Clemons’ GRU bill passes in the House, 81-33

Speaker Pro Tem Chuck Clemons explains his bill in the House | Screen capture from Florida Channel by Alachua Chronicle


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Speaker Pro Tem Chuck Clemons’ local bill to establish a governor-appointed Authority to govern Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) passed with a party-line vote in the House today, 81-33, after five amendments proposed by Rep. Yvonne Hinson were defeated.

In his introduction of the bill, Clemons said the bill maintains local control because all five members must live in GRU’s service territory. He also pointed out that the bill does not allow any salaries for Authority members, the amount of money transferred from the utility to the City’s general fund cannot exceed the utility’s net profit, and the decisions made by the Authority may not be based on any social or political objectives.

Points of order

Rep. Hinson immediately raised two points of order that have been circulated by the bill’s opponents. She said, “All bills, including local bills, must be filed by noon on opening day.” Since the bill was not filed until April 10, she said, “therefore the bill is out of order.”

Rep. Linda Chaney, the Rules Chair, said the House Rule referenced by Hinson “requires that all bills must be approved for filing no later than noon on the first day of the regular session, which was March 7, 2023. HB 1645 was approved for filing at 2:33 p.m. on March 6, 2023. Therefore, I recommend that the point is not well taken.”

Hinson then raised a second point of order, stating that “a committee or subcommittee may not report a local bill favorably if the substance of the local bill may be enacted into law by ordinance of a local governing body without the legal need for a referendum. It is my contention that the City of Gainesville could adopt the changes proposed in this bill without a need for referendum.”

Chaney responded, “HB 1645 amends the charter of the City of Gainesville… Florida statute requires all charter amendments proposed by a governing body of a municipality to be approved at a referendum to take effect… I recommend the point is not well taken.”

Questions about the bill

The hearing then moved on to questions about the bill, and Hinson asked what compelling interest the State has in the utility. Clemons responded that the State has a compelling interest in all the financial aspects of the subdivisions under state government, and “over the last 10 years, Representative Hinson, the governing board has withdrawn $100 million more than the utility net profits; in the last four years, the government of Gainesville has withdrawn $68 million more, and transferred it to the City, than the utility has earned in the net profit level. So the compelling interest is this: the decisions coming out of the City of Gainesville… [are] not in the financial well-being of the Gainesville Regional Utility.”

Hinson asked, “Do you not know that all municipally-owned utilities withdraw money to serve its citizens out of profit?” but that was ruled to not be a question about the bill.

Hinson then asked whether there would be “any oversight whatsoever from the elected representatives of the City of Gainesville to this board,” and Clemons responded that there would not be any oversight from the City Commission.

Hinson asked whether “local residents or their elected leadership” would have any ability to stop the Authority from doubling utility rates. Clemons responded that GRU currently has the highest rates of any municipal utility in the state: “They’re actually 25% higher than the median. And they’re 25% higher than Florida Power & Light. So yes, they would have full authority to raise rates, lower rates, but I am cautiously optimistic that this new board will serve all of the utility users.”

Hinson asked whether debt taken out by the Authority would “be on the residents, on the Authority, on the City?” Clemons responded, “Representative Hinson, I’m so glad that you brought up the debt load. Gainesville Regional Utilities is currently operating at four times the debt of equal types of utilities. In 2000, Gainesville Regional Utilities had $500 million worth of debt. Today, 23 years later, they’ve got almost $2 billion worth of debt.” He said he believed that the Authority “would get a handle on this debt so that we can operate another 111 years into the future with a safe and secure and financially sound local utility.”

Hinson was recognized to ask another question and said, “My final question, Mr. Speaker: all utilities operate under debt. Thank you.”

Rep. Dianne Hart asked whether the Authority could cut the general fund transfer as much as they want: “Could this board decide to take away money? And there will be no way for the community to stop them if they chose to do so?” Clemons responded that the Authority will have the “widest latitude” to determine the amount of the transfer: “We just put a maximum that good business says that you can’t spend more than your operating profit.”

Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell asked about big capital projects: “Would the residents or their elected representatives have any say if the Authority wanted to, let’s say, build a coal plant or a nuclear plant or a biomass plant?” Clemons reiterated that the board will have “full authority to run the utility in a fiscally responsible way.” He said the Authority would be able to “construct, they can deconstruct, they have powers of eminent domain” but added, “What they cannot do, Leader, is they cannot sell the utility because the City Charter prohibits that.”

Rep. Yvonne Hinson reads one of her amendments | Screen capture from Florida Channel by Alachua Chronicle

First Amendment

Hinson then offered her first amendment, saying, “The Authority will not have the power of eminent domain without the express and validated agreement of the owners, the citizens of Gainesville. The Authority will not have a recurring salary, and the amounts that they have for expense must be capped at an agreed-upon amount, and the Authority will have no power to sell, transfer, or gift GRU to another utility without the express and validated permission of their owners, the citizens of Gainesville.”

Rep. Spencer Roach asked how a validation would be obtained, and Hinson responded, “By an election or a survey of its citizens and the service customers in the outside area.” Roach then asked, “I’m assuming you mean a referendum. If that’s the case, who’s responsible for getting that referendum on the ballot?” Hinson responded, “The Supervisor of Elections.” Roach said he didn’t think the Supervisor of Elections has unilateral authority to put a referendum on the ballot: “Is that how it works in your county?” Hinson responded, “We already had a referendum. However, if we wanted them to validate and agree, we would get the City of Gainesville to hold an election.” Roach said he understood what she was saying, but “your amendment’s very vague as to how it would be obtained.” The Speaker cut him off because that wasn’t a question.

Rep. Tyler Sirois asked Hinson for examples of eminent domain related to the utility. Hinson responded, “My only concern about eminent domain is the people outside of the city of Gainesville, in GRU, taking assets of GRU in the city of Gainesville without their express permission. And that is what this is all about, Representative, the taking the property.”

Rep. Angie Nixon asked, “Can you please tell us why you brought forth this great amendment to this bill?” Hinson responded, “Thank you for that great question. There has been a campaign for over a decade for the taking of GRU… There has been bills filed in this legislature twice, this may be the third bill. There have been referendums that didn’t get passed… There have been utility companies approaching the City to try and purchase GRU. And this has been an ongoing hostile takeover for well over a decade. This is not about debt; this is not about race, Representative; this is about a [sic] investor-owned utility wanting to own our municipal utility, and every municipal utility out there that’s listening had better get scared.”

During debate on the amendment, Clemons said that although the amendment was a “very, very, very, very friendly amendment, this is a moot amendment” because all of the elements are already in the bill.

Rep. Mike Giallombardo said, “You’re right, there’s a hostile takeover, and [it’s] cities that are providing utilities to people on the outside of a city, taxation without representation, then moving money from that utility so they can build parks for the residents of that city… That’s why you need to vote down on this amendment and up on this bill.”

Rep. Anna Eskimani said that municipal utilities can fund police and fire services: “And so utilities serve a really important role, not just in keeping my lights on and making sure I’ve got clean water, but you know, it is also ensuring that we have public safety.” She said the people she’s talked to in Gainesville and at UF, including union workers, do not support the bill.

In closing on the amendment, Hinson said, “I hope you understand where I’m coming from. I’m trying to save my city. I’m trying to save my utility, and I hope you will help me.”

The first amendment failed on a voice vote.

Second amendment

In presenting her second amendment, Hinson said she had taken “parts of that amendment you just disapproved and try and fish to see maybe I can get a little help on one or two of these items.” Her second amendment gave the Authority “no power to sell, transfer, or gift GRU to another utility without the express and validated permission of their owners, the citizens of Gainesville–which, by the way, I am a citizen of Gainesville, and no other member of the Alachua delegation is. Not one.”

Rep. Ralph Massullo asked whether her amendment was superfluous since the bill already says the Authority can’t sell the utility. Hinson responded, “There’s nowhere in this bill can I find the language that is being spoken about selling this utility. I need to see it in writing.”

Massullo asked Hinson for her interpretation of line 115 of the bill.

After about a minute of waiting for Hinson to locate line 115, Rep. David Borrero suggested that he could save some time by reading that part of the bill, and the Speaker said that answered Massullo’s question. Borrero then asked if Hinson wanted to withdraw her amendment. Hinson responded, “Thank you for finding it so quickly. I did see that, and the assets of the utility are not the utility itself… We have assets that can be sold, that he’s saying can’t be disposed of, but not the utility itself.” She said that she would like to see “the utility itself” in the language of the bill, and if that happened, “this would be a mute [sic] issue.”

The Speaker then recognized Nixon “to ask about the greatness of Representative Hinson’s amendment.” Nixon asked Hinson whether she was concerned “that this utility company could be sold to FPL for $1,” and Hinson said that Alachua General Hospital had been sold to the University of Florida for $1 by a former independent board.

Rep. Bobby Payne asked whether Hinson thought the board would sell the utility for $1 while trying to “get out from underneath that debt,” but Hinson said she didn’t hear the question: “I’m sorry. I was celebrating.” The Speaker just moved on and called on Massullo, who said, “When you buy or sell anything, you are buying or selling the assets minus the liabilities” and encouraged representatives to vote down the amendment. Clemons added that the amendment “does nothing to the bill that I see.” Nixon said, “If it’s already in the bill, we should just go ahead and accept this amendment.”

The second amendment failed on a voice vote.

Third amendment

Hinson’s third amendment proposed that the Authority be comprised of members “duly elected by customers living in the service area. This election will be conducted by the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections.”

Borrero asked whether that would “delay management by another 18 months,” but the Speaker said that wasn’t a question.

Nixon asked, “Rep. Hinson, do you mind telling us why you brought forth this amazing amendment to this bill?”

Hinson responded, “It’s a great amendment because it gives the people who own the utility a voice and be on this authoritative board.” Payne asked whether the people elected to the Authority could be “the same members that are serving on the city council,” and Hinson said, “No.”

Rep. Toby Overdorf asked how much it costs to hold an election, and Hinson said City elections cost about $200,000. She added, “$200,000 is a small price to pay for democracy. And this is what democracy looks like.”

The third amendment failed on a voice vote.

Fourth amendment

Hinson’s fourth amendment would give “all GRU customers living outside of the city of Gainesville, a one-time opportunity to leave GRU if that is their desire and choose another provider in lieu of this entire proposal.”

Giallombardo asked how a customer who lives outside Gainesville can leave GRU, and Hinson responded, “OK, I’m just speculating here. I believe there’s some kind of monopoly on who serves whom. So what we could do is open it up for the citizens who don’t live in the city of Gainesville to choose one of those other providers. And once they do, close it back.”

Payne asked Hinson if she was familiar with the term “service territory,” and she said, “Yes,” so Payne asked her to explain what that means for an electric or water utility. Hinson responded, “It might be that monopoly that I’m talking about where we need to open it up so that monopoly is open for a period of time, so the service territory can change.”

Payne said, “Utilities are guided by a service territory with jurisdictional boundaries. Can you tell me what other jurisdictional boundaries would be able to serve in your area?” Hinson responded, “That’s what critical thinking skills do. What we can do is be creative about how–and listen, we’re in the home of the Gators. We know we can do this.”

Payne asked, “Any idea what it would cost for another utility to provide transmission and distribution services, let alone water services, to the city of Gainesville?” Hinson said, “I do not, but I know that they already exist. And I know that they don’t have to put in any infrastructure. It’s already there.”

The fourth amendment failed on a voice vote.

Fifth amendment

In introducing her fifth amendment, Hinson said, “This act will only take effect if approved by those qualified electors of the City of Gainesville and the GRU service area; voting and a referendum to be held in conjunction with the next general election in 2024.”

The fifth amendment failed on a voice vote without questions or debate.

Third reading

Clemons then made a motion to waive the rules and read the bill a third time for final passage; the motion was adopted. The representatives moved into structured debate, with 10 minutes allotted to each side.

Rep. Anna Eskamani started off the debate by praising Hinson: “You outdid yourself in fighting for your local community, and we’re just incredibly proud of you… With that said, I do rise in opposition to this bill.” Her points against the bill included a lack of community public support: “For example, local groups that oppose this concept include the City’s first responders, League of Women Voters, NAACP, of course CWA who represents the workers, GRU, the entire Gainesville City Commission, and the Utility Advisory Board.” She said she was also concerned about the precedent it could set “that if some utility or entity has debt, that the State will come in to take control of it” and that similar concepts had been voted down by the electorate in the past (however, the bill that went to a referendum gave the City Commission the authority to appoint the board members). She was also concerned that Florida Power & Light would buy GRU.

Hinson followed Eskamani, asking the other representatives to “hear my cry. I’m a representative and servant of the city of Gainesville.” She said she first “learned of this ominous pursuit of Gainesville Regional Utilities by an entity unknown to me” when she was a City Commissioner from 2012 to 2015. She continued, “At every meeting, there was the same cadre of dissenters searching and heralding problems with GRU that did not exist. My city is a progressive, well-educated community, which seeks all manner of climate change reductions, water quality research, and other nature-friendly projects that improve and enhance the lives of its people. In that regard, it purchased a biomass plant that was a great bone of contention. The plant itself was a good thing, but the Power Purchase Agreement was the source of ill content.”

Hinson continued, “Since that time, there has been a coordinated campaign to force the City of Gainesville to sell its citizen-owned utility to an unknown entity for at least a decade… Many people believe that entity is FPL.” She alleged that FPL “funded [Senator Keith Perry’s] entire campaign” in 2017 and that FPL “discussed purchase with the former mayor” in 2022. She said the bill was “not a good faith move” by Clemons because the Joint Legislative Audit Committee had given the City Commission until October to make budgetary changes.

Hinson concluded, “GRU provides a needed source of revenue for its citizens. Most of our property is state-owned and exempt from property tax. The loss of this revenue will literally kill our city, and our esteemed Representative Caruso said in an interview, and I quote, ‘We have a GRU that is on the verge of failing and a City that will tumble thereafter.’ We will crumble, indeed. Please, Members, if you’ve ever had a heart for people, help me save our beloved city.”

In the time period for supporters of the bill, Rep. Payne said he had worked in the electric utility business for 38 years: “This is about your City Commission breaking your community because of their acts of draining and siphoning money off of the utility.”

Payne said the residential 12-month rolling average for 1000 kWh in Florida is about $144.46, but GRU customers pay $180. Commercial GRU customers pay about $2,129.35 for 10,000 kWh; the average in Florida is $1,463. He said those rates increase costs for every business, and those costs are paid by the customers of the businesses. He added that $1.7 billion in debt for 95,000 customers “is not an equation to success.” Payne said the bill will provide “new direction” for GRU and could bring rates “back in compliance of where they should be.”

Rep. Giallombardo said other municipal utilities are also adding surcharges for customers outside the city limits, and “that is ridiculous… This is a statewide problem, and I appreciate you bringing this up because this will spark us going down that hill because we need to address this.”

Rep. Chuck Brannan said he pays five power bills, and he had scolded his son for his high power bills when he was a student at the University of Florida. “Well, thank you, Representative Clemons, I’m enlightened today. Now I know… So thank you for doing this. And let’s get this utility on the right path in the future where these rates can go down.”

