Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejects high speed rail funding

In a move that has astounded politicians of both parties throughout Florida, Gov. Rick Scott has passed on $2 billion in federal funding for a high speed rail system linking Orlando and Tampa.

Although this is not technically a piece of legislation, and there questions about the Republican governor’s constitutional authority to unilaterally reject the funding, I can’t think of a single Florida politician who has proposed an idea that is more ridiculous than this.

Florida’s unemployment rate has risen to 12 percent; it’s been higher than 10 percent for at least two years now. Florida has some of the highest mortgage and credit card delinquency rates in the country. There are few states with a higher foreclosure rate. The state’s economy, which has relied on construction, agriculture and tourism, is in shambles.

According to a recent Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll, 43 percent of Floridians feel their economic situation has worsened over the last two years.

And yet Gov. Rick Scott, who campaigned on bringing jobs to the state, has refused a project estimated to bring up to 23,000 jobs, with thousands more created indirectly. He’s ignoring that the installation of the first high speed rail line in the United States could also bring Florida to the attention of large businesses wishing to move to a mass transit-friendly area. He’s neglecting the possible adverse effects that heavy traffic along the I-4 corridor have to the economy.

The economic growth caused by connecting two of the Florida’s biggest cities is hard to calculate but easy to imagine.

Plus, Scott seems to be deaf, even to his own party.

Dispatches from the Sunshine State

Once again Hillsborough County politicians push Tampa backwards

Can anything cool happen in Hillsborough County without county leaders overstepping their authority and crushing it?

I’m not hopeful.

As you may have read by now, the Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission — made up of politicians and wannabe politicians — effectively shut down two electric car businesses this month when they succumbed to pressure from the cab industry.

I wrote about downtown Tampa’s electric vehicle service last year. I thought the electric-powered golf cart transport was charming, environmentally-friendly and made Tampa unique. Plus, the service was free. Since they didn’t charge for rides, the electric vehicle companies did not need the transportation permits cab companies needed. The electric vehicle companies made money by the advertising on the carts and tips from passengers. For a downtown worker wanting to get to Rick’s on the River or a tourist wanting a ride from Jerk Hut to the Times Forum, these vehicles seemed the way to go.

But of course Hillsborough County politicians can’t let a good thing last for long. Prompted by complaints from (overpriced) cabbies, the PTC decided to ban the electric vehicles citing safety and unfair competition. Unfair? How about the unfairness and cronyism inside the PTC?

Well now, after scores of citizens complained to the PTC, the commission is back-pedaling a bit. They want the vehicles back on the streets, they say, just with permits and insurance. But who knows if those requirements could keep these entrepreneurs sidelined permanently.


10 things to do in Tampa Bay after 3 a.m.

Sure, we don’t live in a 24-hour mecca like Las Vegas or New York City, but that doesn’t mean we have to end the night at 3 a.m. Whether you’re an insomniac or just a club-goer who doesn’t want the party to stop, here’s a guide to enjoying Tampa Bay ‘til the sun comes up.

[Read more . . . ]

Behind the News

I went to a teabagging party and all I got was an anti-Obama sticker

Well, I didn’t personally go. I have a friend in the hospital, which seemed a little more important at the time. But citizen journalists from around the nation did attend today’s teabagging events. And I think they were a little disappointed, too:

Ybor City Stogie has a nice slideshow of the Tampa teabagging party.

Wonkette does a nice re-cap of the D.C. protest with pithy captions.

Did you know that some of the teabaggers still think Barack Obama is not really a U.S. citizen? NO WAY!!! The same blogger also chased by teabaggers in Cleveland. has a particularly chilling video of a tea bag protest planning party featuring a conspiracy theorist convinced that the TV’s conversion from analog to digital is part of Obama’s master plan. Actually George Soros’ master plan. Actually .. nevermind, just watch it.

A Pensacola progressive blogger takes the mic at a teabagging event. You have to watch this.

Texas threatens to secede. Obama, can we let ’em?

I’ll have more after my neck stops twitching.