Friday, April 29, 2016

Mayoral Candidate Raquel Regalado Says: Kill the Beacon Council. By geniusofdespair

The Beacon Council is just costing us funds since Mayor Carlos Gimenez cut the Cojones off of the group. When Frank Nero, the head of Beacon Council, publicly came out against gambling, also against Carlos Gimenez's wishes, he was quickly fired thanks to help from then County Commissioner Lynda Bell. The Agency has since folded into a do-nothing entity afraid of the Mayor and the funds put aside for job creation and incentives for businesses to move to Miami were raided for projects around the county. The Beacon Council doesn't create jobs they just exist and by existing cost us a lot of money. Mayoral Candidate Raquel Regalado is on target on this issue.


Andrew Korge to Senator Flores: Give Back FPL Money. By Geniusofdespair

Flores will be a speaker at the meeting today on FPL's Nuke polluting cooling canals in Homestead.

Her oppenent Andrew Korge said in a letter, Flores should return thousands of dollars in campaign donations to Florida Power & Light.

He said State Senator Anitere Flores has failed to address the contamination of Biscayne Bay from Florida Power & Light’s nuclear plant at Turkey Point.
“Many of your constituents have been sounding the alarm about industrial wastewater from Turkey Point leaking into Biscayne Bay for years,” Korge writes, “But it was only last month, during an election year incidentally, that you took even the slightest action...”
FPL employees and affiliates donated $5,800 to the Flores campaign in 2015 says Korge, in addition to $55,000 to the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee PAC and more than $3 million in recent years to the Florida Republican Party.

Yes, the public will drive to Homestead on a Friday afternoon for a 4PM meeting of the state legislative committees on Turkey Point FPL ... by gimleteye

Florida Senate Committees to Hold Public Workshop Friday to Discuss Threats from FPL’s Polluting Turkey Point Cooling Canal System


The public is encouraged to attend and voice their concerns about the polluting cooling canal:

TODAY
4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Miami Dade College, Homestead Campus
Room F-222
500 College Terrace
Homestead, FL 33030


Directions

Two Florida Senate committees will jointly hold a workshop on Friday, April 29 from 4-8 p.m. at the Homestead campus of Miami-Dade College to discuss Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point cooling canals. Due to an antiquated, problematic cooling canal system, the utility’s aging Turkey Point nuclear reactors are polluting Biscayne National Park and the Biscayne Aquifer upon which three million Miami-Dade residents rely on for drinking water and recreation.

The water-intensive Turkey Point power plant includes two nuclear reactors and is located in Miami-Dade County near Homestead, Florida. The facility is one of Florida’s biggest water users and discharges up to 3 million pounds of salt and other contaminants directly into the Biscayne Aquifer each day. Additionally, at least 60 million gallons of water evaporates each day, water sorely needed for Everglades Restoration and sea-level rise mitigation efforts.

FPL has been under scrutiny from a variety of municipalities and elected officials as well as diverse community interests including the national parks, local environmental organizations and businesses – all demanding immediate action to force FPL to stop this contamination and implement measures to fix these serious problems.

The Senate Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities committee, meeting jointly with the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee will hear presentations from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources, Miami-Dade County (DERM), the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and others and discuss the cooling canal concerns.

The public can speak at the meeting by attending in-person.

About Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that work to address the impacts of global climate change and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org.

The Immoral Majority and a Wrecked GOP: Underage Children, Hookers, and the Otherwise Unfaithful ... by gimleteye

Dennis Hastert, the former Speaker of the House and second in line to the presidency is going to prison for fondling, jerking off, and sucking cocks of underage boys. This needs to be spelled out because what follows is an adult observation of American politics during an era when the Moral Majority harangued and pushed the American electorate far to the right.

No less an authority than Hastert's successor, Texas Republican and former pesticide salesman Tom DeLay, whined that Hastert has been made to suffer "too much" for his crime. Nothing, of course, about one of Hastert's victims who committed suicide or others whose shame at Hastert's hands is indelible.

Hastert rose to his formerly high position when, in 1998, another former GOP speaker of the house Newt Gingrich abandoned his wife dying of cancer for another woman. The official chosen to succeed Gingrich had to drop from contention because he, too, was found out while Republicans coalesced around Ralph Reed and the Moral Majority.

This is not just about Dennis Hastert being "found out".

The Republican mantra of personal responsibility led to framing of federal authority as "evil". The states' rights movement dovetailed with GOP philanderers and child molesters in public office. Don't "tread on me": do tread on women, children, and the weak.

To be sure, frailty is part of the human condition. Hypocrisy is, on the other hand, a matter of choice. To wear morality on its sleeve like GOP leaders have done since Ronald Reagan is hypocrisy bleeding far outside its borders.

