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. After trip's final day, Trump to return to tumult at home


    TAORMINA, Italy — Down to the final day of his lengthy first international trip, President Donald Trump will lift off for Washington having rattled some allies and reassured others, returning to a White House that sits under a cloud of scandal.

    G7 leaders sign the G7 Taormina Statement on the Fight Against Terrorism and Violent Extremism at the G7 Summit in Taormina, Italy on Friday.  (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)
  2. Islamic State claims responsibility for Egypt attack


    MINYA, Egypt — The Islamic State group on Saturday claimed responsibility for the attack on a bus carrying Christians on their way to a remote desert monastery south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, which killed 29.

    Relatives of killed Coptic Christians grieve during their funeral at Abu Garnous Cathedral in Minya, Egypt, on Friday. Egyptian officials say dozens of people were killed and wounded in an attack by masked militants on a bus carrying Coptic Christians, including children, south of Cairo.(AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
  3. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  4. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans


    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  5. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?


    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.