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Today on Context Florida: High-functioning Democrats, Escambia ZIP Codes and identity theft

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Today on Context Florida:

According to Daniel Tilson, the 99 percent of us who haven’t benefited from — and in many cases have been harmed or held back by — almost 20 years of increasingly conservative Republican domination of Florida government and public policy, deserve and desperately need a high-functioning opposition party with a specific plan and timeframe for restoring political and legislative balance to our state. After all, independent and Republican 99-percenters benefit just as much as Democrats do from legislative negotiation and public policy compromise. The center holds, so to speak. So, how the hell does the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) get there, from here?

Can we tell your future from your ZIP code, asks Shannon Nickinson. To hear Rick Harper tell it, those five numbers may be the closest thing to a crystal ball that we are likely to get for the moment. Harper, the University of West Florida’s assistant vice president for Economic Development and senior fellow of the Studer Community Institute, has spoken on several occasions about the effect of research that shows the limitations of social mobility in the Pensacola metro area. The New York Times recently used an interactive map that ranked America’s counties in terms of economic prospects. Escambia did not fare well.

Janelle Irwin welcomes us to another installation of “her bad luck is your source for information!” When a prepaid debit card arrived via the mail in her 11-year old daughter’s name, a past experience with identity theft left Irwin feeling she had all the answers and would breeze through the process with just a tinge of frustration. How wrong she was. First of all, it was not Irwin’s identity that was stolen; it was her daughter’s. That means although she can make the telephone calls on her own behalf and answer questions to verify her own identity, Irwin couldn’t for her daughter.

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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