YOUR DAILY WEEKLY READER: staring at the sun, hiding from the sunshine and buying an election


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SOLAR POWER! IN FLORIDA! WELCOME TO 1977! “Florida Power & Light Co. customers who want to support more solar power would have a chance to do so under a proposal the company filed Wednesday with the state regulators. Customers would pay $9 a month for three years in a voluntary pilot program that requires Public Service Commission approval. It would place as many as 25 commercial-scale solar arrays throughout FPL’s territory — each roughly 10 to 15 times larger than a typical residential rooftop installation — for an estimated total of up to 2,400 kilowatts (2.4 megawatts) depending on customer participation. ‘We know that some of our customers have an affinity for solar. We obviously love solar. We have built a lot of solar, not just in Florida, but across the country. We feel like there should be an opportunity for customers to participate,’ FPL president Eric Silagy said. The average cost for a homeowner to install a rooftop solar system is $30,000 to $40,000, which most people can’t afford. Under the proposed program, single-family homeowners as well as people who live in apartments or condominiums would be able to advance solar energy in Florida, Silagy said. People who choose not to participate will not be charged.” (via Palm Beach Post)



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COME FOR THE DISCRIMINATION. STICK AROUND FOR THE LT. GOVERNOR TURNING INTO AN HISPANIC P.R. FLACK: “The Democratic political committee American Bridge has dusted off one of the attacks on Rick Scott that surfaced in his first gubernatorial campaign: That Scott used discriminatory hiring practices while growing a chain of walk-in clinics. Dr. David Yarian, now featured in a new web ad by American Bridge, had claimed that Scott wanted only trim, "mainstream" employees without accents, to be  hired at his Solantic clinics. The Scott campaign maintained that Yarian was a disgruntled former employee fired for, among other things, taking freebies from pharmaceutical companies, though the doctor insisted he was canned after questioning Scott's hiring policies. ‘Clearly there is no limit to how low Charlie Crist will sink in pursuit of his selfish ambition,’ said a statement released by Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. ‘The facts are simple-Charlie Crist drove our economy into the ground as Governor and then he ran away. I am insulted that he would resort to using the Hispanic community as a pawn in his sick, desperate game to regain a position that he chose to abandon in 2010 in pursuit of his self-centered goals.’” (via Tampa Bay Times)


TRANSPARENCY IS JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE: “In what may seem like a completely different era the Florida Legislature was required to put some things in the public domain about how things wound up in the budget. For many years legislators were required to at least document some evidence of a request for an earmark, or what was known as the ‘Community Budget Issue Request System.’ Legislators were required to fill out forms explaining a request a funding. One example: In 2008 Rep. Will Weatherford requested $3 million for a domestic violence center along with requests for nine other projects. When the Great Recession caused a massive downturn in the economy there was a decision made by legislative leaders to shut down this effort. ‘With the further decline in state revenues, it is my desire to avoid creating unrealistic funding expecations,’ wrote Senate President Jeff Atwater in a 2009 memo. But even though the Florida Legislature has a budget surplus to work with this year there has been no move to return to this type of tracking system. Back in 2010 Democratic candidate for Chief Financial Officer Loranne Ausley suggested requiring the reinstatement of the system so that ‘politicians must own their pork spending.’ As this story notes - there's no shortage of hometown projects in the roughly $75 billion budget that legislators are working on right now. The question is how the project got there and whether members of the public and press can deduce the origins of something.” (via The Fine Print)


JOHN ROBERTS WOULD LIKE TO SELL YOU AN ELECTION: “If you think that the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was bad, just wait: worse may be on the way. The issue before the Court was fairly narrow, even a little obscure. Congress bars individuals from contributing more than fifty-two hundred dollars to any candidate for federal office in any election cycle. It also bars individuals from contributing more than a hundred and twenty-three thousand dollars, in total, to multiple federal candidates in a cycle. In the McCutcheon case, by a vote of five to four, the Court struck down the overall hundred-and-twenty-three-thousand-dollar limit. But this ruling will affect relatively few campaign contributors. In the most recent cycle, fewer than six hundred donors maxed out to candidates. So why is the case important? Because the language of Chief Justice John Roberts’s opinion suggests that the Court remains committed to the project announced most prominently in the Citizens United case, four years ago: the deregulation of American political campaigns.” (via The New Yorker) 


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