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Today on Context Florida: Lucius Cornelius Sulla & Richard Corcoran, outside agency funding and MPO choices

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Today on Context Florida:

Before Augustus and Marc Antony and before Julius Caesar, Spartacus, and everyone else you can barely remember from Latin class, Peter Schorsch says there was dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Florida House Speaker Designate Richard Corcoran is obviously not a Roman dictator, but like Sulla, he has made a long climb up through Florida politics to become speaker of the Florida House. This march hasn’t exactly been brutal, but it hasn’t been easy, either. Schorsch believes that what Corcoran is now proposing – with his call for dramatic reforms to the revolving door of state politics – is the modern day, political equivalent of marching his troops on Rome.

It’s easy to tell what a government values, says Shannon Nickinson. What it values is what it funds. Escambia County Commissioners were to talk more about their values on Tuesday – in the form of the $412 million overall budget before them. It will be the second public hearing on the document, which includes requests for $11 million in “outside agency funding” — the things that help local governments fulfill not just the letter of the law, but also the spirit of it.

Martin County’s Metropolitan Planning Organization gets an “A” for effort in trying to get residents involved in deciding how the state should spend money for building roads, bike paths and trails in the county. Residents at the open house, playing the clicker game, decided maintaining existing roads is No. 1. Turning spending $228 million into a “game” to gather public opinion is not a bad idea, says Sally Swartz, but in December, they will know whether it changes anything or merely serves as a distraction to stop people from complaining about MPO choices.

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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.

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