Thursday, June 21, 2018
Politics

Romano: Does anyone have the guts to say no to the state bully?

You are not always going to agree with your state legislators.

That’s just a given. There are too many issues, too many viewpoints. It’s neither fair to them, nor realistic of you, to think your perspectives will always align.

So what should you expect of lawmakers?

Honesty. Transparency. Fairness.

Which, in the Florida House, means:

Strike one, strike two, strike three.

The education bill (HB 7055) passed by the House last week is a sham wrapped in a con and rationalized by liars. It takes political ideology and tries to dress it up in sympathetic terms.

EDITORIAL: Senate should reject House’s attack on public schools

There is no evidence backing up the sweeping changes in this bill. There is no hint of compromise in any of the outlandish and irresponsible proposals. There is no respect for the normal legislative process.

Instead it is the hubris of Speaker Richard Corcoran and his singing sycophants.

(That goes for you Larry Ahern, James Grant, Chris Latvala and Chris Sprowls.)

If he was truly being honest, Corcoran would acknowledge that his plan to create a path to private schools for students being bullied is just a back-door way to expand the state’s voucher program.

How do we know that?

Because the plan does not even address the bullies. Instead, it forces kids to flee. Which they could have already done because the state has choice programs allowing transfers to other public schools.

If the House was truly being transparent, it wouldn’t be cramming a dozen different ideas into a single bill. It would allow each idea to rise or fall on its own merit.

And if the House was being fair, it wouldn’t tie the $21.1 billion public school budget to the passage of HB 7055. That’s right, the House is not just going to walk away if it doesn’t get its way. Instead, House members are saying public schools will not be funded next year if the bill is not passed in the Senate.

Sort of sounds like bullying, doesn’t it? And your anti-bullying representatives just voted for it.

(That goes for you Shawn Harrison, Jake Raburn, Ross Spano and Jackie Toledo.)

As if that wasn’t enough, the House is doubling down on its crusade to crush teachers unions. Having been shamed by a public employee union-busting bill (HB 25) that conveniently protected cops and firefighters, the House has incorporated the teachers portion of that bill into HB 7055.

Once again, this is how they lie.

Instead of manning up and admitting that they are tired of fighting teachers unions, Corcoran and his meek minions are trying a back-door tactic to legislate the union out of existence.

(That goes for you Danny Burgess, Blaise Ingoglia, Amber Mariano and Lawrence McClure.)

We can disagree on policies and philosophies. We can debate the best ways to protect schoolchildren, and the best ways to spend tax dollars on education. We can — in fact we should — examine the results in private, charter and public schools and figure out what is working and what is not.

Except we don’t do any of that in Florida.

For several years, the governor and 159 legislators have listened to Corcoran tell everyone how they should follow his vision to privatize public schools, and they’ve nodded their little bobbleheads.

Now, Corcoran is upping the ante with the charade that is HB 7055. And it will be up to the Senate in the coming weeks to tell him no.

So what’s it going to be senators?

Are you going to be Corcoran’s flunkies, too?

Or, rather, again?

Comments
Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

NEW PORT RICHEY — A seasoned historic hotel renovator and operator is going to take a crack at getting New Port Richey’s city-owned Hacienda Hotel back into action. New Port Richey City Council members, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, u...
Published: 06/20/18
Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis stepped into a growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, criticizing the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border and saying that "populism" and "creating psychosis" are not t...
Published: 06/20/18
Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Well, that didn’t last long.U.S. Army veteran Michael Sean McCoy filed to run as the Republican candidate in the State House, District 57 race just hours after incumbent State Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, announced he was stepping down.McCoy, who live...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Published: 06/19/18
‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

SEATTLE — The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life. So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for t...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

WASHINGTON - As he prepared to visit Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to insist that Congress produce comprehensive immigration legislation, while anxious Republicans explored a narrower fix to the administration policy of se...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.Trump’s meeting late Tuesday afternoon with...
Published: 06/19/18
Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another facility intended for detaining undocumented children is reportedly in the works for Houston as the number of children separated from their parents at the border continues to swell.Southwest Key Programs, the same contractor that operates the...
Published: 06/19/18
Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

ST. PETERSBURG — They appear to rise out of nowhere — two enormous, reclaimed-water tanks with an artist’s white clouds scudding across a blue background.A closer view reveals silhouettes of a lone coyote howling at the sky, mangrove islands, oak, cy...
Published: 06/19/18
FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

The FBI agent who was removed from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for sending anti-Trump texts intends to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and any other congressional committee that asks, his attorney sai...
Published: 06/17/18