“Dark money” texts urge residents to contact governor and legislature about Clemons’ bill


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Texts that appear to come from two different organizations have been sent to Gainesville residents, urging them to contact the governor and legislators to stop Rep. Chuck Clemons’ local bill that would establish a governor-appointed board to run Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU).

Rep. Clemons told us, “This is proof positive the city commission’s propaganda machine using dark money is in full panic mode spreading more fear and untrue statements.”

One text, paid for by Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship, warns that the bill is a “big step towards selling out to monopoly FPL and big rate hikes! We can’t afford this takeover!”

The second text, paid for by Opportunity for All Floridians, also warns that GRU could be “sold to a private monopoly like FPL & we’d be stuck w/higher bills–up to 200% higher. We can’t afford a takeover!”

Stafford Jones said the texts appear to come from a network of astroturf organizations used to promote progressive issues and told us, “This is the City of Gainesville and Democrats trying to use dark money to scare the legislature.”

Claims in the text are false

Clemons’ bill does not give the new board any authority to sell GRU’s assets: The bill language states in 7.03(1), “The Authority shall have the following powers and duties, in addition to the powers and duties otherwise conferred by this article:… (f) To dispose of utility system assets only to the extent and under the conditions that the City Commission may dispose of such assets pursuant to section 5.04 of Article V.” That section states: “The commission may not, in any manner, dispose of or agree to dispose of the following city utility systems, or any part thereof… Unless the commission first adopts an ordinance approving of the disposition and submits that ordinance to referendum vote and such referendum is approved by a majority vote of the qualified electors of the city voting at the election for the purpose of approving the ordinance.”

Also, FPL had much lower rates in February (the most recent month available from FMEA) than GRU:

  • It sounds like a flyer that Bryan Eastman’s PAC mailed out when the independent governing board for GRU was going to be on the ballot. It was very misleading and said the city commission wanted to appoint a board of people who could never be removed. It had a picture of a guy in a black pinstripe suit freaking out, like he was having a heart attack. Actually, the city commission was not even in favor of the whole thing, and it was all a lie. I would look to Eastman as far as who is responsible.

    • Or, could it be the STRATEGY that Rep Hinson referred to at the recent meeting with the city comm? Her words: “I want to remind you that the best offense is done in quiet. I know this is a publicized meeting, and it has to be publicly noticed, but whatever strategies that evolve based on someone’s recommendation–there should be a strategy; it should not be publicized. I’m just saying.”

      “Just saying” or just sending” via text?

      Hinson should publicly reveal her “secret” strategy and publicly disclaim these texts and anyone associated with them tomorrow.

  • It won’t move the needle a bit. The Legislature knows these groups.

    Outside of Alachua County, nobody knows hat GRU is.

    Fortunately, the opposition has run out of time. By the time they get any momentum (if at all), the bill will be law.

    • Thank God for this. Just maybe a start for Gainesville to get back on the right track. Watching Hinson and hearing all the lies , misinformation and the fear she is trying to spread just makes me sick. How can people like her and all of the City Commissioners look in their mirrors and think we are serving our people with honesty and integrity?

  • Why would anyone quote Stafford Jones, whose connections to the Alabama-based Matrix are widely known?

    • Just like the Democrat politicians in NY, our local Democrat machine questions the providers person, instead of addressing the statement made. I guess the truth hurts and they have no factual comeback.

  • It really doesn’t appear to me that the truth matters anymore. Lying is as fresh as the air we breathe and worse, no one but a few really care. We are living in an alternative realty.

  • Sounds like a City Commission is running scared. They’re about to lose their cash cow and funding for all their left wing ideas. It’s called scare tactics just like they did about single-member districts surely voters can see through this nonsense.

  • I’m pretty sure Ward made some connections during his recent trip to D.C. That may shed some light on the dark funds.

    They’re afraid…very afraid. It’s about time they experience what many in Gainesville who don’t have the protection of the Gainesville Gestapo have to deal with every billing cycle…not knowing how they’ll be able to afford the next bill payment.

