Today on Context Florida: Money pitches, peaceful elections, Cost of Freedom and Veterans Day

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Today on Context Florida:

The election campaign was not altogether a disaster. It revealed that Martin Dyckman has more friends asking for money than he could have imagined. Michelle. Barack. Joe (as in Biden.) Wendy (as in Davis.) Robert (as in Redford.) Al (as in Franken.) Harry (as in Reid.) Even Scarlett. As in Johansson. Professional campaign fund-raisers wrote them, instructing computers to address everyone by first names.

In a world still filled with civil wars and religiously motivated slaughter, Julie Delegal says conducting peaceful elections is no small thing. It turns out that the GOP didn’t need any bullets, though. Instead, they used their bankrolled brainchild, born in 2010: Project REDMAP. An initiative to re-draw the election maps to benefit GOP candidates during the once-per-decade redistricting process required of each state legislature, Project REDMAP has achieved its objective.

Several thousand Tallahassee-area residents honored veterans by viewing the Cost of Freedom Tribute, writes Andrew Skerritt. Dominating the Tribute was what is billed as the largest traveling Vietnam War Memorial. For most people, they will just be names on a granite wall, but in essence, they’ve always been more than that.

The results of the Nov. 4 general election brought one new County Commissioner to Escambia County, though Shannon Nickinson notes that all of the political blood sport in that race was contained to the primary election. The Escambia Commission now has four members under 50. The mayors of Pensacola and Milton, Ashton J. Hayward and Wes Meiss, both fall into that age group.

On Tuesday, Dominic Calabro says to be sure to thank a Florida veteran. It shouldn’t be too difficult to track one down, as Florida is home to more than 1.6 million veterans. That’s one in every 12 adults. It’s no surprise that the state has the third-largest veteran population in the nation, because Florida policymakers have worked hard to make Florida the most veteran-friendly state.

When Ben Pollara debated Barney Bishop a few weeks ago in Miami, Bishop claimed that he had “smoked more marijuana than everyone in the crowd – combined.” Well, he must have fried his brain doing so, because Pollara says he can’t even put together a coherent thought in a “victory lap” piece like the one published on “Politics of Pot” the day after last week’s election. Let’s start by clarifying something: Floridians want medical marijuana.

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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.