In an email sent to what must surely be a dwindling band of long-suffering devotees, utility activist Steven Faherty today said it is time to get rid of the “same old, same old.”
Though Faherty’s early financial models projecting windfall proceeds of some $170 million to the City from his proposed sale of Vero Electric are now completely discredited, you have to hand it to him for one thing. Faherty does not simply repeat the same old false assertions. He comes up with new ones, almost weekly.
Faherty’s most recent message to his followers was prompted by yesterday’s Florida Public Service Commission decision denying Indian River Shores’ request for the commission to redraw Vero Electric’s long-standing service territory boundaries. Faherty wrote, “This further shows why we (inside and outside ratepayers) need to get action oriented and divesture oriented City Council members elected in November rather than the ‘same old, same old!'”
At this point, it would seem every word of advice Faherty has offered with great confidence about how to sell Vero Electric has come to nothing, at least nothing useful. All Vero Beach has to show for having listened to Faherty and his fellow utility activist, Glenn Heran, are millions of dollars in legal bills and a degree of wide-spread animus the likes of which the community has never before seen.
At least based on the subjects Faherty addresses in his regular email newsletters, it would seem the south barrier island resident is clueless as to what makes the character and quality of this community so special. For example, Faherty has nothing to say about the importance of maintaining exception municipal services in Vero Beach, though surely he himself has occasion to take advantage of those services. To be sure, Faherty avails himself of the opportunity to regularly come before the City Council to offer what ultimately proves to be misguided advice.
Now comes Faherty’s assertion that Vero Electric’s customers outside the City limits should band together to influence the outcome of Vero Beach’s Nov. 8 municipal election. He says what is needed, in the face of yet another legal and regulatory defeat for the Shores, is an “action oriented and divestiture oriented” City Council.
The last Vero Beach City Council majority to merit Flaherty’s praise, (Tracy Carroll, Craig Fletcher and Pilar Turner), drove up electric rates, spent $2 million negotiating a fatally flawed purchase and sale contract with FPL, and tried to cut the City’s General Fund Budget 45 percent over three years. This is not the kind of action likely to protect and improve the quality of life in Vero Beach.
Further, Faherty is without so much as a single useful, practical suggestion regarding what actions a “divestiture oriented” Council could take to move the sale forward. The current Council majority of Jay Kramer, Randy Old and Richard Wingers has, despite opposition from Pilar Turner and Harry Howle, worked to significantly reduce rates from the high points they reached when the the Carroll-Fletcher-Turner troika was failing to mind the store.
Kramer, Old and Winger have done seemingly everything possible to lower rates, while remaining open to selling Vero Electric, should FPL some up with a solution to the so far insurmountable contractual and economic impediments to the sale.
With the election still some six weeks away, Faherty’s call to arms has been sounded with fair warning. What remains to be seen, though, is whether the people of Vero Beach will pay enough attention to local politics to realize their city is under attack.