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The public counsel, bills in Florida Legislature, Super Bowl ads

Several things today:

Judging from the e-mail, quite a few readers called or wrote their legislator in response to Thursday's column, which said the Legislature is threatening the job of Public Counsel J.R. Kelly even though (or because) his side won two big rate cases against Florida's electric companies.

Several lawmakers from this area replied. State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, wrote a letter in support of Kelly even before the column ran. State Rep. Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs, wrote a letter of support for Kelly to the chairman of the committee that controls Kelly's job.

Four Democratic House members from Pinellas County issued a statement saying Kelly "has performed admirably and effectively — perhaps too effectively for some of our colleagues."

But these four (Bill Heller, Rick Kriseman, Janet Long and Darryl Rouson) also said it would be wrong to "attach blame to all legislators for the actions of a few."

I love them all, but this is not enough. When they have shed blood for it, twisted the arm of the Senate president and House speaker, held news conferences and made a colossal pain of themselves, when the Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight meets next time in the glare of TV cameras and under public protest — well, then, maybe.

If you would still like to call or send an e-mail, you can find contact information on the Senate and House Web sites:

E-mail addresses for senators are listed on their individual pages. To e-mail House members, you have to go to each member's Web page and click a button.

Other news:

• My friends in Kenneth City would like to make something clear about the ballot item coming up in March: Vote "yes" if you want to get rid of the rule saying that no "public employee," no matter where he or she works, can serve as mayor. The change would make it clear that only employees of Kenneth City are barred from being mayor.

• Here's an interesting item filed for the upcoming legislative session: Senate Joint Resolution 1180 would require all public boards with taxing power to be elected. The state's water districts come to mind, as do the Pinellas Juvenile Welfare Board and the Tampa Port Authority.

• Speaking of the Juvenile Welfare Board, Senate Bill 1216 would require these kinds of children's boards to be renewed by the voters every eight years.

• Are you a customer of a private water utility in Florida? You need to know about House Bill 273 and Senate Bill 614. They would allow private water utilities to bill you a surcharge of up to 8 percent for making "improvements" to their systems. It's similar to the advance-billing deal the Legislature gave to nuclear plants.

• Did CBS need to run Katie Couric's long interview with the president right before the Super Bowl?

• Did anybody else notice how many of the commercials were based on disdain for women? All those guys who listed their relationship resentments and insisted, angrily, at least they were going to drive the car they wanted? Mocking a guy as "spineless" for shopping with his girlfriend? The guy who would rather surrender his wife than give up his tires? Don't they think women watch too?

• Re: billboards about God, atheism, etc. — I really do not care what you believe.

• Now, about those Boyd Hill park rangers…

The public counsel, bills in Florida Legislature, Super Bowl ads 02/08/10 [Last modified: Monday, February 8, 2010 6:39pm]
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