Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Good Luck Charlie

The media is reporting this morning that the upcoming legislative session could impact Florida CEO Scott’s interest in being reelected.  This is because if he doesn’t have a “successful” session, his already weak poll numbers will sink further and his much coveted reelection might just slip away into the tanned, unsweating palms of a smiling Charlie Crist. 

Everyone now knows how dumb it was for Scott to take all those highly regarded governmental programs and experienced people -  ensconced over the last 50 years to take Florida forward for a healthy future - and so callously and thoughtlessly kick them to the curb … some to the gutter.  People, even some republicans, are realizing that the state will suffer for years because of these really stupid actions and Scott is trying his political best to shift course without admitting he was wrong, bad wrong, disastrously wrong. 

Take for example the number of “For Immediate Release” releases that DEP was spewing out seemingly every day.  Each would bugle some amazing accomplishment by either the clearly inept secretary of DEP, Herschel Vinyard, or the clearly inept governor.  Most of these “noteworthy” accomplishments were actually nothing more than the department doing its job which neither Scott nor Vinyard actually had any part in, or adamant denials that the stupid things they were doing in the interest of politics were not in the interest of politics – so called, “setting the record straight,” as these denials were many times entitled. 

In any case, the number of these propagandistic missives has slowed dramatically and now the DEP spin mongers are careful how they mention anybody.  Take for example their latest little communiqué which suddenly announced that, out of an excess of wisdom, it was no longer going to try to sell environmentally valuable lands in order to raise money to buy environmentally valuable lands, a gambit Senator Jack Latvala has labeled disastrous and a charade.  No mention was made in the release of Scott, and Vinyard was quoted only as simply thanking his staff for its efforts.  They held a lot of public meetings and spent a lot of time and public money … and sold nothing. 

Seems Senator Hays must have had an epiphany.  Wasn’t he the guy who announced that the public owned way too much land and shouldn’t, because it should be owned by corporations and individuals for profit-making, public interests be damned?  Has he suddenly realized that environmentally valuable land held for and by the public of this state is a key factor in securing the state’s economic future?  

This latest release doesn’t mention Scott but wouldn’t you like to have been a fly on the wall when Vinyard, Scott and Hays, the brilliant ones who put this idea into law, decided it was a political liability, a really crappy thing, and needed to be flushed?   

Environmentalists are happy but they should be wary about this sudden-found apparent wisdom.  Those responsible for the craziness of the idea in the first place, haven’t yet left the building.  The heat they felt on their political backsides that made this reversal of misfortune happen should be stoked even hotter. For example, I doubt if Hays has had any such revelation.  He is still full of ill-advised bad ideas and even more misunderstood good ones.  Thinking he has now left the side of the special interests he has served so religiously would be foolish.  In terms of natural Florida’s best interests, the man is still very dangerous and will remain so as long as he is a legislator.  A smile and thanks for those who truly saw the light is appropriate but as for the rest, no rest. 

It’s noteworthy that senate president Gaetz and house speaker Weatherford are being insensitive to the governor’s reelection plight and have identified several legislative objectives that are making Scott squirm.  Their dilemma is that they find themselves between a rock - the fact that Scott could be headed for a lost reelection bid - and a hard place - the fact that if he loses, republican imperatives will likely get lost in the dust from a resurgence of Tallahassee democrat power.  In other words, they’re figuring they might best strike now while the governor is still a republican to achieve what they know will be difficult victories, because that circumstance could change in November. 

Pardon, I should probably stay focused on other issues but one of their more brilliant proposals, for example, would further erode the right of a woman to manage her own body by “tightening” the laws that define when abortions will be legal and not.  The republican concept is that women are not capable of deciding if and when they should end a pregnancy they do not want, and only government can and should make that decision.  Weatherford must have some expansive background or understanding and knowledge of this matter because as speaker he’s spinning it up for consideration by the house.  Scott’s handlers understandably would rather the legislature not stir the hearts of the state’s childbearing women against this indefensible republican tenet. 

Another bothersome proposal is this.  Remember when Scott and his legislative lemmings said the state’s oversight of comprehensive growth management should be removed from Tallahassee and left to the wisdom of its 67 individual and disparate county commissions, because there is no need to pursue a long-term state plan that would only serve to provide some level of desirable direction for its future in the decades ahead?  Remember when they were saying state-level planning was a useless pursuit that only served to slow the approval of sprawl, and since sprawl is where the jobs are we needed to have more of it and get rid of state planning?  

Well, the special interests were not satisfied.  They have directed the legislature to go further.  Now that control of large projects has been returned to 67 individual county commissions and any number of cities with no functional way for them to coordinate the review of projects that affect more than one jurisdiction among themselves, they are demanding local governments be even more limited in what they control.  Locals should be prohibited by law, for example, from requiring developers to insure roads will be ready for those who will live in a development by the time they actually move in.  Inexplicably, the idea that the availability of roads should be concurrent with the need for them seems too elusive for Tallahassee legislative logic to grasp.  

In addition, there are legislators ready to give greater control of water over to private interests until the lines between control and ownership become blurred to the extent there is no legal difference.  The more scarce water becomes, the more the legislature wants to take control away from the public and hand it to the private sector to sell.  There’s huge money to be made if this happens and Tallahassee is all about money.  Doesn’t matter that those who will need water the most will pay the most, and those who own it will also control it and become very powerful, indeed. 

Yes, “when the legislature is in session there isn’t a man women or child safe on the streets of Florida.” 

But here is something that makes me smile anyway.  A hugely apparent dilemma for the republicans who are trying to find something negative to say about Charlie Crist is that there is nothing negative they can say that hasn’t already been said and profusely written about.  He was a republican, then an independent, and now a democrat.  There have been rumors as to why he was never married, but now he is and, it seems, happily so.  He’s known as supporting an issue yesterday but not today, and vice versa. (Haven’t we all?) Talk about transparent!  And, we have absolutely no doubts about how he’ll perform as governor, do we?  He can answer questions extemporaneously without robotically having to stick to his handlers talking points like some automaton, and he always knows, recognizes and says hello to everybody in the room.  How can he be disparaged for that? 

It is actually refreshing that the man, literally, doesn’t have anything to hide.  What can the republicans possibly bring forward that we don’t already know and which would amount to such a shocking revelation about him that he would lose support to Scott?  Everybody knows about Charlie and the conclusion is, so what, it’s still a whole lot better than what we know about Scott. 

You need to take a long hard look at the alternative to Charlie.  I’m a republican and I have, and I’m sticking with the man I know and who will be so much less dangerous than the guy we’ve had for the last 3.5 years.  Good luck Charlie.