Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gov. Scott at last passes hearing test

For a while there, it seemed like Gov. Rick Scott's first term in office was going to be like watching him take a hearing test at the doctor's office and fail it repeatedly.

He would be the guy in the headphones waiting to raise his hand when he heard something, and We the People would be on the other side, steadily cranking up the dial.

Would the grousing about his treatment of state employees reach his ears? Would he hear the outrage over turning his nose up at federal money for rail and the jobs that came with it?

Nope, don't hear a thing so far …

Okay, then how about people who protested a blatant move to make it harder for folks to vote?

Still nada.

What about rock-bottom poll numbers making him one of the least popular governors in the land?

Anyone got a magazine? This is getting boring …

So it would go, for four long years, till the citizens had the volume about equal to pressing your ear to an amp at a Motley Crue concert, the governor buffing his nails and stifling a yawn.

Until Honeymoon Island. Until people rose up righteous to object to a moneymaking plan to add campsites and RV spaces, plus all the necessary roads, hookups and such, at the lovely, unspoiled state park.

What does it mean that Scott finally heeded what the people were saying? That when he runs again, he wants to win by more than a whisker? That someone savvy now has enough of his ear to convince him that this was really not one he wanted to bulldoze through?

Because it turns out people really like our preserved pieces of Real Florida, places where hawks circle and tortoises lumber, nary a strip mall in sight. And many of those people do not want this changed. And, by the way, they vote.

Scott saw a distressing (or heartening, depending on where you sit) lack of falling-in-line even with some in his own party. We Floridians may spar over everything from health care to the death penalty, but a whole lot of us agree our parks are worth saving the way they are.

Maybe for Scott the deal was sealed on late-night cable, when Stephen Colbert took a poke at a prewritten letter on Scott's website that supporters were supposed to sign and send to newspapers extolling the many virtues of … well, Scott.

When a rock star of a comedian always hungry for daily political absurdity rates you his current favorite governor, this is a not good thing.

Let's consider how governors past might have handled this one.

Jeb Bush would have quickly grasped the political punch of the opposition and perhaps tabled the plan for further study. Charlie Crist would have been in populist heaven and killed it immediately, with a big shiny sword if possible.

So who would have guessed Scott would go all What Would Charlie Crist Do on us, talking of "national treasures" that belong to taxpayers and how it would be "unfair to proceed with a plan that so many Floridians are so adamantly opposed to."

For a minute there, he shook off the tone deafness that has marked his tenure so far. He raised his hand and he heard. Whatever his reasons, those of us who see the value in saving places like Honeymoon Island will take it, and watch with interest for what's next.

Gov. Scott at last passes hearing test 07/12/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 8:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Necropsy confirms drowning as Snooty the manatee's cause of death

    Human Interest

    BRADENTON— The South Florida museum aquarium will re-open Tuesday and grief counselors will be available after the untimely death of beloved manatee Snooty.

    Snooty, the Manatee County mascot, turned 60 in 2008. Hundreds of people came to the Parker Manatee Aquarium to see Snooty at his birthday party. He was the first manatee to have a recorded birth date on July 21, 1948.

 [Times (2008)]
  2. Charlie Gard's parents withdraw legal action over their sick baby


    LONDON — The parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard dropped their legal bid Monday to send him to the United States for experimental treatment after new medical tests showed it could no longer help.

    Chris Gard and Connie Yates, the parents of critically ill infant Charlie Gard, arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice in London ahead of the latest High Court hearing in London Monday July 24, 2017. They  returned  to the court for the latest stage in their effort to seek permission to take the child to the United States for medical treatment. Britain's High Court is considering new evidence in the case of Charlie Gard. The 11-month-old has a rare genetic condition, and his parents want to take him to America to receive an experimental treatment. [Jonathan Brady | PA via AP]
  3. Restaurant review: Food and beer pair nicely at the Eatery at Brew Bus Terminal and Brewery

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA - Tampa Bay's craft beer scene is perennially in flux. New breweries open, others close or get scooped up by bigger breweries, some reinvent themselves so they can sell beer off site, and still others build on kitchens and add food to give enthusiasts another reason to sit tight.

    Pimento cheese with zucchini pickles, lavash and Jamison B. Breadhouse Bakes crostini is on the menu.
  4. For starters: Rays vs. Orioles, seeking to halt a skid


    After being swept by the Rangers, and losing four straight, the Rays are looking to get back on track tonight against the Orioles, and they have LHP Blake Snell on the mound.

     Blake Snell will be on the mound tonight.
  5. This 'SNL' writer is cracking up Twitter with his replies to President Donald Trump's tweets


    Josh Patten is a writer for Saturday Night Live. Earlier this month, he began responding to President Donald Trump's tweets as if they were private texts to Patten.