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Bruce Ritchie

Perhaps DEP’s Jon Steverson will tell the Cabinet what is going on in Palatka

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DEP Secretary Jon Steverson says he has never fired anyone for enforcing the law. Yet his fingerprints – or at least tacit backing – are all over the ouster of top staff at the St. Johns River Water Management District. The resignations of Executive Director Hans Tanzler and four top staff members at the district, based in Palatka, has prompted criticism from environmentalists and newspaper editorial writers about political interference from Tallahassee. Dinah Voyles Pulver of the Daytona Beach News…

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Today on Context Florida: Scott’s commissions, commencements, cheaters and secrecy

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Today on Context Florida: Daniel Tilson wants in on Rick Scott’s new healthcare commission. Poetic justice aside, Tilson believes he is uniquely qualified to help the cause. The cause he’d push to get lots more reasonably intelligent and relevantly experienced everyday people sitting on commissions like this one. Because the more we get folks from all walks of Florida life involved in public policy development, the less that hidden agendas in high-priced suits can control the process. It’s commencement season, but…

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Bruce Ritchie: Enough secrecy! After voting on water plan, tri-state rivers group should vote to disband

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A group calling itself ACF Stakeholders was formed in 2010 with great promise in trying to create consensus among the various user groups along the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint (ACF) rivers. But when the group meets in Florida next week, it should vote to disband. Because the river system and the people who depend on it don’t need any more secrecy. And that’s what the group now seems to be largely about. ACF Stakeholders started off with great promise, in…

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Today on Context Florida: stupid & evil, environmentalists, judicial campaigns and voter choice

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Today on Context Florida: Diane Roberts asks which is worse: stupid and evil, or smart and evil. It’s a thought experiment: you can apply it to, say, George W. and Jeb Bush, Rick Scott and Adam Putnam, the Florida House, etc. They don’t deserve to be in the same paragraph as the word “thought,” she says. As Bruce Ritchie was sitting in the press gallery looking down into the darkened Senate chambers on the last day of the 2015 Legislative Session,…

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Bruce Ritchie: Environmentalists think lack of legislation could be a good thing

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As I was sitting in the press gallery looking down into the darkened Senate chambers on the last day of the 2015 Legislative session, I was reminded of how the environment usually seems to lose amid debate and controversy. The O.J. Simpson trial. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Michael Jackson’s death. A police shooting in Ferguson, Mo. When these incidents happen, discussion and debate about environmental issues gets pushed off the evening news and forced into the back pages of…

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Today on Context Florida: Scott’s conscience, taxing sunshine, healthcare conspiracy and testing reform

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Today on Context Florida: Two years ago, Gov. Rick Scott announced support for expanding access to healthcare in Florida saying he, “in good conscience,” could not deny the uninsured access to care. Fast forward to 2015 and he is opposed to a plan to close Florida’s coverage gap endorsed by the entire Florida Senate, Democrats and Republicans alike. After this latest about-face, Mark Ferrulo wonders whether Scott even has a conscience. Bruce Ritchie asks whether there is there a fair way…

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Today on Context Florida: Environmental disappointments, Loretta Lynch, Skip Foster and healthcare

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Today on Context Florida: What began as the “year of the environment” for the 2015 legislative session has turned into a year of disappointment for many environmentalists, says Bruce Ritchie. Amendment 1 and statewide water policy were major issues heading into the session, with growth management also emerging once the opening gavel dropped. The House-proposed spending plan includes at least $10 million for land buying – House leaders say $205 million for the Florida Forever program – while the Senate proposes…

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