Annette Taddeo Opens her Campaign Headquarters May 1st.. By Geniusofdespair


Thursday, April 28, 2016

FPL executives feel the pressure rising and try to "manipulate the flow" ... by gimleteye

It was a "feel-good" day at Florida International University for FPL and that is pretty much how the Miami Herald reported it. The kind of day that feels like a very big corporation trying to curry favor with the public after its image has been tarnished by problems at FPL Turkey Point that could quickly become the largest single water crisis in Florida.

The Miami Herald, in its report (below) slid past at least one point that deserves explanation: "An additional $660,000 five-year grant will provide 21 engineering students with a chance to study fluctuations caused by cloud cover or seasonal variations and design smart technology to manipulate the flow." Question: manipulate which flow?

If the massive problem in the cooling canals at Turkey Point demonstrate anything, it is along the lines of hubris. Back in the early 1970's, there was lots of civic skepticism -- by the very same conservation groups hammering away at FPL's dismal record, today -- that the untried, untested cooling canals would not work. Today, and over the past thirty years, the history is clear: FPL kept away from the public data and information about its growing problem.

The corporation was so confident of its ability to "manipulate the flow" of information and outcomes, suppressed data collection related to its pollution, and repeatedly pushed away and finally broke the back of state regulators who were charged to protect the public interest.

Today the corporation is facing multi-billion dollar costs to fix the broken cooling canal system that is putting the whole of the Florida Keys and much of the aquifer in south Miami-Dade at risk.

It is no surprise that the corporation's message machinery is working double-shifts to paint a rosy picture for the public and mask how poorly its "manipulation of flow" worked in the past. As a side note, the cooling canals at Turkey Point work on the principle that "dilution is the solution to pollution". That principle applies equally to criminal laws against polluters.

Another question: FPL's "$4.7 million dollar solar array" is over a parking lot. Good idea. We've asked the question before (most recently, right here!) why won't FPL allow other businesses to erect and to own solar arrays like this on the top of rooftop warehouses in the Miami Airport industrial neighborhoods? They could either buy or lease the technology from FPL and sell the excess electricity produced, back into the FPL grid. (read our archive on FPL, for more on this.)

This freedom to choose whether or not or how to participate in the solar revolution is exactly what FPL and the state's other utilities are determined to stop. FPL wants to control every aspect of energy distribution, as it does in South Florida today. We are supposed to be thankful, FPL suggests, because we have some of the lowest electric rates in the nation. But at what cost? the sceptic asks looking at Turkey Point's severe pollution trouble.

FPL's top executive, Eric Silagy, told the Herald, "... FPL supports solar, as long as it’s good for customers — and cost and reliability remain issues. Expensive rooftop panels, which gives credit to customers for the electricity they don’t use, forces poorer customers to subsidize wealthier ones who can afford systems that run more than $30,000, he said. This year, a rebate program that paid $30 million to just 1,700 residential and commercial customers ended because it failed to spur enough new solar use."

What Silagy didn't say: the solar program in Florida failed to provide clear incentives for adoption by business and consumers because the state's utilities manipulated the flow against the benefits to the public.

If there is one thing FPL does better than produce electricity, it is being disingenuous.

April 27, 2016

Is it a lab or a parking lot? FPL, FIU partner on new solar project

Highlights:
FPL’s new solar array at FIU to serve as research lab for engineers
Panels to produce 1.4 megwatts of solar power
Research will look at how to feed solar energy into the grid

FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy, adds his signature to a display solar
panel during an unveiling of a new solar array at the FIU college of engineering.

By Jenny Staletovich - jstaletovich@miamiherald.com

Engineering students at Florida International University are getting a two-fer with Florida Power & Light’s new 1.4-megawatt solar array at the university’s Sweetwater campus: covered parking and a lab.

Homestead and Wayne Rosen Update: Hudstead's Keys Gate Can't Catch a Break. By Geniusofdespair

Multiple neighbors are complaining on line about their houses shaking and cracks in their foundation. One woman replaced all the tile in her home....

Some of the copy that is with  Keys Gate petition:
Florida City Commission gives final approval to a rock quarry’s expansion despite earlier protests by homeowners, regulatory agencies and the superintendent of Biscayne National Park against Atlantic Civil. (Posted on Sun, Mar. 30, 2008).

Atlantic Civil will develop a rock-mining quarry on 589 acres of land that is so far projected to be located south of Southwest 360th Street and east of Southwest 167th Avenue. Some 72 acres are already being mined.

