Florida goes down the drain

Gail Collins, New York Times

On Miami Beach, rising sea levels have interesting consequences. The ocean periodically starts bubbling up through local drainpipes. By the time it’s over, the concept of “going down to the water” has extended to stepping off the front porch.

It’s becoming a seasonal event, like swallows at Capistrano or the return of the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio.

“At the spring and fall high tides, we get flooding of coastal areas,” said Leonard Berry, the director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies. “You’ve got saltwater coming up through the drains, into the garages and sidewalks and so on, damaging the Ferraris and the Lexuses.”

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Lodato, Oliver are best for Hernando Commission

Hernando Times

The Hernando County Commission needs new leadership. The reckless majority has gutted county reserves, slashed public services, gotten even cozier with special interests and dumped the cost of servicing growth onto existing taxpayers.

Two seats are up for grabs in November and the electorate should pick candidates motivated to tackle a broad spectrum of concerns instead of focusing exclusively on cutting spending. Commissioners must reside in their district, but they are elected by voters countywide.

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Koller for Congress! Says People Aren’t Being Represented

Hernando Times

koller1

As Republican U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent seeks his third term in Congress, once again he has cruised into the November general election to face a Democratic challenger with considerably less money and who lacks the support of a party focused on more competitive races.

While Nugent boasts $284,000 in contributions, opponent David Koller of Ocala has $32,000 — a large portion of it from his own pocket. Koller admits that he has received no support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and that his own initial informal polls showed him tied with “pressing the wrong button” on the telephone.

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Should Controversial Rezoning Ruling for Marina Stand?

Hernando Times

Hernando County and the owner of Blue Pelican Marina argue that the controversial rezoning at the marina should stand because the attorney for residents who have challenged it used improper legal filings and arguments.

In court papers filed this week, deputy county attorney Jon Jouben and marina attorney Joe Mason detail why they believe arguments that Hernando County Commission Chairman Wayne Dukes had a conflict of interest because of a business relationship with the marina and that the commission ruling was tainted by the information commissioners had on the rezoning before the hearing fall flat.

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Order vs. Disorder, Part 4

Thomas Friedman, New York Times

Tom Friedman

I’ve been arguing for a while now that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to the wider East-West clash of civilizations what Off Broadway is to Broadway. It’s where you can see many trends at a smaller scale first. That is why I study it closely. Whether it is airline-hijacking, suicide-bombing or trying to do nation-building with the other — Israelis called it “Lebanon invasion” and “Oslo”; we called it “Iraq” and “Afghanistan” — what happens there often moves to the larger stage. So, as I have asked before: What’s playing Off Broadway now?

It’s a play called “Containment.” When faced with a barrage of rockets from the Hamas militants in Gaza, Israel largely retaliated with artillery and air power. These inflicted enough pain on Hamas and the Gaza civilian population that Hamas eventually agreed to a cease-fire — but not to surrender.

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Stop your whining, Floridians, and obey your monopoly

Robert Trigaux, Tampa Bay Times

Robert Trigaux

If Apple ran its business like Duke Energy in Florida, it would pitch black rotary phones, not the iPhone 6.

If Neil Armstrong worked for Duke Energy in Florida instead of landing on the moon, he would have taken a backward step for a man and done nothing for mankind.

In Florida, what we have is a failure to innovate when it comes to where our electricity comes from. Especially when it comes to Duke Energy. The state’s sorry lack of leadership compounds the problem.

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Does the Florida in Rick Scott’s TV ads have any vacancies?

John Romano, Tampa Bay Times

John Romano

The time has come for me to move on.

I have discovered a new and spectacular locale that defies belief. It is a place where the economy is bustling, and the problems are inconsequential.

People are always smiling, the environment is pristine and no one seems to care about, or need, health insurance of any type.

No doubt about it, I want to live in Rick Scott’s commercials.

Seriously, it looks like everyone has a job in Commercial Florida. And they don’t seem to mind if the job is only part-time or that they are being paid minimum wage.

Meanwhile, corporations are completely charitable in Rick Scott’s Florida. They don’t need to pay taxes because, gosh, they do so much for us already.

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’Tis the season for sleazy ads

Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald

Carl Hiaasen

The season of sleaze is in full bloom.

More than 4,000 times, Gov. Rick Scott has broadcast a campaign commercial featuring an unnamed Floridian with a tale of woe.

The poor fellow claims to have been fleeced by convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein and also former Gov. Charlie Crist, Scott’s Democratic opponent in the gubernatorial race.

While governor (and a Republican), Crist took campaign money from Rothstein.

Now we’ve learned there’s a good reason why the aggrieved citizen in Scott’s TV commercial wasn’t identified.

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Let’s Stop the Handouts to Big Business

Dan DeWitt, Hernando Times

Dan DeWitt

If Dick’s Sporting Goods had to pay for its new Spring Hill store’s full impact on nearby roads, the price would be about $385,000. Thanks to the Hernando County Commission, however, the national chain won’t pay a dime.

Just across the street from the under-construction Dick’s is a new Burger King, which, as a fast-food restaurant, generates traffic like no other use of its size. It, too, received a free pass on road impact fees, which according to a county consultant is a gift worth about $253,000.

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Owner Says Marina in Hernando Beach Is ‘A Story of Success’

Hernando Times

Hernando Beach

For eight years, Glen Lakes resident Carl Frimodig endured the drive to Homosassa and slow passage down the Homosassa River, where it took “a year and a day” to get his boat into the Gulf of Mexico.

Then in 2011, the Shell Oil retiree saw that a marina that had sat vacant for more than three years in nearby Hernando Beach was undergoing a metamorphosis.

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