St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

Crude power play

A Times Editorial
Published January 14, 2007


ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa Electric Co. should be ashamed of how it treated a neighborhood the utility defaced with power poles. Three years ago, without warning residents beforehand, the company planted 12-story power poles in a working-class neighborhood called Egypt Lake, north of downtown. TECO settled the case last week after two state courts robbed the residents of justice. The poles are a monument to the company's bad faith and the adage that money talks.

TECO installed the towers along two-lane streets, crowding out lawns and driveways and turning the neighborhood into a tangled mess. The move was so galling, the Hillsborough County Commission, no enemy of business, rushed new rules into place to keep TECO from ruining another established neighborhood. As public pressure mounted, TECO went on a charm offensive. President John Ramil dangled the possibility the poles would be removed. But rather than do the right thing, TECO insisted moving the poles to a nearby commercial corridor would be too costly. The courts bought that line, putting money over people, prompting the case to end with a secret financial settlement.

A case with such broad public implications for land use, property rights and public health should not close on confidential terms. But the real injustice is how a regulated utility repaid the community it serves.

[Last modified January 13, 2007, 19:07:00]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT