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Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Perennial defender of the unethical and the slipshod: Joe Gibbons. Call him a serial apologist and be done with it!

My pithy comments about my embarrassing
State Representative,
Joe Gibbons, follow the article.

St. Petersburg Times

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/psc-ethics-reforms-sail-through-senate-bog-down-in-house/1077245#
Ethics bill for PSC stalls in House
By Mary Ellen Klas and Steve Bousquet,
Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

TALLAHASSEE — A bill aimed at tightening the ethics rules at the Public Service Commission flew through the Florida Senate Wednesday and then became snagged by a House committee, which raised red flags about some parts of the measure.

With no debate, the Senate passed the bill aimed at ending improper communications between commissioners or senior staff members and the utilities the agency regulates.

The vote was 39-1 with Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, the lone no vote.

Senate President Jeff Atwater applauded the measure's sponsor, Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, for championing the issue. The Senate made the issue a top priority by approving the bill on the second day of session.

The bill would ban private conversations between commissioners or their staff aides and anyone with a pending rate case. Last year, PSC staff members and commissioners communicated through text and BlackBerry messages with Florida Power & Light representatives as they were awaiting PSC rulings on several issues. A PSC lobbyist also attended a Kentucky Derby party last May hosted by a Florida Power & Light executive.

Fasano called the episodes "egregious violations of the public trust."

The measure doesn't prohibit all communication between commissioners and staffers with utility officials. Instead, it requires that any conversations that take place must be written down and posted within 72 hours.

The bill also requires commissioners to apply the same ethical standards as judges when ruling on a rate case, and it would ban senior staffers and commissioners from leaving the agency and going to work for a utility company within four years.

Minutes after the Senate vote, the House Energy and Utilities Policy Committee debated but did not vote on the companion bill by Rep. John Legg, R-New Port Richey, as well as two other PSC-related bills.

Several House Democrats led the opposition to the four-year employment ban in Legg's bill. The ban would not affect current PSC members or staffers but would apply only to anyone hired after July 1.

"We're going to run people out of the industry or run people out of state," said Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach. "By making it four years, we make the industry less attractive."

Legg argued that when commissioners or key staff members cross over and work for utilities they once regulated, it smacks of "consumer exploitation."

Another PSC-related bill by Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Dunedin, would ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment to make commission seats elected positions rather than appointed. State law now requires a nominating council to recommend candidates to the governor, who selects from that list to choose appointees to the five-member commission.

The measure would also ban candidates from accepting campaign contributions from regulated utilities. Florida had an elected PSC until the 1970s.

Also Wednesday, the rate case was back in the news as the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee overruled the PSC's order to force FPL and Progress Energy of St. Petersburg to disclose employee salary and benefits packages as part of their rate case requests. FPL's rate case ended with the company getting $75 million of the $1.3 billion it requested. Progress got none of its $500 million increase.


See also, Sansom wants Rep. Joe Gibbons off panel, from
The Buzz politics blog of Feb. 15, 2010
http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2010/02/sansom-wants-rep-joe-gibbons-off-panel.html


Way to bring attention to yourself,
Gibbons!
Another sad and pathetic example of the Hallandale Beach ethical taint,

writ large
, as yet another Akerman Senterfitt consultant shows his
version
of thinking 'big picture' -creating jobs for pals, cronies and
prospective clients
.

For me, this recalls so many exasperating Hallandale Beach City
Commission
meetings I've attended in the past where, rather than
do what was right,
Gibbons continually tried everyone's patience
and credulity by trying to
simultaneously appear both publicly
above-the-fray, yet also a savvy insider
and wheeler-dealer,
the latter role of which he was eminently laughable in.


(Not unlike present-day HB Commissioner
Anthony A. Sanders'
recent attempts to
appear savvy and demanding with the Westin
Diplomat Resort & Spa
over their preposterous LAC proposal
rubber-stamped and wink-winked by the HB City Commission.
)

In
Gibbons' particular case, his two-faced strategy was never more
obvious
or absurd than in his long-winded attempts at HB City
Commission meetings
to gain concessions or some small handfuls
of sugar from
Magna Entertainment's Gulfstream Park
Race Track & Casino
.

Instead, all
Gibbons accomplished was looking like a two-faced
pol who
argues not over matters of principle, but rather over price
-
Where's something for me and mine?

Honestly, why do ethical issues continue to be such a serial problem
for my
State Representative, Joe Gibbons?

Per my blog post here on Saturday, February 27th,
Missing voices in Broward County's ethics debate are ignored
by South Florida news media. It's our old media friend:
Mr. Lack of Curiosity!

http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/missing-voices-in-broward-countys.html

discussing last month's very important Broward Legislative Delegation
meeting at the downtown Fort Lauderdale campus of FAU/BCC
on Las Olas
to discuss State Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff's common sense
ethics proposal
for an IG for Broward County, Gibbons, just like
State Sen.
Chris Smith and State Rep. Perry Thurston III,
were no
Profiles in Courage, though Gibbons at least voted for it
in the end, unlike the other two, though doing
himself no favors with
his comments or attitude.


Plus,
Gibbons has always been perceived as an apologist for
Hallandale
Beach mayor Joy Cooper and city manager
Mike Good
serial incompetence and has consistently looked
the other way
when unethical and anti-democratic things
happened either right in front of him, or in his district,
as continues to this
very day.

Seriously, when was the last time
Gibbons publicly spoke-out
against what
everyone paying serious attention knows has been
taking place at Hallandale
Beach City Hall for years?

The answer is that
Joe Gibbons NEVER has.
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/sections/representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4400&SessionId=64


Whether coming or going, as a Hallandale Beach City Commissioner
or State Representative,
Joe Gibbons has never ever been a
Profile in Courage.

He is imminently replaceable in the State Legislature, even if he doesn't
quite
have the good sense to realize it.
Fine -all the better.


If
a candidate with integrity and smarts ran directly at Joe Gibbons
and his dismal track record, I'd vote for them in a heart-beat and
so would most of the well-informed people I know and respect in
Southeast Broward County.
Just saying...

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura.

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road for others to solve in the future.

I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change in public policy and goivernment engagement. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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