City leaders said the economic benefit of the quarry outweighed concerns raised last fall by homeowners as well as environmental and park officials.
Amanda Garner (a Homestead Council member at that time) appeared at the Florida City Commission meeting to express her constituent’s concerns about blasting damaging their homes. ''I can't tell you how many times I've been contacted by residents who've had damage to their homes -- foundation cracks, brand new homes with cracked tiles,'' said Garner, who's no longer on the council. ``People can feel it in their homes when it happens.''
~~~~~~~~~~
Meanwhile here  is an update on, in my opinion, a Self-Centered Man always on the move to make more money at the expense of...well anyone but him. God forbid that he should help the middle class people who live in the community that he built, people who love their homes despite their dwindling property values because of his failed golf course:

 Wayne Rosen Update on Keys Gate - in the Miami Herald:

You have to understand that you can’t ask me to build a golf course without having those single-family homes to to help pay for it. It’s called cash flow. - Wayne Rosen

“Why is the developer dictating to the city what should be built? A city and its residents should be dictating that, not the developer. The developer should conform to what the citizens and the city thinks are the best uses for those lands.” - Councilman Jon Burgess

Will Homestead get its golf course? Developer: only if city passes my request

With some misgivings and a promise to review at least part of the issues before taking a final vote, the Homestead City Council tentatively approved a zoning application by Wayne Rosen that would allow give him more flexibility than other developers to build what he wants in an area designated for mixed use — a combination of retail, single-family homes and condos.

Rosen told the Miami Herald he plans to build 91 single-family homes and that in return, he would pay to renovate the rundown Keys Gate Golf and Country Club, although the golf course is nowhere mentioned in his application. Golf course renovations weren’t part of the conversation Wednesday.

But passage on May 18 is not assured. Some council members are not comfortable with proposed changes to the existing mixed-use zoning code on Rosen’s 20 acres, and say they want to revisit the issue before the final vote.

“I think we’re giving up too much with this ‘mixed-use’ dialogue,” said Mayor Jeff Porter, who voted in favor. “If we don’t have some sort of concession, some sort of clarification, it’s going to be the biggest sticking point. I’m giving it a chance to live, knowing that there’s still a chance for it to die in second reading.”
 When I think of Keys Gate I always have Watergate in the back of my mind.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 29th Cooling Canal Meeting: State Putting the Screws on FPL (Election Year). By Geniusodespair

I know it is a royal pain in the ass to show up on a Friday night, in Homestead of all places, but the State Committee is coming to us so we have a duty not to let them see we are actually a bunch of lazy citizens. Buck up and show up because the Tallahassee Senate Committee will be in Hudstead. You don't want all the FPL citizen plants (FPL always digs a bunch of them up in Hudstead - I once saw a pregnant woman testify on how great the nuke plant is) to do all the commenting do you?



 If they see a big crowd they will worry about Anitere Flores seat (with redistricting she has to contend with pesky green people) and perhaps do some of what was reported in the Miami Herald today in a front page article:


In a notice to FPL officials Monday, the Department of Environmental Protection gave the utility 21 days to provide any information about how the 40-year-old canals have seeped into the Biscayne aquifer over the years and enter negotiations to come up with a clean-up plan. If the two sides fail to agree, the agency may come up with its own measures in 60 days, the notice said.

DEP Water Resource Management Director Frederick Aschauer also warned FPL that a new problem — in March Miami-Dade County detected canal water in Biscayne Bay — may be violating other state laws, for which the utility may be liable for damages.
This is the largest cooling canal system in the world. Note the size of the plant next to the canals.

The one thing that makes me happy: The Tallahassee Senate Committee will probably be stuck in Homestead for dinner and lodging. The bad thing: They will be very cranky by the time Citizen Comments come up. Can you imagine 200 people commenting. They might urge you to submit your comments in writing for the record (like any of those will be read). Those comments will be left on a dusty shelf never to be seen again.

On the application of taxation and the Everglades: priorities ... by gimleteye

On the Everglades, you can listen to the arguments and the public relations from the South Florida Water Management or its primary corporate supporter, Big Sugar, but understand one fact that is indisputable: taxpayers are on the hook.

Some good portion of those taxpayers are voters. And voters matter. No matter how carefully special interests line up the pins in the bowling alley, stacking them so even an idiot could get a strike, at the end of the day it's the voters who bowl.

All the maneuvering of highly paid lobbyists and lawyers and the dance of politicians point to shifting as many costs to taxpayers as possible and away from the Big Ag industries that make money the old fashioned way: stealing it. Only it's not called "stealing".

It is more like having your pocket picked and afterwards the pickpocket hands your wallet back saying, look what I found: you owe me a reward. In the case of Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam, the reward is being elected governor when Rick Scott is gone. In the case of the pickpocket, it's about being allowed to continue without interference by either law enforcement or the fleeced. And what about the people whose pockets are being picked?

