Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. 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.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Do you recall me telling you months ago that FL State Rep. Joe Gibbons no longer lived in HB? Bob Norman hammers some more nails in that coffin!

For those of you living outside of Broward County specifically and South Florida in general, the subject of FL State Rep. Joe Gibbons, and specifically, his NOT actually living in the legislative district he has represented in Tallahassee -as it happens, MY district- is an old and familiar story with me and many South Florida civic activists, elected officials and members of the news media.

People whose job and personal interests lead them to follow what goes on down here at the intersection of government, politics and personal ambition, very, very closely.


My April 18, 2010 post on
Gibbons was to the point and appropriately titled:
In case you'd forgotten what sort of person Joe Gibbons was, here's a quick reminder: Y-O-U are at the bottom of his pyramid 

http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/in-case-youd-forgotten-what-sort-of.html

To quote myself:
You might be interested in knowing that just this year, I have been approached about five times at myriad events throughout Broward, all by different but clearly well-informed people, each specifically asking me variations of the same question: Did I know that Gibbons and his family really live in/near Jacksonville, and NO LONGER live in his FL House District?

I didn't.
Who does he think he is, Steve Geller?


Sometimes that discussion has taken the form of heated personal conversations around South Florida, but more often than not, it has come in the form of fact-filled, link-filled emails about the rights and responsibilities of public officials in South Florida -and the commensurate responsibility of law enforcement organizations and the news media- to NOT treat Gibbons with kid gloves.

To NOT make excuses for him in public that simply don't hold up to even the lightest form of scrutiny.

That opinionated back-and-forth, with few if any defending Gibbons, has actually happened even a handful of times in the immediate month before the election, as yours truly even toyed with the idea of contacting interim Florida Secretary of State Dawn K. Roberts,
http://www.dos.state.fl.us/ and asking that a formal investigation take place, as well as a formal complaint to the Florida Commission on Ethics. http://www.ethics.state.fl.us/

If Gibbons lied on state documents, he needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for each and every violation, and needs to be expelled from the Florida House of Representatives.
PERIOD!

Even in the past week,
Gibbons' name has continued to pop-up in the news, as last week, Gibbons was named as incoming Democratic leader pro tempore, the No. 2 in the Democratic Party leadership ranks.
http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/broward/blog/2010/11/two_broward_democrats_named_to.html

So, that all said, when those very same well-informed people got on their computer today and saw that the topic of Bob Norman's Daily Pulp blog, the most popular and insightful one on current events in South Florida, was the subject of Joe Gibbons and where he lived, they knew they were already better-informed than the majority of the regular readers.


So, how many nights a year does Joe Gibbons actually sleep in his House District?

If his wife and kids live in Jacksonville -
and she does- and his Akerman Senterfitt office is in Tallahassee -and it is- and he's making visits to Milton in Santa Rosa County, so close to Alabama that it's actually on Central Time, where do you think Gibbons REALLY lives? 

THAT certainly explains a lot.
Below is the highlighted Google Alert that I received in August that only shines more light on this issue.

OUR
State Representative should be running for re-election from -wait for it- Jacksonville, NOT from Broward County. It's my understanding that in order for Gibbons to have been an eligible candidate in the first place, he MUST already live in the House district for which he filed his candidacy paperwork.

Not where he used to live, actually
LIVES.

Right now.

The people in this part of the state are entitled to be represented by someone who lives
HERE, NOT Jacksonville.
Where's the formal investigation of whether FL State Rep.
Joe Gibbons legally met the requirements for office when he filed his paperwork?
That's coming, I promise.


And how long has it been since Gibbons actually lived here in Southeast Broward at least as long as so many of the tens of thousands of wintering Canadian snowbirds?



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Google Alerts
Date: Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 9:58 PM
Subject: Google Alert - "Hallandale Beach

Freedom Fund banquet is Saturday
Pensacola News Journal
Joe Gibbons , D-Hallandale Beach , will be the speaker. Attorney Alishia W . McDonald will be the mistress of ceremony. Gibbons, a Harlem native, ..


FYI: The Freedom Forum Banquet was Aug. 14th in Milton; tickets were $40 per person.

-----
BrowardPalmBeach NewTimes
House Pro Tem Investigated For Homestead Fraud
By Bob Norman
Monday, November 15, 2010@ 10:15AM

State Rep. Joe Gibbons, who has been named the No. 2 Democrat in the Florida legislature, was investigated for homestead fraud earlier this year -- and government records indicate he lied to officials during the probe.

