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Today on Context Florida: Love & government, vote solar, America’s greatness and virtual public schools

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Today on Context Florida:

Darryl Paulson offers a warning – never mix love and government. In 1868, Florida passed a law making it illegal for a “Negro man and a white woman … who are not married to each other … to habitually live in and occupy in the nighttime the same room.” Violation of the law was a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Florida also made it illegal for such individuals to marry. The intent was not so much to prevent illegal cohabitation, as it was to prevent interracial sex and marriage. A majority of states passed similar Laws. The law was seldom enforced over the last half-century. In 1979, Florida suspended the liquor license of a company after a half-dozen employees were found to have violated the law.

Jim Kallinger and Dick Batchelor, co-chairs of Consumers for Smart Solar, calls on Floridians to vote “Yes on 1 for the Sun.” Amendment 1 was put on the ballot with more than a million signatures gathered in just five months, and it enjoys the support of 73 percent of Florida voters, with strong support from every demographic, geographic and political subgroup of voters. The reason for this strong support is clear. Amendment 1 ensures that Floridians will always have the right to own their own solar equipment and generate their own electricity. It also makes sure that solar has to play by the same consumer protection rules as other energy sources. And, because it puts these rights and protections into Florida’s Constitution, neither policymakers nor special interest groups will be able to weaken them in the future.

Ed Moore asks: is America still a great nation? More is beginning to think Americans are tending to live more in the present than they do by thinking of the past or planning for the future. Every four years we get enmeshed in a national election that tends to raise the bar of conversation about where we want to be, usually, but this election really reflects more of our daily disruptions instead of our desired aspirations. We are faced with choosing from among four people at this point. Three of them have greater than a 55 percent negative rating in all polls, all the time. Their negatives do not improve.

William Mattox points out the double standards that abound in public education. During high school, his son wanted to take an online course through the Florida Virtual School (FLVS). He’d previously taken several FLVS courses and had appreciated their scheduling flexibility (with FLVS, you could start and finish at any point in the 12-month calendar, do the coursework from anywhere at any time of day, and proceed through the coursework at your own pace). Curiously, Mattox said the local public school tried to steer him away from this FLVS course and toward the same course offered by the Leon County Virtual School. Why did a local school district want so badly for our son to take his online course in a computer lab at his brick-and-mortar school rather than benefiting from all of the flexibility of FLVS? Because the school district got more money that way. It was “all about the money,” Maddox came to learn.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

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.

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