Philip Stoddard, South Miami Mayor and F.I.U. professor, Takes on "Evil Genius" FPL

By John Dorschner

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Jack Black was standing in the dark-green, jungle-like backyard of South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard. The actor gazed at the blue-black pond with its prowling bass and sunfish, then up at the roof. Gleaming white solar panels, the slender, geeky Stoddard explained, power his whole house, including air conditioning and even an electric car. He pays Florida Power & Light less than $10 per month.

Surrounded by three cameras and mikes and dressed in a button-up, short-sleeve shirt and khakis, Stoddard was holding a cylindrical piece of holey limestone. He pushed a yellow pencil through one of the holes. "So, Jack, this is the reason we can't keep water out," the 59-year-old said in an effort to explain why building walls wouldn't stop sea-level rise from inundating Miami.

The comedic actor — with a billowing orange T-shirt and piercing, catlike eyes — spoke in various tones, from somber to comic, trying out the proper inflection.

Finally, as Black's personal assistant scrambled to keep Stoddard's noisy dog, Sparrow, away from the mikes, the comedian settled on a slightly sarcastic tone: "So this is the foundation Miami is built on?"

"You got it," Stoddard said.

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