A lot of Republican taxpayers -- who also vote -- are riled up by the horrendous pollution coursing out of Lake Okeechobee that is damaging natural resources and recreational opportunities on both coasts. Instead of dealing with the heart of the problem -- buying enough land south of Lake Okeechobee to clean the pollution before fresh water heads south -- the politicians are volunteering: everything that can be done is being done to protect a badly damaged water system. (Go down to the riverbank and see for yourself how well that is working out.)

The best way to explain what is going on is to start by thinking of the water system as a malfunctioning, broken car radiator.

The radiator is comprised of channels. No amount of water you pour into the radiator is going to hold if there are holes in the channels. Run the car that way, pretty soon the engine is gone. That engine? It's our economy, our jobs, our natural resources and in the case of our home values, our net worth.

That's how to think of the Everglades when you fly into one of the regional airports: a wet broken radiator.

Putting fluid into the radiator -- think of Lake Okeechobee as a vast reservoir -- requires a funnel. In the case of Everglades restoration, the funnel also has holes and it won't hold water either.

So the radiator doesn't hold water and the funnel doesn't that supplies water to the radiator. This dysfunction serves a single purpose: protecting Big Sugar south of Lake Okeechobee. All your tax dollars to save the Everglades really are going to saving this: very large piles of sugar that would never exist but for US farm policy that holds the growing of sugar cane to be the most brazen form of corporate welfare in the United States.

Sugar, a highly addictive toxin, in Clewiston
So if you are a taxpayer, which do you fix first? The radiator or the funnel feeding the coils. Both have holes in them.

That is the question that is being walked around the legislature and "business" groups like a prize heifer at the county fair. "Looky here, we got ourselves a real winner: fix the funnel first." That is what is happening right now, with a disinformation campaign being waged by Big Sugar.

Now there's no question that stopping up the holes in the funnel is important. Think, septic tanks and dairy farm runoff north of Lake O. Big Sugar is blaming all the woes: it's not us! "Six times the flow goes into the Lake than out, when it pours." Sounds simple! Not.

So let's look at Big Sugar's scenario the way the politicians want to play it out. Ten or twenty years from now, you fixed the funnel. Hooray. But water is still leaking out of the radiator.

It makes sense to fix the car radiator, first, or, do both concurrently.

Fix the Okeechobee watershed, you could get better quality water running into the Big Lake, but it won't do anything to stop the massive discharges out of Lake Okeechobee when the water gets too high. Fix the storage capacity south of the lake, and eventually stop the estuaries and rivers from being destroyed.

Buy Big Sugar lands, send clean, fresh water south. This isn't an academic question: the filth coming out of Lake Okeechobee holds toxins even more dangerous than sugar. Here is what happened to one of our readers in Jupiter, just from contact with water.

And here is what happened to another.

If your legislators won't support buying Big Sugar lands today, find a new set who will next November at the polls.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Who can change FPL's corporate behavior at Turkey Point? ... by gimleteye

FPL and its corporate parent, NextEra Energy Inc., want to get away as far as possible from protesters it has stirred up in South Florida with its heavy-handed corporate behavior. The $20 billion company decided to take its annual meeting to Oklahoma whose own U.S. Senator James Inhofe has called climate change "the biggest hoax in history".

At the May 19th meeting, executives will entertain certain shareholder proposals like the one I filed on sea level rise:

NEE Shareholder Memorandum


AT a time when the science and evidence of sea level rise is piling up, corporate America is unwilling to fundamentally change its orientation and outlook. Two pressure points -- financing and insurance -- still are mostly talking points. There is just too much money being made by maintaining and defending the status quo. In Florida that status quo includes the Rick Scott administration and the Florida Cabinet especially Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam.

Late last year, Scott deferred to Putnam who lead the Cabinet vote approving the siting of two new nuclear reactors by FPL at Turkey Point. When a state appeals court overturned the decision last week, Gov. Scott and Putnam scoffed.

Voters will have a chance to turn Scott and Putnam, Bondi and the rest from office, starting with state legislative races in November. That would be a beautiful morning. With FPL, the path is not so clear.


Silicon Valley is My Favorite Show on TV. By Geniusofdespair



The hapless computer nerds on Silicon Valley make me laugh more than any other show. I especially like the forever feuding Software and Hardware specialists (see 9:30 on video). The third season of this HBO series is just beginning (Sunday at 10pm). You can catch up with binge watching but note it is x rated.

This is a link to a Compilation video of funny moments.  I especially like the 4:50 sequence.

TV Critic Hank Stuever said:
Mike Judge’s “Silicon Valley” (premiering Sunday night on HBO) is a blunt, delicious example of how to have it both ways, being hilarious while offering a fair indictment of an entire culture. It’s a precise, sharply executed sendup of the high-tech, billionaire-making culture and economy of Facebook/Google/Apple/Amazon/Yahoo that has infiltrated (“disrupted,” as they say) contemporary life. Better still, “Silicon Valley” is also here to make you laugh.