  • Sorry, I’m laughing so hard I’m choking seeing Republicans like Stafford Jones complaining about dark money. Just getting beat at their own game.

    • Yep! George Soros and Brandon are laughing too, because of course they have never been involved in this type of tactic of spreading BS and convince people they need to stay hooked on Democratic handouts!

  • Usual left based tactics. Spread false claims about anything enough and people start believing it to be true. Stop being Sheep.

  • Holy crap! And guess who didn’t get that text message?! Smh, I guess they knew I was going to be for the bill anyway… is this the secret strategy? If so people ain’t buying it.

      • Less government means less control by politicians. That is what people NOT in the DNC want, they want to be left alone and allowed to buy whatever car, stove, etc. they choose to buy. Government is not meant to use a monopoly as a cash cow to push a political agenda based on the religion of “Climate Change” Gotta love how the leftists love to cry about “Church and State” and then use the Church of “Gia” to force people to pay for garbage that isn’t actually happening.

  • We are not stupid. We want you out. Need you out! I am tired of working for GRU. My bill should not be so high when I have done everything they have told me to do. The electric bills are killing me keeping ac above 77/78 all the time.
    Can’t even afford to allow to let my child to play in the water outside in fear it costs triple the amount on the other side! Be for real it cost more leaving the house then coming into the house. These idiots need to go.
    All they want is to take our money for their greed and I did not know we had the mob running GRU!

  • LOL the Demonic Nutcase Cult wants to keep their poverty machine monopoly going on longer 👹🤡🤬🤪🍦🍦🍦

  • Poor little Comm., afraid of losing their power. (Pun intended.)


  • The seizing of GRU will be a boondoggle for this Governor. To ignore the will of voters to determine the control of a publicly owned utility should be a concern to everyone who values local freedom. This is an overreach by big state interests.

    • For decades, GRU ratepayers have complained to the city about the millions annually “transferred” to the city. Literally decades. They had ample time to stop raiding the wallets of customers who have no other choice for utility. They didn’t listen and this is the result.

    • The over reach is me living in the county and stuck paying the for the idiotic was of the city without me having a say so or vote.
      I am all for the city stopping GRU from going into the county I am all for you left wingers paying to make up the 40% they will loose

    • The biggest bonus is for GRU rate payers . Annual savings for GRU and Customers could be over $40 million a year . Why would you and Jazz not want that ? The overreach has been from the thieving Gainesville City Commission. It’s time for them to stand down and pucker up. HaHa.

    • Are you kidding me, it is you and the rest of your elite organizations that do not want this to happen. Apparently you do not care about the majority here saying it is best. Apparently you haven’t heard the desperate cries of those who need the help. Why because it’s a you game and eff those that can not afford it…that is what you are saying to people…. also might want to think about it this way no transfer then rates can either stay the same or drop just saying.

  • Gainesville City Commission and their henchman Curry… your 3 minutes are up. Officer, please escort these lost souls from the chamber.

  • The numbers are not in their favor. The house and senate are very Republican.

    This bill gets a reading on Thursday. It may even get a third reading. And then it will be sent the senate with a number of other bills and likely voted as a package of bills.

    This is basically a done deal.

    • I am sure the governor has not forgotten the number of different lawsuits the city has filed or joined in against him good luck getting him to veto the bill not saying he holds any grudges

  • Get over a silly text message you little cry baby snowflakes,.especially.that whiny Stafford.

    BTW, wasn’t this the same group that gave the dark money to Charles Goston when he ran against Keith Perry?

    • No. You got it backwards. These are Eastman and Bottcher’s friends. They’ve been using dark money and have had their own PACs for years.

  • I used the form letter in their text attachment and edited it to ASK the governor to sign the bill. For the win!

