Howle, Moss, Sykes, move power sale through without review

Provision for partial sale is the real Trojan Horse


Moss – Team FPL
Howle – Team FPL
Sykes – Team FPL

Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss claims proposed revisions to the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan contain a “Trojan Horse.” Moss’ assertion is so delusional it raises questions about her fitness for office. Ironically, if there is a Trojan Horse endangering Vero Beach, it is a provision in a contract Moss and her fellow Florida Power and Light quislings, Harry Howle and Lange Sykes, are rushing to sign before the Nov. 7 election.

Imbedded in the several hundred page contract, which just arrived at City Hall yesterday, is a provision that will require Vero Beach to sell the Indian River Shores portion of its electric system to FPL, in the event a sale of the full system proves impossible. Several members of the Finance Commission have spoken out publicly against tying the full sale and a partial sale together in one contract, and the Finance Commission as a whole has urged the Council not to agree to a partial sale under the terms currently proposed by FPL.

None of these cautions are of any concern to Howle, Moss and Sykes, all of whom were elected with very little support from Vero Beach residents, but with substantial financial backing from FPL and from Indian River Shores residents. (Currently Howle is running for re-election and is backed by a political action committee that received all of its $50,000 in funds directly from FPL. That PAC is now flooding local media and mail boxes with misleading advertising that greatly overstates the likely savings Vero Beach residents can expect from the sale of their electric system.)

At Tuesday’s Council meeting, the FPL-sponsored Council members, (Howle, Moss and Sykes), again voted to forbid the Finance and Utilities Commissions from meeting to discuss, consider or review the terms of the contract, some pages of which are still dribbling into City Hall as of today.  In response to a request from Councilman Richard Winger for documents related to the sale, City Clerk Tammy Bursick today wrote to Winger, “I talked to Jim (City Manager Jim O’Connor) this morning and he is saying that we might not have all the documents until tomorrow.”

Though the full terms of the contract are not yet known, and have certainly not been aired in public, Moss, Howle and Sykes are set to approve the $185-million deal at a special call meeting of the City Council to be held next Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.


  1. Mark, I do not live in the city and will benefit (supposedly) ) from the sale to FLP. With all the reasons given against a partial sale I am having a very hard time understanding why the one person who is being paid to manage our city, the city manager, has remained silent in his recommendations to the city council to act in the best interests of Vero Beach. It appears to me that he has placed his job against what he is supposed to manage. I guess the old bromide still rings true: Money talks!

  2. It is staggering the way Mayor Moss, Mr. Howle and Mr. Sykes wish to completely ignore the checks and balances necessary to finalize any city contract negotiation. Their motives to deny city funded experts the right to review the proposed electric sale borderlines on criminal. At the very least, unethical. Why do they prefer to work in the shadows instead of acting transparent and forthright with us, the residents of this city? You have to wonder. Can they really be trusted? What are they hiding? As citizens, are we to be left in the dark to simply trust these elected officials to do the right thing? I for one think the sale of the power plant might well be a good thing for the city. But in no way do I support the deceptive practices followed by Moss, Howle and Sykes in their efforts to close the electric sale. I think three members of our city council are only interested in following the orders set down by their special interest backers. Let’s wake up and demand transparency from ALL our council members before we’re led down this slippery slope. Who actually believes it’s best to ignore the wisdom and experience of our city finance and utilities commission by not letting them review the terms of the deal? Moss, Howle and Sykes seem to. These discriminatory, heavy-handed tactics do little more than divide our city.
    As Paul Newman spoke in the movie, Cool Hand Luke; “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

  3. If it were a good thing for the citizens there would be little reason to share the documents. Don’t you agree?

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