Republican Nancy Argenziano knows her way around Tallahassee. She knows which rugs to look under and which closets to open.
Of course she does: she served in Florida's Senate and House. More recently, she served on Florida's Public Service Commission: one of only two commissioners who consistently fought to protect us consumers against the state utitlity companies' ever-growing appetite for lower standards and higher rates.
Nancy knows where the dirt is, and she knows details. Sunday, the Ocala Star Banner published an op-ed by Nancy that's worth reading. Early on, she states:
"Policy has been selling for a high price in Tallahassee. Just follow the money, then follow the legislation all the way to becoming the law. Make no mistake, we are being sold out and heading toward a society ruled by a corporate oligarchy.
"The interests affected include nursing home residents and workers, corrections officers, teachers, children, state employees, water protection laws, the developmentally disabled, law enforcement officers, the environment, and so much more. All under attack."
Yes, this comes from a long-time Republican (a successful one at that). Nancy points out data that might interest Florida's state employees (whose retiremenet and job security seem to be in jeopardy):
"Florida is tied for last in the ratio of state employees to residents (118 per 10,000, where the national average is 216 per 10,000) and last in the ratio of cost of state employee workforce per resident ($38 per resident vs. a national average of $69), according to the 2008-09 State Personnel System Annual Workforce Report. I would characterize this as reflecting a state workforce which is, nationally, first in efficiency.
"Yet what does the Scott/Senate President Mike Haridopolis/Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon plunderbund do? Penalize that efficiency, stab state workers in the back, further savage a workforce that hasn't had a raise in five years, to effectively decrease their income by reneging on the bargain and requiring pension contributions, pensions which average in the lowest national tier."
Plunderbund? Yeah, Nancy has long been known for straight shooting.
In 2001, she responded to the distasteful actions of an industry lobbyist by sending that lobbyist a 25-pound box of manure. Some newspapers criticized her, but she also received an outpouring of support. For example, then-Attorney General Bob Butterworth wrote her a note asking, "Why only 25 pounds?"
Only in Florida, right? At any rate, if you want an insider's view of what's been going on, check out Nancy's op-ed.