Rep. Stan McClain, from Marion County, said, “GRU has been the laughingstock of counties surrounding Alachua for a long time… The citizens of the city of Gainesville have been begging for relief for as long as I can remember… It is time.”

In closing, Clemons said that the 2018 referendum was defeated at least partly because of a campaign that told voters their bills would go up. “Guess what’s happened since 2018? Gainesville Regional Utilities have raised their rates on everyone, from the renter to the commercial, by 25%… GRU is made up of 800 fabulous employees; this is not about the employees. This is about the management of said utility and the poor decisions they have made. Please support this.”

The bill passed, 81-33, on a party-line vote with three Republicans and two Democrats absent.

It will now go to the Senate floor as part of a package of local bills.

  • help is on the way for us who live in the county and is stuck financing the city of Gainesville left-wing ideas without a say so. This and the County going to single member districts may make living here better thank you representative Clemens, senator Perry for all you have done to get this going

  • Two-Face Harvey, you were only part of the cause. You should be so proud.
    Call your pole buddy Poe, I’m sure he would appreciate it. The two of you can comfort one another.

  • Who does the Failed Hinson Rawls represent ? Just look at the real numbers in this article. If they are still in denial and dispute of GRU ‘s peril who are they trying to support? Certainly not GRU Customers. What an utter embarrassment and fool puppet.

    • Since she was previously a Gainesville city commissioner herself, she probably helped reinforce the idea that they are generally incompetent as a group and cannot be trusted to run something like a utility company. What was all the laughing and foolishness throughout the meeting?

    • Unlike any of the other supposed members of it’s delegation, she’d be the only one to win an election in Gainesville or Alachua County.

      • If her comments are a reflection of her constituency, that doesn’t surprise anyone.

  • Glad to see the city lose it but if this is a scheme to get Florida power and Light with its crooked ties to the Alabama-based Matrix then that’s bad news for rate payers.

      • Not sure what that means but by the look of it, Alabama’s gonna beat me to it! Paid political operatives being paid millions by FP&L to win elections with ghost candidates. That’s not a step up from the city.

    • Why would it be bad news for rate payers Florida power and light rates are 45% cheaper than GUR I would welcome a 45% lower bill each month

  • Hinson is a knucklehead. Reminded me of this scene in “A Few Good Men.”

    Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore), “Objection, your Honor.”
    Judge, “Overruled.”
    Galloway, “No, no. I strenuously object.”

    Unfortunate for the current batch of knuckleheads, there’s a few good men, and women, in Tallahassee.

  • Well, this is basically a fait accompli. It will be interesting to see how the city cover’s it’s budget. My expectation is increased taxes on those who are already burdened.

  • Only time will tell but one thing I’m sure most will agree on; it will be much better having oversight over the City Commission and it’s control over the GRU coffers than it will be to have hindsight on it’s misappropriation of funds.

  • Like Disney, the Tampa DA, and New College, another hostile takeover by the state GOP. How a “conservative” approves of this – well, they can’t and be a conservative. They’re statist, big government partisans.

    As to Clemons and Perry, these are 2 guys who can’t get elected in Gainesville, so they keep clipping their districts to be mostly rural voters and then force items through the GOP – their real constituents. Given that Perry only got reelected by a razor thin margin after using illegal FPL dark money, you don’t have to wonder who he’s working for. It’s not you.


    • It’s not like you DEC friends aren’t pouring buckets of their own dark money into your latest misinformation campaign. Only problem is this time, it doesn’t matter. But that won’t stop them from trying to tie this up in the courts and make their lawyer friends even richer.

      • Yeah, took buckets of money for that tweet. Hey Sen Perry got $200k from FPL for his dirty tricks and when is Kramer going to indict him?

        • Maybe when you stop hee hawing.

          Shouldn’t you be consoling weeping Ward & peeved Poe?

