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Was Anthony verdict really a miscarriage?

Indulge me, please, in yet another take on the Casey Anthony case to add to the hundreds you’ve already read and heard in the print and electronic media.

Last week’s verdict, absent of the widespread outrage that Ms. Anthony is indeed responsible for the death of her child, has great value as a lesson in our system of jurisprudence.

The raw emotion brought forth by the real-life tragedy conditioned a large portion of the American public to assume Ms. Anthony’s guilt, and subsequently, the jury’s “obligation” to affirm that guilt.

It didn’t happen that way, and for a reason.

People are confusing their instincts about her culpability with what the state of Florida — and all other 49 states — requires to render a guilty verdict.

The state never connected her directly to Caylee’s body and never firmly established a motive. That leaves the door wide open to “beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt.”

The jury walked right through that door.

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Governor sending conflicting signals

Protesters demonstrate against Rick Scott in St. Petersburg July 1.

The forecast called for rain, but there was another reason a young woman protesting Governor Rick Scott during his visit to the Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg July 1 had on pink galoshes — they matched her “Pink Slip Rick” T-shirt.

The governor delivered a statement in the hotel’s banquet hall to attendees of the Florida Press Association’s annual convention, mostly reporters, editors and publishers.

He touted the 70,000-plus jobs the state’s added since he was sworn into office this year and said nothing of the 1300 jobs eliminated from the state’s payroll that day, including 70 or more at Northeast Florida State Hospital.

Then he took questions from the audience, and as Governor Scott does so often, failed to answer them.

For instance, he was asked about his office’s policy of responding to public records requests as slowly and expensively as the law allows, a stark contrast with his campaign pledge to increase transparency in state government. The governor answered by saying he plans to make more records available online.

Yipee.

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Lengthy re-drawing of districts begins

The first week of redistricting meetings were held last week with two meetings in Tallahassee, and one each in Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach and Panama City. After 13 hours of driving and 13 hours of listening to public testimony, it is clear that the effort to draw new [legislative] districts will be tedious.

This is my first experience in the redistricting process and I am honored to have been appointed to serve on the Redistricting Committee. While other members were thankful to dodge the “extra work,” I enjoy the opportunity to be a part of history and to learn the mechanics behind redistricting.

Every 10 years, Florida redraws the political boundary lines of state legislative and congressional districts to reflect changes in population, as determined by the most recent US Census and as required by the Florida and US Constitution. The term “reapportionment” refers to the task of dividing the state’s population by the number of congressional seats apportioned to the state. The task of “redistricting” is the redrawing of political boundaries to reflect change in the population.

Between now and September 1, members for the Florida House and Senate will hold 26 public hearings throughout the state to hear from Floridians on how they wish the new lines to be drawn.

The various redistricting committees will then begin drawing Florida House, Florida Senate and US congressional boundaries. It is important to note that no new maps have been drafted yet. There are an infinite number of ways that the 120 House, 40 Senate and 27 Congressional seats can be drawn; the first step is to listen to the public so we understand where they have communities of common interests and how they want to be represented in their legislative branch.

 

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The 2011 summer of burning forests and heat

With multiple fires burning across north Florida and Georgia, opening my door to a wall of smoke has become a common thing, in what is being reported to be one of the busiest wildfire seasons in recent history.

At one point, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Florida, citing the ongoing danger of wildfires and severe drought conditions.

As would be expected, many counties, Baker among them, are under a burn ban and that includes setting off fireworks.

I usually pay less attention to the weather than most, but I’ve been monitoring the daily reports more closely than usual, always hoping for rain to quell the fires.

With cloudless skies and temperatures consistently soaring into the high 90s – last week it reached 100 twice according to the Macclenny weather tower – there seemed little hope for significant precipitation.

CNN News coverage on June 15 reported an astonishing 30-40 new fires erupting daily.

Lightning strikes are to blame for many — not surprising as Florida, on average, is struck by lightning about a million times each year.

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