Thursday, February 03, 2011

For FPL Bigwig Jeff Bartel, corporate responsibility is whatever he wants ... by gimleteye

There is nothing more appalling in public life than the way electric utilities force ratepayers to pay for megaprojects costing billions, like new nuclear power at Turkey Point, that put the hammer on local government in ways that distort democracy beyond recognition. Care about wetlands protection, water quality, water supply in South Florida? FPL makes it up, on the spot.

Here is a specific demonstration how FPL executives act like royalty. Last week, FPL Vice President for Compliance and Corporate Responsibility Jeff Bartel strong-armed local city commissioners in Coral Gables to approve, on appeal, a variance for his home in Hammock Lakes. The affluent area has site-specific zoning, but Mr. Compliance got his variance from compliance and approval to double square footage. Most people never have a chance at any variance in the Gables. For me, I'd just like to walk my dog off leash once and a while.

So how did Bartel demonstrate his "responsibility"? He did it by putting five well-known attorneys/lobbyists in the front row at the city commission, facing two city commissioners who are up for re-election, including Greenberg Traurig's black hat land use lobbyist, Lucia Dougherty. Compliance is not in the eye of the beholder: it is in the eye of owner of the beholder. The oligarchy is alive and well in Florida.

19 comments:

Me at Gablesbythesea said...

I heard that Tucker Gibbs was there. Tucker why would you take this case? I thought you were a good guy. Lawyers make me ill.

Anonymous said...

Look. It is hard making a living these days. We use the tools we are given.

Geniusofdespair said...

Gimleteye, I think we should take a closer look at the candidates in these races in Coral Gables...What do you think? People in Coral Gables, what is your take on those running?

Anonymous said...

The little guys can't get variances, but just throw at money at it and poof, its magic. And don't get me started on the attorneys. Wasn't Tucker once friend of the neighbors? Guess not. You need to see who voted for this and hold them accountable.

Geniusofdespair said...

Bartel gave to two County Commissioners I checked:

Dorrin Rolle 2010
Natacha Seijas 2008

He was called a 'corporate exec.' on his $500 donation to Rolle.

Anonymous said...

So does anyone know which Gables Commissioners voted for this and maybe check their election reports for contributions?

Anonymous said...

I think Jeff recently left FPL.. Just FYI

Anonymous said...

I built my house 5 yes ago in that neighbors and tried to get more than 15 0/0 lot coverage. I'm calling my neighbors! Hammock Lakes too

Anonymous said...

Thanks Hammock Lakes Too for the 411 on this. For us regular folks who don't have the mega bucks, does this variance devalue our properties? Like you, I only have 15% lot coverage, so it is going to be harder to sell my home in this tough economy? Thanks for nothing Jeff Bartel and Coral Gables Commission!

Anonymous said...

And why shouldn't FPL charge us till they strangle us? I haven't seen one single Miamian propose anything. Anyone, in this town, can do anything because this population of imbeciles won't move a finger, and when they do, they move it in the wrong direction! It's downright repulsive!

Anonymous said...

Kerdyk, Slesnick and Withers voted for it. I thought Slesnick wanted to protect neighborhoods??? Where was the hardship? He hardly even met one Mr. Slesnick.

While I am at it, in the mayors race the selection is awful.

Anonymous said...

Bartell just resigned to focus on his wife'sgrowing family business...he also refused to move to stuart as the big wigs demande.
More importantly, Jeff was not comfortable in some of the things he was being asked to do for the firm. He is not a bad person, but he was a faithful employee.

Anonymous said...

"He is not a bad person, but he was a faithful employee" -- that is not the issue here...Big bucks, a variance that no in their right mind would grant, 5 top gun attorneys, do I need to go on, or do you get the picture? The request was obscene and the granting of it was even even worse. What message does that send to us little guys?

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's a smoking gun here. I met Bartel four years ago when he spoke at the Chamber of Commerce. He was great, appeared decent, and honest as the day is long. He's got a sterling reputation in town. I just called the City and they told me they granted the same variance four years ago but staff denied it this time, so he appealed to the Commission and took no chances by hiring the best because he was ready to take the city to court. At least that's what they said in Building & Zoning. That's his right, isn't it? BTW, someone blogged he announced last month he was leaving FPL to work with his wife in her business. Folks, I want to pick on someone else.

Anonymous said...

The Gables voters are all watching the commissioners' votes on the massive charter school that is being proposed. The Charter School people are throwing big bucks and intimidation around so stay tuned.

Coral Gables employee said...

I work at the City of Coral Gables. Bartel got screwed by city staff so he did what any of us would do for the most personal of things, our home. He hired the best attorneys to represent him. Is the blogger here upset he had the means and ability to hire attorneys, or is the blogger resentful and upset he won? Down at the city we cheered him on for actually having the courage to take on city staff and win on the merits before the city commission. We'd never seen him down here at City hall before so he's not a city insider. We saw him as a resident who exercised his right to appeal. I hear he was ready to go to court to fight this if he lost. Do we have the same skepticism about the impartiality of judges as some of us do with politicians? Enough with the conspiracy theories and cynicism.

Anonymous said...

So money can buy you what the little guys can't get -- I'm a resident too and I live in the area and would not get the variance because I don't have the means to get 5 attorneys...a little overkill don't you think?

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous poster above who "says" he lives in the neighborhood, you're lying...because the applicant had letters of support from EVERY neighbor who lives in his neighborhood supporting his variance requests, so it wasn't just "money speaks." The will of the residents was clear, and you, who just wrote, are not telling the truth about living in the neighborhood. You're being mean-spirited against Bartel and ALL his neighbors now. Let's give it up We at the city did. Bartel was right.

Anonymous said...

I don’t know who YOU are, but I am most definitely a resident of Hammock Lakes. I was NEVER notified of this hearing. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for over 15 years. In 1995, I was contacted by the City of Coral Gables, encouraging us to be annexed into Coral Gables instead of Pinecrest. In hindsight, WHAT A MISTAKE! A group of us, went to the Coral Gables Planning and Zoning Board when Slesnick was a member (you can confirm this). We asked if our County “estate zoning” would be enforced and were told unequivocally, YES! (You can also confirm this in the record.) Only then were the majority swayed enough to vote us into CG, many of my neighbors have since regretted that vote. The Coral Gables Commission needs to be held accountable for granting a variance to our long-established estate zoning with illogical reasoning. This variance affects us ALL!