Sunday, March 13, 2011

Parks and wrecks

Meh. I was always an Arnold Palmer fan
The state of Florida dodged a very big, stupid bullet the other day when Sen. John Thrasher and state Rep. Patrick Rooney Jr. withdrew bills they had proposed that would have resulted in golf courses being built in our state parks.  "Ha ha ha! That's Clark, always with the outlandish jokery", you're saying. But no, this was not a joke. Senate Bill 1846 and House Bill 1239 were both very real and had they passed, would have required (not reccomended or suggested but required) the creation of something called the "Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail", which would have consisted of at least five, probably more, brand new golf courses (designed by Mr. Nicklaus, who normally charges $2.5 million to design a golf course, although he would have waived his fee for the first course and "only" charged $625,000 each for the rest of them, bless his heart) plus hotels with full liquor licenses that would have operated exempt from local governement regulations. All for the low, low price of money borrowed against future earnings, taxes and acres of state parks full of forests, springs and marshes. I'll let the glaringly obvious wrong-headedness on so many different levels of this proposition as to negate the necessity of a metaphor (although I'm going to make one anyway) sink in...
We got gallons of this stuff laying around doin' nothing; let's hire one...AND ONLY ONE...of our pals to make some baby toys that we can sell!
Thankfully, the media jumped on it (Howard Troxler's column in the St. Pete Times is where I learned about it) and the population, demonstrating rare but much appreciated common sense without regard to political factions, responded overwhelmingly, resulting in the legislation being withdrawn

"After much consideration and listening to the citizens of Florida, I have decided to withdraw HB 1239. Floridians spoke very clearly over the past several days on this proposal, and they are the reason I'm in office. I appreciate their concerns and hope this decision allays some of their fears. Please understand that my sole intention in filing this bill was one of economic development, my main objective in deciding to run for the state House last year." --Patrick Rooney, R-West Palm Beach, via Twitter

"Heh heh. So, like...we're cool now, right folks? Right?"

"Withdrawal from further consideration pending on Friday, March 11, 2011 4:04 PM." --Florida State Legislature's web site regarding Senate Bill 1846 proposed by Senator John Thrasher R-St. Augustine

"And I'd have gotten away with it if not for those meddling..."
So to sum up recent events, Florida's current power structure rejects billions of dollars in federal funds that could significantly improve our transportation system's infrastructure while creating jobs and bolstering a stagnant tourism industry, drags it's feet in regard to the creation of a database that would allow law enforcement to do something about the pipeline of illegally obtained prescription narcotics based here that floods the nation but proposes progress in the form of bulldozing public parks to let one of their famous buddies make more golf courses (in a state that already has more than any other state in the nation) and a handful of luxury hotels.

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