Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

(1) How to complain to the Legislature and (2) Boo to Democrats

First, some followup.

Many readers asked for the bill number, and exact instructions on how to e-mail or call their legislator, in response to Sunday's column about "leadership funds" in the Legislature.

Sure. The bill is House Bill 1207 from the 2010 session of the Legislature. It was vetoed last year by then-Gov. Charlie Crist. But it came back this year when the Legislature overrode the veto March 24.

(They reuse the bill numbers each year, so remember this is the 2010 bill.)

As for calling or e-mailing your legislator, you can find all the information on the websites of the Senate and House:

Click on "senators" or "representatives" to get a list. On their individual pages, senators have an e-mail address in the left-hand column, and representatives have an e-mail link under their photo.

If you do get a reply, it will probably say that (1) it was a good bill (2) the bill does not really legalize bribery of the Legislature and (3) the bill actually makes our political system more "transparent."

In truth, the bill brings back an old practice from Florida's corrupt past that has been illegal in our state for more than two decades.

It is now legal to pay off the Florida Legislature directly through these "leadership funds" run by the people who are writing the laws of Florida. There are no two ways about it. This is how the 2011 Legislature will go down in the history books.

The Legislature should repeal this law before it is scheduled to adjourn next week. The people of Florida should rise up and force it to do so.

• • •

The other day a Republican member of Congress from Wisconsin named Paul Ryan came up with a plan for attacking our national debt, including changes to Medicare. It made national news.

For people under 55 — I said, for people under 55 — Ryan's idea is to have them pay premiums to private companies to get coverage starting in the year 2022. People who needed financial assistance would get it.

Now, what did the Democrats say to this?

Here is what they did not say. They did not say:

"Great idea! Let's pass it."

Or: "We agree with you we need to do something, although we are not sure we like your exact plan."

Or even: "That is a bad idea, and here is what we want to do instead."

Nope. The national Democrats immediately launched an ad campaign across the country accusing the Republicans of trying to "end Medicare." Ads ran in several districts in Florida, including one against Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores.

A TV ad depicted elderly "victims" (remember, this idea applies to those 55 and younger) being forced to mow lawns. This earned a "Pants on Fire" ruling from my friends at PolitiFact.

I suppose you could say this is payback for the Republicans accusing President Barack Obama of wanting "death panels" to ration care. Yet there are common themes between Ryan's ideas and Obama's.

This is a perfect example of how toxic and hopeless our national politics have become. All that matters is attacking the Other Side.

Meanwhile, we keep spending three dollars for every two dollars we take in. This is because we are idiots. The history books will show that, too.

(1) How to complain to the Legislature and (2) Boo to Democrats 04/25/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 25, 2011 5:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Quarterback Jameis Winston will start Sunday for the Bucs


    TAMPA — Jameis Winston hadn't thrown in practice since he injured his right shoulder in Sunday's loss at Arizona, and with that uncertainty, a wide line of TV cameras and reporters' cellphones were all out Friday morning, recording the moment as Winston tested his shoulder with his first throws early in …

    Despite a sore shoulder, Jameis Winston will be making his 38th consecutive start since being drafted first overall in 2015.
  2. Paul Rodgers replacing ZZ Top on Ribfest 2017 lineup


    In looking to replace the ailing ZZ Top, Ribfest found some good company in Bad Company.

    Paul Rodgers
  3. Some teachers allege 'hostile and racially charged' workplace at Pinellas Park Middle


    PINELLAS PARK — Two black teachers at Pinellas Park Middle have requested transfers out of the school, alleging the work environment there has become "hostile and racially charged."

    Pinellas Park Middle School at 6940 70th Ave N, where some black teachers have alleged they were treated with hostility by colleagues after starting a tutoring program for black students. Just 22 percent of black students were proficient in English language arts in last spring's state tests. Two black teachers have asked to be transfered, according to a letter from two local chapters of the NAACP. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  4. Editorial: The unknown price tags in the mayor's race


    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has been busy promoting all sorts initiatives in the months leading up to the Nov. 7 election, doubling down on his progressive agenda without spending much money or generating much controversy. But make no mistake, the cost will come due after the election. Without a change in …

    The mayor is determined to get artist Janet Echelman to create a sculpture for the new Pier. But the cost would be much higher than what is allocated. Above is Echelman’s As If It Were Already Here in Boston.
  5. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times