07 May 2011

Rick Scott trying to polish Florida's image? Not!

Just recently I had the honor of seeing my nephew graduate from Florida State University in Tallahassee. It was an excellent graduation ceremony.

While the graduation ceremony took place in Tallahassee (the nerve center of everything the State of Florida) I had to stay in Valdosta, across the state line in Georgia. After all, the closer you got to Tallahassee on graduation weekend you are faced with either sold out hotel rooms or if there were any hotel rooms left, be prepared to pay a hefty premium. In fact, when I planned my trip back in early January 2011 (right after I got word that my nephew would be graduating this year) the only hotel room I could find near Tallahassee was in Quincy. The asking price: $200 a night! I said to myself, try Valdosta - only 80 miles from Tallahassee.

And I proved myself right. I found a hotel room in Valdosta for $99 a night. At least it was a decent hotel priced just right for my wallet.

The day I left Valdosta for St. Petersburg, I decide on taking a longer way back home instead of reliable Interstate 75 which would take me on US 84 east to Waycross, then south on US 1 to the town of Folkston. After all, Folkston is where all rail traffic headed to Florida passes through including the two Amtrak trains that serve Florida, the only exception is trains that come from the west directly into Jacksonville.

After an hour of train watching in Folkston, it was time to head towards Interstate 95 south which would take me through Jacksonville and the eastern terminus of Interstate 4 in Daytona Beach, then west on Interstate 4 towards St. Petersburg through Orlando and Tampa. Once I crossed the St. Mary's River and over the state line into my home state of Florida, this is what I found:

What? Rick Scott plastering his name at the entrance to our great State of Florida?

I better verify that. Let me stop at the State of Florida Welcome Center on Interstate 95 south to confirm this:

No other Florida governor - Bob Graham, Bob Martinez, Lawton Chiles, Jeb Bush or even Charlie Crist - ever put their names below a Welcome to Florida sign at the state line. As a lifelong Floridian, I was extremely flabbergasted and disgusted as I think Rick Scott is trying to polish the image of the State of Florida to our visitors while at the same time Rick Scott is doing everything to destroy the State of Florida as we know it.

I went inside the Florida Welcome Center to pick up my obligatory sample of orange juice. After a few minutes, I got back onto Interstate 95 towards home. After all, Rick Scott threw approximately 25,000 potential jobs in the trash can when he rejected the federal money for high speed rail. If you want proof, take a ride on Interstate 4 between Tampa and Orlando and look at the wide median: That wide median is the spot where the high speed rail would have been located.

Besides, the State of Florida is slowly being taken away from the people of this great state. Rick Scott is proving this point by plastering his name at the principal entrances to the State of Florida. Rick Scott's "let's get to work" mantra is nothing:

To the family whose home value is underwater and struggling to pay the mortgage.
To the state employee (including law enforcement and teachers) who is thinking, will I have a job tomorrow?
To children who want a decent education rather than constant drill and practice for the annual FCAT test.
To people who are looking for work.
To people who are subjected to discrimination when looking for work.
To a homeowner having to pay steep homeowners insurance premiums, especially when the insurer is Citizens.
To the school administrator (including school principals) who has had more pressure added to his or her workload now that FCAT scores are tied to school performance.
And the list goes on and on...

We need to take back our State of Florida, before it is too late. Now that the 2011 Florida Legislature has adjourned for the year it appears that HJR 785 - the bill that would place a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot paving the way for the recall of Rick Scott - did not pass. However, what we can do as Florida residents is to get a citizen initiative going to get this important amendment into the Constitution of the State of Florida and hold our state leaders - including the governor and top cabinet officials - responsible and accountable to the people of this great state.

After all, California did it in 2003. Why can't Florida?

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