Based on what we know, there seem to be two possible conclusions about Gerald Bailey's departure as head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
1. Gov. Rick Scott and/or his staff got approval from a Cabinet member, or Cabinet staff, to force Bailey's resignation. If this was the case, it would appear to be a clear violation of the Sunshine Law that requires such matters to be discussed in a public forum....
So another holdout has fallen. Another state has seen the light.
Indiana's plan to use Medicaid expansion funds was approved by the federal government on Tuesday, bringing the total number of participating states to 28.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, seven more states are working on expansion plans, leaving Florida among a dwindling minority of health care agnostics.
And it's certainly an interesting crowd to be lumped in....
01/26/15 Local Government
(But also realistic.)
(But don't nitpick.)
(But, for heaven's sake, have the courage, wisdom and foresight to actually make a decision of consequence on the city's future.)
Yes, it's time once again for the City Council to address a new police headquarters in St. Petersburg. The debate is not in the necessity, but in the details....
Two years ago, your state Legislature passed a law that was either remarkably foolish or remarkably cynical. Either way, it had the potential to cost you dearly.
Lawmakers decided at the time to handcuff the state insurance commissioner when it came to regulating health insurance rates. In essence, they told him not to do his job.
Their excuse was that the Affordable Care Act was just being implemented, and it would be better for the federal government to regulate insurance prices....
The words were polite and the tone was measured, but the message Gov. Rick Scott delivered in a letter to Jeff Atwater seems unmistakable:
And while the letter was addressed to the state's chief financial officer, it might as well have gone to every politician in Tallahassee and every voter in Florida.
For what Scott really did was draw a line in the sand and ask if anyone was tough enough to cross it....
01/19/15 Human Interest
This time of year, the life of a CPA can't be easy.
As the calendar creeps toward April 15, there are questions to be answered, forms to be filled out and regulations to be researched.
And, in between all of those tax concerns, a good CPA still has to find time to return calls from the Yankees, Red Sox, Giants and Dodgers.
Of course, David Hastings' practice might be unique on that last issue. The former Gulfport City Council member not only has his own group of faithful clients, he has also become the most popular accountant in major-league baseball in recent weeks....
The governor and the reformers showed up in South Florida last week on back-to-back days, each stressing the future of education and the importance of parental empowerment.
And at least one side actually meant it.
I suppose that's a cheap shot, but it does have the virtue of accuracy.
Gov. Rick Scott, along with a lot of other leaders in Tallahassee, talks passionately about the necessity of parental choice in public education....
Do not be fooled by the headlines.
This Florida Department of Law Enforcement scandal is far more complex than it seems. And before you go accusing state leaders of being bald-faced, unrepentant liars, you might want to consider all of the possible motivations and all of the potential ramifications.
Just to review, it seems Gov. Rick Scott wanted everyone to believe longtime FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey decided to resign abruptly in December without any notice or explanation. Scott said as much when asked direct questions about it on Tuesday....
The short life and cruel death of Phoebe Jonchuck has touched us all.
It was so unnecessary, heinous and inconceivable that we're caught somewhere between anger and grief. All we know for sure is someone has to pay, and something has to change. That reaction is natural. Certainly cathartic.
But it cannot be the entirety of the conversation.
Because Phoebe Jonchuck was not the first child to die at the hands of a parent in this state. She was not the first to endure an unsettled childhood....
He was never getting out of that place alive.
They had made sure of that in the past, and were prepared to speak up again last week.
Sammie Lee Mathis had already spent 34 years in prison for gunning down St. Petersburg police Detective Herbert Sullivan during an undercover drug deal, and Sullivan's friends would not allow a single parole hearing to pass without their voices being raised....
He could have done an end zone victory dance.
Rick Scott could have taunted critics, high-fived the zealots and spiked the teleprompter at the end of his inauguration speech on Tuesday.
The stage was his, and the victory was too. He had survived all the snide remarks and all the polls saying he was the most unpopular governor in the land.
So who would have blamed him if he had taken a moment to preen, gloat and talk a little smack?...
01/05/15 Local Government
Consider this a revival. Or an homage.
Or, perhaps, just a cheesy rip-off of someone else's idea.
For those of you who recall Times columnist extraordinaire Howard Troxler (and based on the number of disgruntled emails I receive, most of you remember him fondly and well) he often started a new year with a series of predictions disguised as a multiple choice quiz.
In honor of Howard, we're bringing the New Year's quiz back after a six-year hiatus. And, this time, we're asking you to participate....
01/03/15 Human Interest
Close your eyes and make a wish, they would tell him.
His family is singing and the candles are burning. It's rural South Carolina in the 1980s, and it's a perfectly festive birthday party for a teenager named Stratton Pollitzer.
Everything is as it should be, except for what no one can know. And so the boy of the hour keeps his secret hidden from everyone nearby.
Turns out the world can be a lonely and dangerous place for a gay teen in the conservative South, and Pollitzer feared his life was forever destined to this uneasy solitude....
A recap of the second half of 2014 with real and not-so-real items and observations. And danged if I can tell the difference.
• In a "tell-all'' book, former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll describes Gov. Rick Scott as distant and cold. This revelation was almost as shocking as Cinderella's memoir that accused her stepmother of being demanding.
• Norm Roche becomes the third Pinellas County commissioner to be voted out after opposing fluoride in the county's water supply, finally ending the GOP's dominance of the board. In other words, it took just a few years for dentists to accomplish what Democrats failed to do in 50 years....
Hello, old friend.
It has been a long time. Judging by the standings, maybe too long.
A stadium has been torn down, and the original owner has long since passed. A half-dozen coaches have come and gone, and plenty of quarterbacks have departed, too.
And now, almost 28 years later, the NFL's No. 1 draft pick has finally returned to Tampa Bay. So let me be the first to say welcome back....