    • Seriously, what world are you living in? Both Clemons and Perry are LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES. You may not like how they got elected, but they did get elected. And their job is to represent the interests of their local constituents. Conservatives turning to them for answers when local regressive leadership fails IS DEMOCRACY. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to work. Further, those same constituents are asking these locally elected leaders to reign in the out-of-control spending of the local regressives- i.e., they’re asking for LESS GOVERNMENT.

      • Sick, due to the gerrymandering efforts of the GOP, including their recently removing even more Alachua County voters out of Clemons and Perry’s districts, Hinson is the only one of our supposed “delegation” who is electable in Gainesville and Alachua County. She’s also the only one who didn’t vote to punish the Alachau County School Board – and hence our students – by making them ineligible for performance funds because they dared challenge – legally – our ignorant and tyrannical governor’s Covid edicts. Clemons and Perry did that, because they put the GOP and the Governor above Alachua County students.

        So, no. Clemons and Perry aren’t “LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES”, unless you’re talking about Hampton and Trenton.

        • I’m not sick. I feel just fine. And, yes, they are local representatives- i.e., their constituency includes good ol’ Gainesville. That’s an indisputable fact. Funny how those get in the way sometimes, isn’t it?

          Gerrymandering? Of course they do. So do the regressives. Both parties have always done it and probably always will. Gainesville just got done doing the same thing (with the intent to keep conservative candidates out of contention).

          The School Board is compelled by law to follow the policies set by the State. That was the law way before Covid. Our School Board and the then-Superintendnet decided they didn’t like that so they were going to ignore the law. They did it for the children. Only here’s the thing- the briefs of their own lawyers in both of the cases they lost admitted that there was no risk to children from Covid (see the briefs in the record of those cases). And children were not the super-spreaders the hysterics tried to have us believe. So, here is our School Board, ignoring lawful mandates, having lost twice in court, and having no facts in suppoort of their argument, and what happens? Tina Certain moves to continue the mask mandate at the very next meeting!

          They deserved to lose the funding. Only here’s the other thing- the State gave it back to them later. They didn’t lose anything.

          So far, we have regressives choosing to ignore a law they didn’t like when they knew or should have known that the premise for their position was completely without support (again, don’t take my word, look it up, it will astonish you). But when the State rightly calls them on it, they’re tyrants?

          • Let’s cut Muddy Waters some slack.

            He’s just working through the realization the City of Gainesville is going to substantially change over the coming months. It’s hard to come to grips that the liberal panacea is going bye bye.

          • Thanks Todd for confirming you – like mnost commentors here – have no interest in democracy, self determination, or even simple concepts like ownership, but are just partisan hacks looking to get even with your perceived political enemies.

          • We’ve determined one thing for certain – you’ve sworn fealty to those you you continually defend.

            Bray on!

          • Sometimes ya got to use all the tools in your toolbox. This is one of those times.

          • Thanks for confirming that none of Gainesville’s “delegation” would win a vote there for any position, except Hinson, and sorry you accept gerrymandering as a given when the GOP is doing it, when options that are obvious exist. Several states have taken this out of the hands of the politicians by creating commissions appointed on a bi-partisan basis. Maybe you haven’t heard of this simple cure in mouth-breather circles, but it’s not rocket science and should be supported by well meaning citizens of all parties.

        • Here is the cite to the First District Court of Appeal decision on the school board issue, Dortch v. Alachua Cnty. Schoolboard, 330 So. 3d 976. Here is a link to an article with the admin opinion: https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/local/state/2021/11/05/judge-dismisses-counties-challenge-florida-ban-mask-mandates/6300947001/

          You will note that the 1st DCA is the second highest level in our state court system. Yet, on the heels of the issuance of their decision, Tina Certain moved to continue to require masks in school. Like a true regressive, she just felt like she didn’t have to follow a court order if it was one she didn’t like.

