Today on Context Florida: Labor Day, NFL suspensions, social media and Steve Crisafulli

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Today on Context Florida:

If trade unions represented and protected most of Florida’s lower and middle-income working families, Daniel Tilson says that Labor Day would be one hell of a big, statewide block party. Imagine a hugely enlarged, empowered and politically engaged Florida Middle Class, with labor unions helping them and their employers succeed and thrive, turning working poor people on public assistance into independent consumers capable of contributing to economic growth, and shared, sustained prosperity.

Bob Sparks points out that from time to time, players in all major sports are suspended; but in the cases Josh Gordon, a premier wide receiverfor the Cleveland Browns, and star running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens, they illustrate a problem in professional football. Gordon’s suspension is the result of testing positive for marijuana use on more than one occasion. Rice was banished for two weeks because he knocked out his fiancée with a punch.

Bob West, former Florida House Redistricting Committee Policy Chief, writes that candidates must learn how to use social media effectively, and provides two recent successful examples – the House campaigns of Jay Trumbull and Jay Fant.

Incoming House Speaker Steve Crisafulli says waterways and natural spaces are not just objects of beauty, but foundational to the health of our two “ecos” — Florida’s ecosystem and Florida’s economy. He writes that for the past two years, the Legislature has increased funding for the Florida Forever program. In fiscal year 2013-14, they provided $81.8 million, representing a 90 percent increase over 2012-13. This year, they added another $57.5 million.

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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.