Today on Context Florida: Coffee-shop polling, Adrian Wyllie, lone-wolves and constitutions

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Today on Context Florida:

To take the pulse of public sentiment about something or someone in Florida politics, Daniel Tilson would rather eavesdrop on strangers’ coffee shop conversations than pour over the latest polls. An anecdotal move, to be sure, and one that will never replace scientific polling. But Tilson says it provides invaluable insight and deeper understanding of what’s really going on in people’s minds when they answer poll questions.

On Wednesday, there will be a televised live debate between Charlie Crist and Rick Scott — and possibly Adrian Wyllie. Did he make the cut, Steve Vancore asks. In a simple assessment of whether Wyllie has met the mark, Vancore’s estimates that he has not.

Peter Schorsch notes the botched handling of an Ebola victim, videos of police violence, arson-caused wildfires and ISIS threats, among others, are fueling a sense of vulnerability among Americans to the deeds of the “lone wolf” operator. When the dust settles from this election cycle and public officials get back to the hard work of protecting our citizens, Florida’s elected officials need to seriously consider the implications of lone-wolf attacks and come up with a plan to harden our infrastructure.

A constitution should deal only with the fundamental principles of democracy and the manner of running the government, says Martin Dyckman. There is the problem that once something is amended into it — written in stone, as they say — it is terribly hard to fix it if it turns out to be flawed. The public deserves an opportunity to adopt ordinary laws by initiative, not just constitutional amendments.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.