Mitch Perry Report 4.11.14: Duke Energy kicks in $50,000 for Greenlight Pinellas effort


Last week over 100 environmental activists marched in front of Duke Energy's headquarters in downtown St. Petersburg, bringing petitions signed by thousands of Floridians to the energy giant's offices calling for the company to get off of coal and start using more solar and other forms of alternative energy in its portfolio. 

Many of those activists are strong supporters of Greenlight Pinellas, the transit tax on the fall ballot in Pinellas County that would create funding for more buses and the construction of a light-rail system. And when reporting amounts for "Friends of Greenlight" (the political action committee for the Yes on Greenlight campaign) were announced yesterday, who gave the biggest check for the cause? None other than Duke, which gave a generous $50,000. Up next was the Pinellas Realtor Organization, with $10,000. All told, the PAC brought in $66,000 in the first two months of operations. I'm not sure what this means, other than Duke believes in a more robust public transportation system in the county (which most of the business establishment does as well), and wants to do what's best for Duke. And until the PSC and or Florida lawmakers force Duke to start offering up more renewable energy sources, the company will keep on doing what it's doing. Nothing paradoxical about that.

Meanwhile the group fighting the initiative, No Tax for Tracks, reported less than half that amount, at $25,396.

If you weren't aware of the intensity of the debate between the two sides, you would have been after attending a debate on the issue yesterday. Tempers flared at the Tiger Bay Club about the initiative, which won't be decided on until November.

The bill that would pave the way for Uber to start picking up passengers continues to move along in the state Senate, though lots of questions remain whether it will get through the entire Legislature this year.

WTSP-Reporter Preston Rudie is leaving his TV home to work for David Jolly

And the current issue of CL focuses on the Hyde Park/SoHo neighborhood in South Tampa. We've got a piece about how residents and the adjoining nightclubs are co-existing, and another about big plans to redevelop Hyde Park Village.

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