Moss stirs unsettling memories of the Carroll days

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Backed by Indian Rivers Shores interests and FPL, Laura Moss, in her third try for elective office, is seeking a seat on the Vero Beach City Council.
Backed by Indian Rivers Shores interests and FPL, Laura Moss, in her third try for elective office, is seeking a seat on the Vero Beach City Council.

For many, memories are still fresh of the days when then Vero Beach City Councilwoman Tracy Carroll took advantage of her position at the dais to champion friends, rail against opponents, and castigate those who would dare challenge or question her.

Those hoping never to again witness the constant confrontation and abuse of authority that characterized the reign of Carroll should hope wealthy Shores interest and Florida Power & Light are unsuccessful in securing for Laura Moss a seat on the Vero Beach City Council.

If Carroll seemed heavy-handed and self-serving, consider the fullness of self Moss has exhibited, especially since her “coronation” as chairwoman of the “Moss Commission,” a citizen advisory group formerly known as the Vero Beach Utilities Commission.

Moss has scheduled meetings, controlled the agenda and run the Commission’s proceedings as if the televised meetings are a soapbox from which she can run her FPL-Shores sponsored bid for a seat on the City Council.

Consider, for example, the most recent meeting of the “Moss Commission,” held at Moss’ insistence at a most inconvenient time for City Staff, all still working to fully restore municipal services following Hurricane Matthew. Opening the meeting on a purely political note, Moss read from a letter to the editor written by Councilman Richard Winger and published by the Press Journal. Unaccustomed to, and clearly uncomfortable with criticism, Moss demanded from Winger an apology.

If Mr. Winger does respond to Moss, I hope he replies with a one-word answer. “Nuts!”

“Nuts,” is a fitting response to Moss’s demand for an apology, partly because her tirade, betraying exceedingly thin skin, was unbecoming of a member of a City commission, much less a City Council candidate, and partly because “nuts” is a way of saying there is no making sense of what Moss says and does.

Often wrong, but seldom in doubt, Moss is impervious to new information. It was she who opposed negotiation of new and significantly more favorable terms to the City’s wholesale power purchase agreement with Orlando Utilities Commission.

Indian River Shores’ appointee to the Utilities Commission joined Moss in her opposition to the revised OUC agreement. With Moss and the Town’s official representative working together, the Shores had two votes for obstructing Vero Beach’s efforts to reduce electric rates. By attempting to block cost cutting measures, they were seeking further justification for the Shores’ legal claim that Vero Electric’s rates are unreasonable.

Fortunately for the customers of Vero Electric, reasonable minds could see the obvious advantages of lower wholesale power prices and an earlier expiration date for the agreement. Indeed, electric rates have already come down as a result of the Council’s rejection of Moss’ advice. Over time, the revised OUC deal is expected to save the customers of Vero Electric a total of some $170 million. Thank goodness Moss did not get her way on that one.

Working behind the scenes, Moss recently emailed the Chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission in an obvious attempt to prejudice the Commissioner against Vero Beach in the matter of the Shores’ petition seeking a revision to Vero Electric’s service territory boundaries. Moss never shared her email to the PSC Chairman with the City Clerk’s Office. Her ill-advised correspondence was only discovered after it was shared by the PSC with Vero Beach’s attorneys. Ultimately, the PSC rejected the Shores’ request, which must have been a great disappointment to Moss.

Come Nov. 8, let’s hope FPL and wealthy Shores interests are unsuccessful in getting Moss elected as their puppet on the Vero Beach City Council, for their intentions are not good. They seek to shaft the people of Vero Beach and the customers of Vero Electric some $17 million; and they are counting on Moss to help them pull off what can only be described as a heist.

One comment

  1. Why would any citizen of Vero vote for Moss, Sykes or Wells who have plainly and openly sworn allegiance to Indian River Shores and their big money backers rather than the residents of the city of Vero? It has been said”,one cannot serve two masters” and in the case of the Moss, Sykes and Wells they made their decision based upon campaign donations over the needs of Vero and it’s residents. Shame on them.

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