    • as I stated in an email to a few, the amount of people from fb who have done the same and texted back, I think it backfired on the text sender or senders a bit. I have my own theory as to who did this and I am almost positive it was who I think it was since they decided to talk about the same point that one of the messages talked about. ehh putting 2 and 2 together, I wonder how much the action Network Charged them for both texts and how much the organizations charged them as well. just saying…

  • First off, anyone from this area knows right away the message is bogus; FPL has ALWAYS had lower rates than GRU but again this is aimed at the younger people (college kids) that do not read anything but the headline or first paragraph.

  • Yes, this is bad, but not as bad as Perry using illegal dark money – traced to FPL – to get reelected by a hair. Maybe the AC should do a review of that case. I’m still waiting for Perry to be charged by DA Kramer and the governor’s election police to frog march him to jail. Ohhh, I forgot! They are both Republicans and will do nothing about real election crimes.

  • Oh no, the election was stolen and how dare that black man run for office. You’re starting to sound like Trump.

  • Once the city commissioners can’t pillage GRU anymore they will be forced to cut spending. Oh the inhumanity!

  • Is Chicken Little a Gainesville resident or does she live in the county?

  • Desperate democrats doing desperate things to keep control. Wonder if any Soros money was used in the making of those emails?

    • Soros, and those like him, usually have an ROI in mind when throwing cash out the helicopter door. There is no expectation of returns – tangible or abstract – from any investment in stopping the bill.

      Bulk texts are ‘small time.’

  • Beneath the fiction is an unintended truth.

    To claim “…it [GRU] could be sold to a private [regulated] monopoly like FPL…” instead of being sold to Duke doesn’t make sense. Jennifer notes FPL’s rates are lower, not higher, than GRU in Feb. 2003.

    So, why the false comparison?

    FPL and GRU have different problems according to the MEP Coalition for Fair Competition and others.

    MEP claims, “FPL is not using ratepayer funded assets to improve services for customers, lower prices, sustain service and recovery efforts in storms or for the benefits of ratepayers. They are using them to maintain their monopoly, limit competition, pay lobbyists and exert political influence to expand corporate profits.”

    In other words, they are profitable which MEP argues comes at the expense of fair competition in diversified services such as A.C., plumbing, etc.

    The customers also have lower bills because FPL is not charging added city fees.

    The false comparison does show the texts’ authors are trying to attach the feared sale of GRU with FPL’s image problems, but not their low rates.

    This is classic ‘misinformation ops.’

  • As if the board and it’s rules, once in office, could not be modified any damn way the state GOP wants with just another railroad bill. See the Disney fiasco for evidence of that and see Perry trying to sell GRU for awhile now while getting $200k in illegal dark money from FPL to beat out Enneking by a hair. These guys are bought and paid for and will do anything in the parties interest, including selling out their constituents in Gainesville and Alachua County who they have done and end run around to stay in office.

    • Would you be celebrating in the streets if a democrat governor was killing off Disney’s multi-generational tax loopholes?

      • No one – including DeSantis – had a problem with Disney operating as a special district – by the way , so does GOP stronghold The Villages – until it’s CEO criticized his pet legislation. Unfortunately for him and the state legislature, the record is clear that this attack had nothing to do with “good governance” and everything to do with punishment and an attempt to change Disney programming. Hey, buy the company or don’t buy it’s products if you don’t like them but a state takeover is banana republic garbage on which we will be paying the legal fees, greater Orlando and Florida will suffer the possible downturn in it’s most important business, and the governor and the state will ultimately lose.

    • Meanwhile, the Democrat candidate for governor sits in a courtroom on racketeering charges….

  • The Democrats in town are losing their minds over this and throwing out all kinds of wild claims.

  • Low Life untrue Strategy by Hinson Secret Rawls, City
    Commissioners? Do you not realize the State is watching , observing, and documenting you evil agenda? This will not help you impending removal from GRU Authority but may well lead into additional duties being removed from your prejudice oversight. Wow, what a braindead bunch , still in denial leading Gainesville 3
    stories below Binden’s Basement. Good Luck.

  • All this fear mongering from the very group that keeps raising GRU utility rates…. ohh the hypocrisy

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