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.