Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Romano: Buying a House (of Representatives) for fun and profit


To: Producers of the A&E show Flip This House

From: Talent Scout

RE: Possible show topic

First of all, love your show!

This idea of watching someone purchase a house and then "flipping'' it for a profit is pure genius. It's ruthless, risky, and it feels so darned American.

In that same spirit, I'm bringing this unique idea to you today.

A house was recently purchased in Florida, and the buyers stand to make hundreds of millions in profits on this very old and exclusive property.

The hook is that it is no ordinary house.

It is the House.

Yes, a few utility companies have pooled their money and bought Florida's House of Representatives. Because the purchase was made in increments, the final price is still being figured out, but I can tell you it wasn't cheap.

Just in the first three months of this year Duke/Progress Energy spent $300,000 in campaign money on the state Republican Party. The company also contributed $100,000 for the Republican governor, offered about $25,000 in private airplane rides, and spent $5,000 on a gratuitous Democratic Party upgrade.

But, as your viewers will learn, that just scratches the surface. Last year, Progress Energy spent $1.5 million between the two political parties, committees and various candidates. Florida Power & Light spent a little bit more.

So what did the utilities get for their campaign donations?

Subservience. Lackeys. Men without scruples and women lacking spines.

Mostly, they got these representatives to gut legislation that would have kept the utility companies from ripping off customers for fictitious nuclear power plants.

And here's the part your narrator should emphasize:

For the few million dollars invested in House politicians, Progress Energy has already reaped $1.5 billion in this nuclear cost recovery fee.

And the fee was essentially preserved for a future generation of executive bonuses when the House passed a watered-down bill to monitor nuclear costs on Wednesday.

House members had a chance to repeal the fee, but declined. They had a chance to require greater accountability on the part of utility companies, but declined.

These politicians-for-hire could have created a provision to simply make utility companies specify on electric bills how much consumers were being charged for non-existent nuclear power plants. And even that was declined.

Now I realize your show does not survive solely on purchases, profits and prices. You need personalities, too. Trust me, the House has what you need.

Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, is young, good-looking and charismatic.

The House speaker is practically a game show host, minus the empathy.

In contrast, there is Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, who oozes compassion from every pore for ratepayers in his district, and Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, who was nearly apoplectic after Republicans gutted the legislation this week.

Finally, for comic relief, there is Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa. Apparently, her entire reason for existence as majority whip is to gesticulate wildly with a thumbs-down motion whenever a bill or amendment by a Democratic representative is voted on.

Now I understand this isn't the typical scenario for Flip This House. In this case, a house was purchased but wasn't exactly resold.

But you could promote it as something unique. Ordinary houses are bought to one day be resold, but this is a House with a perpetual For Sale sign.

Romano: Buying a House (of Representatives) for fun and profit 05/01/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 3:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84


    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General


    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  5. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest


    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.