Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gov. Rick Scott is straining so far to get his arms around Tallahassee

In business, you carry out the company's mission or else you'll soon find yourself looking for a job.

Government is different. Power is scattered, the way the Founding Fathers intended. This is one of hundreds of ways Gov. Rick Scott will see how hard it is to run government "like a business," as he often said on the campaign trail.

Scott is focused, fiercely disciplined and inner-directed. He'll need it to deal with the many obstacles sure to be hurled in his path from every direction, and as he comes to grips with the reality that the office of governor is not as all-powerful as it may seem.

The Legislature, which detests being slighted or cut out of decisions, is not convinced Scott can mothball the state aircraft by himself as he has proposed.

The Senate president, Mike Haridopolos, said this week that cutting property and business taxes as Scott has promised is not on the Senate's agenda (this from an ardent fiscal conservative who's running for the U.S. Senate, but who is staring at a $3.5-billion budget shortfall).

The press is restless, too. Last weekend, Scott invited several reporters to the Governor's Mansion for a friendly, off-the-record, get-acquainted dinner, but the era of good feeling didn't last long.

The capital press corps asked for a meeting with Scott's communications director, Brian Burgess, this week.

In the governor's conference room, reporters complained about access-restricting "pool" coverage of news events that past governors allowed all reporters to attend, and bristled at the administration's desire to hand-pick which reporters pool events for others. Burgess listened closely, but the two sides' differences remained unresolved.

The new state agriculture commissioner, Republican Adam Putnam, this week came out against an Arizona-style anti-immigration law, the kind Scott endorsed as a candidate. Putnam's jurisdiction touches on farms that employ lots of undocumented immigrants, but he spoke of how immigration can spawn a "mecca of human capital" in America.

The former congressman from Bartow said immigration is a national, not a state, concern, and that copying Arizona's model would be a mistake that could threaten Florida's image as a "welcoming" place to tourists and immigrants.

"Arizona is a border state," Putnam said. "I don't think we ought to cut and paste the Arizona law for Florida."

Then there's Scott's targeting of bureaucratic rules.

He tried to get agencies not under his control to abide by his executive order freezing most new rules and regulations.

Uh-oh. All three newly-elected Cabinet officers, Republicans who campaigned alongside Scott enthusiastically last fall, said no to the idea.

The three are independent officeholders who will convene with Scott publicly for the first time next Wednesday, the first gathering of the new-look Cabinet.

All in all, Scott's first two weeks in office are a case study in how governing can be disorderly and messy at times.

That's just the way democracy is.

Steve Bousquet can be reached at bousquet@sptimes.com or (850) 224-7263.

Gov. Rick Scott is straining so far to get his arms around Tallahassee 01/14/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 14, 2011 9:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans

    Blogs

    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 ...

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

    Blogs

    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.

  3. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

    Nation

    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  4. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies

    News

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  5. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win

    Colleges

    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.