed the mold on the walls outside changing colors.

Anyhow, it was John Tupps, a spokesman for the governor, who put all of our fears to rest when he was asked what qualities the governor was looking for.

He said the governor “appoints people that share his vision of every Floridian being able to find a great job and get a great education while enjoying a low cost of living.’’

See, there, now don’t you feel better? I thought so.

By the way, this week Tampa Electric Co. and Duke Energy have requested higher electric rates for customers, claiming higher costs for coal and natural gas.

Duke, which serves 1.7 million customers in 33 counties, wants a 7 percent hike. This would be the same company that plans to retain millions of dollars in fees for a new nuclear power plant it has abandoned.

In a completely unrelated story in The New York Times, an article claimed Florida is now known as “the corruption capital of America,’’ this from the director of the watchdog group Integrity Florida. The story ran following the arrest of three suburban Miami mayors on corruption charges within the same month.

The story includes a statistic from the Department of Justice that says Florida led the country in convictions of public officials – 781 – between 2000 and 2010.

Hey, at least we caught ‘em.

Checking the mailbag

From the mailbag, this letter commenting on a brochure I received and wrote about Monday.

“Isn’t it strange that those of us living adjacent to Gandy (Blvd.) who would be most affected by this monstrosity (an overhead toll road) did not receive a questionnaire, yet those who don’t and couldn’t care less were? We have vehemently opposed it from day one. It will not solve their problems just as you showed in your column, but it will destroy our neighborhoods and home values AND peace of mind! We’ll fight it to the last breath. Damn those underhanded scum trying for an OK from those people not living in our area! '' — Wynelle Gilbert

Finally, at the end of the day, this from Tom Crowe of Plant City: “I’ve tried to be patient with the current popular use of the phrase ‘at the end of the day,’ hoping the sun will set on it soon, very soon. Sports broadcasters, politicians and political commentators all seem to believe that using that phrase to introduce a ‘duh’ observation somehow elevates that observation. This morning a legal analyst on CNN had this to say about the truly tough subject of assisted suicide. ‘At the end of the day, it’s still illegal.’ My first response ... and yes, I spoke out loud to my TV, was, ‘Really? So it was legal in the morning? Noon? Nearly legal at 3 p.m.?’

(Full disclosure: Like your Frau, I am a recently retired (Hillsborough County) teacher. That may account for my irritability. That and watching a lot of TV lately.)

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