          You will also see unequivocally that it was local regressives who were ignoring the law and forcing children in school to unnecessarily don masks. That is authoritarian. It was the Governor and conservative leadership who made a law putting decison-making authority in the hands of parents. That is not authoritarian. Do you see the difference?

          • Thanks for the cite from the all-GOP Scott/DeSantis Florida courts where they as lawyers decide what is good health policy – in contrast to Alachua County which was relying on UF medical experts, but you fail to note that Certain was a board member when this ruling came down – not superintendent – and was outvoted.

            Public health issues concerning communicable diseases and use of public facilities should not be at the discretion of parents, or are you in favor of eliminating polio shots for kids too. Please be consistent, because no one in the GOP is on this. Maybe you should move to Marin County Ca, where the anti-vaxx crusade has been going on a long time and the cranks are left wing. I think you’ll find you have a lot in common.

          • Actually, if you could read, you would see in the opinion that the experts (including the experts employed by the schools) were in agreement that the death rate for covid among kids was 0.0%. And they were not super-spreaders. This isn’t polio. And it’s not any of the other diseases that have death rates in excess of 10%. It’s 0%. Better than the flu. So, yes, parents should have the discretion. I know that hurts you to hear that because you’ve been programmed by your regressive leaders to believe it. I know it hurts you to be wrong. And you can make your weak attempts at personal attacks against me. And I’ll keep laughing. Because I know and you know that I’m right. Be well my friend.

        • That makes sense. No wonder many children in her district lack respect for authoritative figures.

          Thanks for the reinforcement.

    • You should change your name to Bluesman. I figured you’d be here sooner or later, crying the Democrat city “blues.” As far as Disney, you already know that DeSantis removed the preferential treatment granted by the pro-business Republican governor in 1968. You are starting to seem stupid, like Yvonne Hinson-Hayes-Hinson-Rawls.

      • Peabody, educate yourself. Disney’s special district – by the way The Villages also has a special district – has been entirely non-controversial for 50 years. Google it and you won’t find any news about it until last year.

        You have to be some kind of stupid to buy that this is about special districts and taxes, when both the governor GOP legislators have made it clear this is payback for speaking out against a law they passed, you know, like the 1st amendment allows citizens to talk about. They are deliberately and openly punitive and include their voiced hope that they can change Disney programming. Disney’s lawyers certainly will not be stupid and will be quoting all this loose talk in court which goes to the heart of the matter, which is the petty, anti-freedom, anti-business, and screw all the Orlando citizens and side businesses who have grown and depend on Disney’s impact which drives this stupid vendetta. You will lose.

        So tell me, Mr GOP conservative, how did you get to where you approve of a guy who has never made payroll – I’ve been doing that for 40 years – or even worked in the private sector trying to take over the one company most successful in bringing people and money to Florida EVER, and changing their product?

        • People come to Florida for the beaches and the weather. Disney and other theme parks are secondary. Disney is not just “normal folks” who don’t happen to like some bill. It’s a LGBTQIAA+ stronghold, and not in a good way. Definitely not in a “live and let live” way but pushy, radical and demanding. And dangerous lately.

        • The only thing that seems to come from Disney is sick Pedo being arrested every couple months for sick sex crimes on children or feeling up people in Disney. But keep believing that MAGIC.

    • 2020 was stolen by a combo of news/social media suppression of facts, Zuckerbucks, illegal ballot harvesting. Dominion’s own staff admitted their machines could be hacked, too. Facts.

    • Waaaaaaah, don’t go away mad. City commission probably has some butt cream for you to rub on your bruised ego. The time has come to take Florida and the Country back and let the adults (GOP) be in charge again. Wokeness comes to die in Florida.

  • How dumb is Hinson to think that people can just choose another utility when all the water/sewer/electric lines are GRU but hey “thats what critical thinking skills do”

  • On the surface, this makes sense. One city commission after another has indirectly taxed citizens through GRU on an escalating basis for over ten years. UF wouldn’t even do business with them. Think about that. The money it could have generated. But there has been consistent, demonstrated malfeasance by one regressive commission after another and UF wanted no relationship with them. Because UF saw what many others see- regressives can’t stop spending.

