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. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. Sue Carlton: Job or family when a hurricane's coming — a very Florida conundrum

    Hurricanes

    It must seem as foreign to Northerners as shoveling snow is to those of us raised in the Sunshine State: The very-Florida conundrum of having to choose between work and family — between paycheck and personal safety — when a hurricane comes.

    A hurricane helps the rest of us acknowledge the police officers, paramedics, hospital personnel, public works employees and others who stay on the job despite the storm. 
  3. After Tampa concert, Arcade Fire members party, preach politics at Crowbar

    Blogs

    After waiting more than a decade for Arcade Fire’s first appearance in Tampa, fans didn’t have to wait long for their second.

    DJ Windows 98, a.k.a. singer Win Butler of Arcade Fire, performed at a "Disco Town Hall" at Crowbar following the band's concert at the USF Sun Dome on Sept. 22, 2017.
  4. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

    Blogs

    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  5. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.