The Broward County Property Appraisers Office investigation also found that Gibbons' homestead in Hallandale conflicted with with another controversial homesteaded property in Jacksonville owned by his wife, Florida Board of Governors member Ava L. Parker.
Read the rest of the post at:
http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2010/11/joe_gibbons_investigated_homestead_fraud.php


And, incredibly, just days ago...
Douglas C. Lyons covers the state capitol for the Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Talk Back South Florida blog
Why not Joe Gibbons as chair of Florida Democratic Party?
By Doug Lyons 

November 10, 2010 09:18 AM

He may not appreciate me using his name as a trial balloon, but here goes ...
I believe the Florida Democratic Party needs a shot of new blood. So I'm throwing out a name to replace the current party chair, Karen Thurman, since everyone else is.
My choice would be state Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach.


Read the rest of the post at:

http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/theslant/blog/2010/11/xxxxx_12.html

-----

www.sun-sentinel.com/business/custom/consumer/fl-psc-proposals-20091104,0,2671078.story

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Legislators consider tightening PSC ethics rules Proposal come in light of allegations of "cozy ties" with utilities
By Julie Patel Sun Sentinel

November 5, 2009

Florida legislators Wednesday held the first in a series of hearings on proposals to tighten ethics rules for the Public Service Commission — including legislation to restrict communication between agency staffers and the utilities they regulate.

Critics have pointed to what they say are "cozy" ties between the two groups.

Members of the Florida House Energy & Utilities Policy Committee heard presentations from the commission's director, the state utility consumer advocate and others that touched on proposed changes lawmakers are expected to deliberate when they convene next year.

The proposals come in the wake of criticism of PSC ties with Florida Power & Light Co. officials that emerged during the commission's public hearings on FPL's proposed $1.27 billion base rate hike.

National utility experts say Florida's utility regulation laws are comparable to those in other states but there some gaps. For instance, a Florida law bars commissioners — but not PSC staffers — from communicating with utility employees on pending matters, such as a rate hike proposal.

"That's an absolute must," said Public Counsel J.R. Kelly, the state-appointed advocate for utility customers, about a proposal to extend the rule to include commissioners' advisors, as other states do.

Among the legislative proposals lawmakers are expected to deliberate.

Electing, not appointing, commissioners. Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Dunedin, have written bills that would require PSC members, now appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate, to be elected. Candidates would be prohibited from accepting contributions from utility employees.

Expanding restrictions on PSC, utility communications. Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, has filed a bill to make the rules more like those for judges so all communications between commissioners and utility employees are made public. Fasano is drafting legislation that would adopt all the recommendations from a 1992 grand jury report that examined how to improve the integrity of utility regulation, including adding provisions to Florida's so-called "ex parte" law that bars commissioners from communicating with utility employees on substantive pending matters.

The Sun Sentinel reported that a key PSC official and two staffers who have since resigned attended social functions with FPL employees around the time the utility asked for a base rate hike. Others exchanged phone calls and text messages with utility representatives.

Restricting utility hires of government officials. Fasano is drafting legislation to restrict the hiring of former PSC regulators by utilities. In September, the Sun Sentinel identified 18 former regulators and government officials who have been hired as FPL employees, consultants or lobbyists or work for law firms that were hired by FPL.

Public disclosures. Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, is drafting legislation that would require individuals who provide public comments at PSC hearings to disclose any ties to utilities or vested interests. A Sun Sentinel analysis in September found that more than a third of the customers, politicians and business leaders who praised FPL at three South Florida forums had financial or family ties to the company and its employees.

FPL officials have defended their handling of the rate case, saying they want the proposal to be judged on its merits.

Some regulatory experts also recommended fixing what they say is a disparity between consumers' access to regulators and those of utilities.

For instance, most conferences available to regulators are presented by groups representing utility interests. Commission Director Mary Bane told lawmakers the PSC will explore banning PSC members from attending certain conferences at a Nov. 24 meeting on ethics proposals.

Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach, asked Kelly if the Office of Public Counsel's small budget "gives you what you need to bring [rate cases] to a successful conclusion?"

Kelly said it does and noted that the office plans to spend about $300,000 to fight FPL's request to increase base rate by $1.27 billion. Meanwhile, FPL plans to spend $5 million, including $3.7 million from customers' base rates, utility records show.

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