    And that’s why this action doesn’t go far enough. As long as the city commission exists, they WILL find other ways to get money out of your pocket. Because they cannot stop spending. They see government as necessary for your wellbeing. You need to be ruled for your own good.

    It’s the commission which is the source of the problem here, and any long-term solution which will genuinely benefit taxpayers must address that body.

    • There’s always more that can be done, but take the win.

      This is a significant, worthwhile action that takes away the Gainesville City Commission’s most powerful way to secretly tax us without our knowledge or consent: the GRU “General Transfer Fund”.

      They have other slippery ways, but we will remove them one at a time until we get to goal: the point where the GCC must tell us, to our faces, that they want to tax us $XX millions of dollars for rainbow-colored stoplights, individual private restrooms for every city employee, a global, 1st-class tour of the 20 most woke cities on Earth, etc.

      Then we stop them and easily vote them out.

      Regressives thrive in the dark where they can steal your wallet without you knowing. When you force them into the light and make them tell you face-to-face that they want to rob you, they shrink away for fear of losing their positions.

      • Agree. Let’s get through this win and the inevitable Federal injunction (that will then be overturned on appeal).

        We can then move forward to the next step to move this county more to the values of Florida.

      • Unfortunately, in this liberal controlled/educated community, it won’t be easy.

        I’d wager it’s easier to get rid of bedbugs and fleas.

        • Getting some wind at our backs. It just takes a little momentum and it’s starting to hit.

      • IF, big IF, the state appointed board digs down into the inner workings and payments back and forth between General Government and GRU they will discover that the GFT is not the only “deal” the City gets from GRU and therefore YOU when you pay your utility bill each month.

  • Oh boy, Hinson’s bleeding but ignorant activism just showed how uninformed she is, basically not even understanding the elements of the bill. She must have had some wannabe attorney writing those proposals up the night before. She never explained her secret plan she mentioned at the end of the city commission meeting on this bill. Could it be the nasty texts sent out by hidden forces full of false statements and sentences written by a 3rd grader?

  • Quote, “this is not about debt, this is not about race.” It’s all about debt and who the hell brought up race?

    • It’s about stupidity and incompetence on the part of many on the city commission, past and present, and them being unfit to run the city let alone a utility company. “Competency Matters.” Too bad Poe & Co. didn’t heed those words when doing all their diversity/equity/inclusion hiring and creating all sorts of equity guru positions that each pay more than many surgeons and experienced attorneys make. Randall Poe McMurphy’s wild ride is over and it’s time to get real. Unfortunately, that does mean lobotomizing GRU from the city commission.

    • Democrats will throw everything out there hell give them time and they will be saying representative Clemens, Senator perry killed JFK

    • Yep! Funny that the first and only mention of race, was Hinson herself! You can bet when it’s all said and done, and the majority of the elected officials (the ones the majority of the citizens voted for, duh…) voted for this 3 to 1, she’ll cry it’s racism. No doubt.

  • Many thanks to Jennifer, Len and everyone else at AC for providing a platform to present and discuss local issues. I doubt legislation such as the GRU bill would have gain this much traction without this website!

    • You are dead on 100% correct about that my friend. Most of the press is a propaganda weapon for the regressives, and they don’t even hide that any more. Thank God for publications like the AC, and particularly so for their focus on local issues which have a direct and significant impact on voters’ pocketbooks.

      • Agree. These people don’t make enough $$$$. The time they spend researching and writing. Amazing. They need to be better compensated for their community service.

  • Tell me your not corrupt and funneling money…. Without actually telling me…

    Hinson is out of her mind and has no understanding of process and is pushing motives. It’s to late now buddy… 😂😂😂

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