Saturday, June 23, 2018
Opinion

Daniel Ruth: Candidate Corcoran raises Tallahassee time-wasting to new levels

Yowza! Yowza! Yowza! Step right up to witness the Amazing Two-Faced Corcoran! You’ll be thrilled! You’ll be amazed! You’ll be bumfuzzled by Tallahassee’s most cravenly ambitious pol since Marco Rubio was in knickers, which was only last week come to think it.

We poor Sad Sacks in Florida are afflicted by two distinct dangers to the common good. For the Florida Legislature is in session. (Oh boy!) And this is also an election year. (Oh dear!)

And that means a number of Tallahassee’s elected grifters are vying for higher office, most notably House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-It’s All About Me!

Corcoran has made little secret over the fact he would like to be next governor. And thus he has made his (thankfully) last year as leader of the House more about getting another job than actually doing the job he was elected to do.

The speaker has amassed a considerable campaign war chest and pursued a legislative agenda aimed at shoring up his alleged conservative credentials to outflank rivals — Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis. No small accomplishment there.

To that end, Corcoran has initiated a needless war on Florida cities by introducing a package of measures to undermine the ability of municipalities — such as Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and all the city halls in between — to manage their own affairs.

The Boss Hogg of the Florida Legislature has proposed a ban on so-called sanctuary cities, limiting subsidies to sports franchises, new restrictions on the ability of cities to raise taxes, and higher standards of ethical behavior for local officials.

Of course, anyone from Tallahassee lecturing city officials on how to be more ethical is a bit like Donald Trump setting himself up as an arbiter of marital fidelity.

One of the great political divides in this country is the debate over states’ rights, with Republicans arguing it should be the states who understand the needs of their citizens and thus should be allowed to implement their own policies over education, taxation and the like, rather than the mean old oppressive federal government.

Florida, too, has had a similar discussion over Home Rule, the idea largely supported by Republicans that cities ought to be allowed to implement programs and policies that best meet the needs of their citizens. Fair enough.

Under Corcoran’s budding dictatorial plan, cities would find their ability to manage themselves curtailed under the fat thumb of a gubernatorial wannabe.

There’s a better way to approach all this, without a nattering Richard Corcoran sticking his nose into a city’s affairs. It’s called democracy and its all the rage except in the speaker’s office.

If Mayor Rick Kriseman wants to designate St. Petersburg as a sanctuary city, or Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn wants to build a light rail system through his town, there is a simple solution. Have a vote. Let the citizens decide for themselves if they want to protect illegal immigrants, or tax themselves to improve transportation, or even help build a baseball stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s their city, their money, after all. Not Corcoran’s.

By Corcoran’s reckoning, cities can’t be trusted to govern themselves. Instead, they need a hustling career politician who has never managed anything except his own hubris to tell them how to behave.

Here’s the real rub. For all of Corcoran’s hypocritical grandstanding, it is more than probable none of his self-serving phooey will ever become law.

That’s because, to paraphrase Willy Loman, he is all too well-known in Tallahassee, and especially in the Florida Senate, which heretofore has regarded the speaker’s ham-handed efforts to puff himself up with a shrug and a, "Yeah, well, whatever."

Or put another way, Corcoran’s blustering assault on Home Rule is really nothing more than a Tallahassee caterwauling waste of everybody’s time.

So what else is new?

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