I have served as both the city manager and the general manager for Gainesville Regional Utilities. For 30 years I have watched dozens of city commissioners agonize over how to strike the right balance between utility rates, property taxes and the appropriate level of public expenditures.
A good utility is about more than just rates. GRU reflects our values by using renewable energy sources, by investing our owner dividends back into the community and in countless other ways.
No matter how happy or frustrated we may be with individual decisions made by our local elected officials, that will only get worse with an unaccountable, poorly designed authority that takes away local control of our utility and places too much of it in the hands of Tallahassee. It robs us of a municipal utility that we as a community have successfully nurtured together for more than 100 years.
I urge you to vote “no” on the GRU Authority on Nov. 6.
Karen Johnson, Gainesville
Good advice ignored
GRU and The Sun have been giving bad advice since 2009 and it appears they want to keep lower-income people in their place — paying the highest utility bills in the state.
Dr. Michael Bowie, former president of the NAACP, asked the City Commission to reconsider the 2009 unnecessary and fiscally irresponsible multi-billion-dollar biomass contract to purchase power for more than twice the market rate, knowing that lower income people would be hurt the most. He and others were ignored.
Voting “yes” on the Nov. 6 GRU referendum, calling for dedicated experts to operate and manage GRU, will improve the way GRU is run without hurting our Gainesville fire department or anyone else. The city of Gainesville collects a fire assessment fee annually.
It was local Democrats and others who initiated the referendum to improve the way GRU is run and not Rick Scott. Vote “yes” for the GRU Authority.
Debbie Martinez, Gainesville
Liberals try to stay in power by wooing voters with ever-increasing socialistic government handouts, entitlements, free tuition, quotas and unfair restrictions on business. Proposed strategies include welfare for all via universal basic income, Medicare for all and disregard of immigration laws with the intent to import millions of new dependent voters.
Conservatives earn support by following our Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence that guarantee each individual the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams in life and business. Tax policies, regulations and judicial appointments that facilitate private enterprise, individual achievement and self reliance allow hard-working individuals to prosper and vote for more of the same.
Socialistic policies can initially appear attractive but a choice to adopt them ignores the lessons of history. Every attempt at socialism has been an abject failure because it goes against human nature. Never forget that America’s greatness is a direct result of the opposite.
Gerald Bevis, Gainesville
Measures of greatness
When President Donald Trump agreed with coal-mining owners that safety regulations were to be eliminated, his own EPA estimated that the results will include 12 times as much CO2 going into the atmosphere, with an additional 1,400 premature deaths each year from the pollution.
However, the cancellation of protective regulations will result in an estimated $400 million in savings for the owners. That will provide them a way to document for the president the profits to be made from unregulated negligent homicide. Is that to be one of the new measures of our nation’s “greatness”? Sad.
Asa Godbey, Gainesville
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