Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Today on Context Florida: Rick Scott, Florida open for business, old people & sea levels and removing dams

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Today on Context Florida:

Martin Dyckman says Rick Scott simply doesn’t know when to shut up. There was once a senator from Virginia who was dismayed to find his picture on the cover of New Times magazine under the headline “the dumbest congressman of them all.” He called a news conference to deny it, thereby proving it to be true. His name was Scott. William Scott. You can probably guess where this is going, Dyckman explains. From that day in 1974 to now, no public official has so witlessly confirmed the substance of a harsh criticism as Florida Gov. Rick Scott did the other day.

Driving into Florida from any of our contiguous states, you’re treated to a sign cheerily announcing “Welcome to Florida!” – with an image of an orange and Gov. Rick Scott’s name. Beneath those big signs are smaller signs that appear to be tacked on as an afterthought. Placed there, no doubt at Scott’s direction, are markers that hold forth this promise: “Open for Business.” Is the Sunshine State really the business-friendly nirvana promoted by our governor, Peter Schorsch asks. If a friend’s recent experience in simply forming a corporation is any indication, Schorsch says that Florida ranks somewhere between Nigeria and North Korea as a government least equipped to foster business growth.

Given our graying population and rising sea levels, Linda Cunningham believes Florida should be the role model for managing old people and coping with flooding backyards. We aren’t, though, in fairness to Florida, neither is any other state.

Earlier this month Leslie Poole stood in breathless awe, witnessing a “miracle” of modern technology — a wild-running Elwha River in northwestern Washington State. She considers it a wonder because just 10 years ago the Elwha was a river in trouble. Starting in 2011 at the cost of $324 million, to dams placed in the early 1900s were slowly removed, and the results are no less than spectacular. Removing dams and restoring rivers is part of a new environmental ethos embraced by citizens and governments that recognize the long-term benefit of natural systems and fisheries. Now it’s time for a similar story in North Florida.

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 HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, 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 phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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