Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Today on Context Florida: The Republican problem, Rick Scott & the environment, unfairness in politics and Key West parking

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Today on Context Florida:

As a preacher’s kid who grew up in the South, Jac VerSteeg values politeness. It is a given that, when you encounter a governor in a coffee shop, you do not yell, “You are an a**hole!” Nevertheless, Cara Jennings’ crude outburst in a Gainesville Starbucks provides an insight that if taken to heart might benefit the Republican Party, whose presidential frontrunners are Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. The party has an a**hole problem.

Diane Roberts asks if you wonder what will be left of natural Florida when Rick Scott slithers out of the Governor’s Mansion for the last time? Not all of our environmental degradation happened on Scott’s watch. Previous governors have had a hand in it, too. Yes, he signed off on $200 million for the Everglades this year. Hooray. But Roberts also notes that Scott fought measurable clean water standards, siding with polluters at every turn. In 2015, he refused to support buying the U.S. Sugar land — land Big Shug now may want to develop — that would have gone a long way toward restoring the River of Grass.

Ben Pollara is not a big fan of sports metaphors or former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, but both can be used to demonstrate the inanity and intellectual dishonesty driving the cries of unfairness coming out of the campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Both are pushing similar messages about their respective parties’ nominating and delegate allocation processes, and those messages are either dishonest or demonstrate ignorance of said processes. Or both, Pollara supposes.

For Linda Cunningham, the most popular tourist game in Key West these days is searching for that single, illusive parking spot. Top down on the signature rented orange Camaro, there they go around the block, the one riding shotgun pointing to, oops, not that one. If locals talk ceaselessly about traffic, they can come to blows over parking spaces. If your house comes with an off-street parking space, you can expect it to add $10,000 to the selling price.

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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