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Today on Context Florida: Ted Cruz eligibility, state Senate maps, recreational marijuana and Florida’s competitive future

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Today on Context Florida:

Martin Dyckman asks the question that needs to be resolved in 2016: is Ted Cruz eligible to be president? Waking today, Rip Van Winkle would behold the scary sight of Donald Trump, a pompous ass, racist demagogue and a shameless liar, duking it out with a senator, Ted Cruz, who is so disliked and distrusted by his own party that no GOP governor or colleague will endorse him. Most people with an opinion on the matter say Cruz is eligible, but it’s not open and shut. There are doubts and dissents among such experts as Lawrence Tribe, the Harvard law professor who taught both Cruz and Barack Obama.

Steve Schale discusses the new State Senate maps. There is no question the maps are good news for Democrats. But how much good news? Schale says the answer is pretty straightforward: The Democrats will do as well as they recruit good candidates and run smart campaigns. Looking at the maps, he uses all new district numbers, and President Barack Obama 2012 numbers, since every seat will be contested in this presidential cycle.

Bill Day’s latest:


Chris Timmons says it’s time for Florida to make recreational marijuana legal. According to a recent Pew Research survey, 53 percent of Americans support legalization. Baby Boomers are evenly divided: 50 percent support it, 47 percent oppose it. Millennials support legalization by 68 percent. However, only 39 percent of Republicans support legalization. Perhaps for the reason conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks offered in 2014: “I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.”

Ed Moore believes Florida should be aiming toward a competitive future. We live in a competitive world. Companies compete for our attention as consumers, and each state competes with all the others to entice those companies to move to their state. However, for Florida to attract new businesses, we must better market Florida domestically, nationally and globally. Florida’s low taxes and natural resources attract new residents, tourists and business people who are seeking the best location in America. Our challenge is to enhance, preserve and manage the state wisely for the 20 million people who live here today, the millions more who will move here in the decades ahead, and the hundreds of millions of tourists who visit each year. So, maybe we should modify that marketing strategy.  To really market Florida well, we need to stress location, assets and education. We need to change some misconceptions about our state.

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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