Konish: Chuck Clemons is at work

Letter to the editor

Rep. Chuck Clemons and his staff are standing on the shoulders of Sen. Keith Perry and his staff. Accordingly, a totally different GRU governance paradigm is emerging as we become better advised on the premises.

Now that the governor is appointing the GRU authority, unnecessary guardrails that would likely give rise to a constitutional challenge will be removed.

Instead of personally disqualifying all members of either our City or County Commissions since January 2000 from serving on the initial Authority (as a previous bill stipulated), their disastrous groupthink is to be prohibited indefinitely. Clemons’ bill provides, “….consideration of the furtherance of social, political, or ideological interest” shall be disallowed in favor of consideration of “only pecuniary factors and utility best practice standards… which solely further the fiscal and financial benefit of the utility system and customers.”

There is more. Instead of Perry’s weak 3% cap on any reduction of the current and excessive General Fund Transfer (GFT), the latest thinking is that there is instead to be a cap on the maximum “Government Services Contribution (GSC),” equal to “net revenues” less “flow of funds.” All of these new terms in quotes are clearly defined in the bill.

The use of “GSC” in lieu of “GFT” appears aimed at the City’s practice of overcharging GRU for support services. This outrageous taking is on top of the current GFT and optional utility taxes. This is laid out in Finding #3 in the Auditor General’s report. An elected local legislative leader told me that the City has a Bernie Madoff approach to the application of the utility tax on GRU customers. I agree. GRU is not a “piggy bank” – it is a piñata. There appears to be no provision for any minimum GSC for the City’s General Fund. In fact, the GSC is to be prioritized behind other statutorily-mandated considerations as follows: “a reasonable contribution to a utility improvement fund, identified SLA-related losses, and any other lawful purpose as provided in bond covenants.” Any remaining funds “are to go to additional debt service or used as equity in future capital projects”.

The legislature has no choice but to recognize that GRU is no longer local–it is totally beholden to out-of-town bondholders. This irks Chuck Clemons, whose family came to the area in the early 1800s. The new GRU Authority will be empowered to follow the money trails and seek justice for aggrieved GRU ratepayers. There is a standing army of concerned citizens who know where the bones are buried. The City Commission’s failure to fully cooperate with the State of Florida from now on will result in catastrophic consequences for those wrongdoers and the City.

Jim Konish, Gainesville

The opinions expressed by letter or opinion writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AlachuaChronicle.com. Letters may be submitted to info@alachuachronicle.com and are published at the discretion of the editor.

  • I sure hope this bill pass and the state takes control I want to set back and watch the woke city commission sweat and watch them have to cut their woke programs i can’t believe they are still trying to go ahead with the solar farm

  • I think Mr Konish]s letter has a smell of justice for us rate amd tax payers. I was wondering if I would be priced out of living here.

  • How did we get into this mess? It’s all Hanrahan’s & Co’s fault…she was all for that United Nations Kyoto protocol, carbon credit, carbon footprint, Agenda 21, CO2 regulation going renewable tree burner biomass. The subsequent & current Dem ninnies want to save the planet by going Net 0 by 2050 which would triple our debt…go woke go broke. Democrat leadership has been a disaster and ruined GRU.

    • Environmental and social governance….next thing you know, the C of G be talking about reducing the city’s food related emissions 33% by 2030 like what they want to do in NYC.

  • When I originally came to the area I was looking to buy in Alachua County until many people warned me about the high costs of GRU. Fortunately, I heeded their warnings.

    • You were lucky to find some with not only the intelligence but the nads to give you the honest truth.

  • “….consideration of the furtherance of social, political, or ideological interest” shall be disallowed in favor of consideration of “only pecuniary factors and utility best practice standards… which solely further the fiscal and financial benefit of the utility system and customers.”

    The fog is lifting.

    Corporate activism is also finding the edge and perils of ESG thinking through ill-advised marketing and political posturing.

  • The State Legislature’s decision to appoint an independent board for GRU isn’t really that different from what happened with the Gainesville-Alachua County Regional Airport Authority many years ago. The main difference between the two is that the City is now completely reliant on GRU’s funds in order to bankroll its ludicrous agenda…hints the bitchy hissy fits from those folks. Maybe they can beg for a few more federal dollars but that will not be enough for the den of vipers at City Hall. It’s a shame that this took so long but once incompetence and malfeasance is realized by enough citizens change will be demanded. This is also known as F*ck Around and Find Out. So watch out Alachua Co Public School Board – you’re next on the citizen’s figurative hit list.

  • Jim Konish’s 2016 campaign platform is still valid.

    A. LOWER all GRU bills by: [6 actions]

    B. Prevent erosion of single family and historic neighborhoods by providing ample buffers from high intensity development and accompanying infrastructure requirements.

    C. REVAMP, CURTAIL, and PRIVATIZE FAILED POLITICIZED PET PROJECTS such as the Waldo Road homeless center and the Ironwood Golf Course.

    D. REPRIORITIZE spending to address INFRASTRUCTURE needs such as fixing and resurfacing streets, roads and sidewalks as well as failing water and sewer lines.

    E. Stop any and all tax, fee or fine increases until spending habits are completely reformed, and GRU bills are significantly reduced.

    F. Fairness with our partnership with the University of Florida: [3 ways]


    • Yeah, well he should run again and quit supporting hostile takeovers of Gainesville by his right wing buddies who get elected by rural areas in other counties.

  • How does this loser Konish get his own articles on the Chronicle. He can’t get elected to Gainesville City Government, yet somehow his crackpot and hostile opinions are deemed worthy of this attention? He fits right in with Clemons and Perry, who stayed in power with illegal dark money from FPL – hmmmm, could that be related to their attempted hostile takeover of GRU? – and continued gerrymandering of their districts to remove more Alachua County voters. Clemons and Perry both voted to punish Alachua County schools for having the guts to legally challenge DeSantis’s takeover of their response to covid, which was based on UF expert medical opinion. These guys are all 3 enemies of Gainesville and Alachua County voters and government..

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