Around here, free market is the answer.
And it doesn't even require an actual question.
Education gap? Let the business community fix it. Health insurance? Keep the government out of it. Minimum wage? Leave it up to the job creators.
Yes, free market competition will always be the solution in Tallahassee.
Except when it comes to medical marijuana.
Apparently, that's an industry in serious need of a government-sponsored cartel....
Sometimes, we get lost in the drama. Sidetracked by fools, or distracted by invective.
And so the new narrative is not about health insurance and not about Medicaid, but instead how the angry middle class is forcing Republican politicians into hiding.
A congressman in California had to be rescued from a town hall meeting by a wall of cops. A congressman in New York canceled a similar event....
"It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to." Lesley Gore
The party's over. No, really.
The third-largest political party in Florida ceased to exist this week. It was wiped out not by infighting or ideology but by a technicality that may or may not exist.
If that sounds odd, that's par for the course: The Independent Party of Florida has always been slightly off kilter. Not in its views — which are quite moderate — but in its influence....
02/13/17 Local Government
A week ago, I said the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board could not be trusted because it had zero oversight. Obviously, I regret the error.
It's now clear the board cannot be trusted because it's too stupid.
Seriously, have you ever seen an agency self-destruct so quickly and completely? Three months ago, few people knew or cared that these folks even existed.
And now the executive director has resigned under fire, the board has angered and embarrassed its most powerful advocate in the Legislature, it has goaded the State Attorney into convening a grand jury to investigate possible malfeasance and now even disinterested observers are wondering about the boss' fat paycheck on his way out the door....
You do everything the right way. You buy flood insurance, even though you have no lender demanding it. You surround your doors with sandbags for the approaching storm. You evacuate just as local officials ask, even though you are hesitant to abandon the house you bought less than a year ago.
And where does it all get you?
Sleeping on a mattress on a hard floor for the past five months while you worry about the black mold creeping up your walls....
They arrived early. They arrived prepared. Mostly, they arrived angry.
The parking lot at the Department of Health on the University of South Florida campus was so jammed with cars parked in the grass and on curbs that officials begged drivers to look for spaces a couple of blocks away.
This is the way the state's Office of Compassionate Use forum on medical marijuana began Wednesday — with hundreds of people unhappy about regulations being proposed for the rollout of Amendment 2, passed overwhelmingly by Florida voters in November....
02/07/17 Local Government
We can't trust educators.
At least not in the minds of state lawmakers, who have done a fair job of mutilating our public school curriculum in the name of accountability.
We can't trust our local elected officials, either.
Lawmakers don't want cities passing gun ordinances, so they've made local officials subject to fines and removal from office. In the name of accountability, naturally....
A car with three young friends is headed home after a birthday party. Tests say the driver is not drunk.
A Pasco County sheriff's deputy is speeding through a red light. Evidence suggests his siren is not on.
Twelve years ago, their cars collided violently in the dead of the night. Airlifted to a hospital with a devastating brain injury, Jennifer Wohlgemuth did not lose her life in that fateful moment....
The assault on your sanity has already begun.
On the day the governor released his budget wish list, the House speaker announced he was going after Tallahassee's cockroaches and the Senate president had to remind everyone of a constitutional amendment that lawmakers have ignored for two years.
This is typical of the days and weeks before Florida's legislative session. There's posturing and there's positioning. There are sound bites and suckups. Mostly, there's a lot of partisan politicking that leaves very little room for big-picture conversations....
As these things sometimes do, the revolution got off to a slow start. Too much chanting and sign-waving and not enough coup and d'etat.
The students hurried by, the cops looked bored and a homeless guy got prime real estate next to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. bust on the MLK Plaza. This University of South Florida student protest of the Trump administration's immigration ban was starting to have a complaint-by-numbers feel to it....
Voters gave them a solution.
Others states have given them a road map to follow.
And still there are people in Tallahassee who seem hell-bent on fouling up Florida's medical marijuana program with unnecessary and unwieldy regulations.
It doesn't have to be this way, and it shouldn't be this way. More than half the nation is moving forward with medical marijuana, and more than 70 percent of Florida voters agreed it was the smart and compassionate thing to do by passing Amendment 2 last fall....
This is exactly what we needed.
In the final hours of an interminable election, we were due for a little comic relief. A chuckle amid the rancor. A giggle to relieve the tension.
Yes, we absolutely needed Pam Bondi to show up.
Florida's attorney general is the whim beneath our wings. She talks; we laugh. Everybody wins.
In case you missed it, Bondi was on Fox News on Sunday to discuss FBI director James Comey's announcement that there was nothing in the renewed Hillary Clinton email inquiry that would warrant charges....
Turns out, Main Street USA is not just a marketing ploy at Disney parks.
It exists a few blocks from the neighborhood where they've rolled Cuban cigars for more than a century. It's near a bay, close to strawberry fields and down the road from a collection of strip clubs.
It looks diverse, it sounds moderate and it feels increasingly relevant.
So where is Main Street USA?
Apparently, somewhere in Tampa....
11/02/16 The Heater
The Cubs are chasing history. The Indians are not far behind.
And on the mound when Game 7 starts tonight will be a pitcher flirting with his own bit of baseball immortality.
Indians righthander Corey Kluber has a chance to become one of a handful of starting pitchers, and the first in 48 years, to win three games in the same World Series.
Why is it so rare?
Well, first of all, there have not been a lot of Game 7's in recent history. And, since the 1970s, most teams have gone to five-man rotations, so it's highly unusual for a pitcher to start three times in nine days even in the postseason. ...
Your wallet is sitting here.
And your electric company is over there.
Now, how safe do you feel leaving one with the other?
Because, when you cut through all the misleading commercials and all the phony sound bites, that's the gist of Amendment 1. The state's largest power companies want you to trust them to essentially be the lone providers of solar energy and its expansion in Florida....