Friday, September 17, 2021

Anna Paulina Luna in A Quest for Florida’s 13th District Congressional Seat.


WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
In Search of Robin  

When Charlie Crist decided not to run for reelection in the Florida District 13 U.S. House of Representatives’ race, it opened the door for a floodgate of candidates who would like to replace Charlie Crist in the US House.

On the Republican side: Will Braddock, Audrey Henson, Moneer Kheireddine, Anna Paulina Luna, Amanda Makki.

On the Democratic side: State Representative Ben Diamond and State Representative, Christian Hotchkiss, Michelle Rayner along with former National Security analyst Eric Lynn have filed to run.

If you haven't been following the drama in the Anna Paulina Luna portion of the race, check out these articles:

Tampa Bay Times By Romy Ellenbogen; Decision delayed on permanent injunction sought by Anna Paulina Luna.


Tampa Bay Times By Steve Contorno: Trump endorses Anna Paulina Luna in GOP primary for Pinellas House seat.

Luna has become increasingly concerned about comments from conservative activist Aaron Olszewski, and you can't really fault her for that in this day and age where almost anything is possible.

For some background  on Luna Check out Tampa Bay Times By Josh Solomon: The evolution of Anna Paulina Luna, Republican candidate for Congress. This is a good read if you’re thinking about voting for Luna.

It's a bit unfortunate that the Republicans couldn't come up with somebody to run for Crist’s vacated House seat with a little more experience and a little less baggage in their resume. For now, Luna’s problems with a potential stalker and a court hearing are sufficient to keep her name in the media.

The question Republican voters must ask is: do they really want someone like Luna in the US House of Representatives when the margins for control are so close?

In the majority or in the minority, Republican House leadership will have its hands full keeping Luna under control.

Another activist in the House of Representatives, is just another activist in the House of Representatives.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

School Mask Mandate

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Is There a Reputable Republican Out There Willing to Challenge Ron DeSantis in The Gubernatorial Primary?

WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
In Search of Robin  

The Republican Party of Florida has some difficult and challenging decisions to make in the next few months.

With current Governor Ron DeSantis’s approval rating slowly slipping South, the question on the table is: does the Republican Party of Florida's leadership think Ron DeSantis can win in the upcoming gubernatorial election?

On the Democratic side, there are likely to be several primary candidates for the governor's office, including Nikki Fried, and Charlie Crist.

Looking at the political crystal ball, at this point, it would really be difficult to say who might emerge victorious in that upcoming primary election for the Democrats. However, for now, Fried and Crist seem to be the most prominent names.

Governor DeSantis’ approach to leading the State of Florida in the past few months regarding the coronavirus and the anti-riot bill have proven to be unpopular with a large segment of Florida voters.

His bullying and threatening tactics used with School Board members and school administrators regarding the mask mandate has left a foul taste in the mouths of a lot of the people on both sides of the issue who vote in this state.

The Governor's continuing legal challenges to court decisions unfavorable to his positions on these issues are starting to irritate the public to say the least.

With somebody like Charlie Crist and his compassionate approach to governing running on the Democratic side, the Florida Republican Party must consider not only can DeSantis win a second term, but if he is weak what might that due to the down ballot races for the Florida House and the Florida Senate?

The Republican Party of Florida may decide to rely on the results of extensive polling to determine whether DeSantis is in political jeopardy. The problem with that approach has been the recent series of elections where the polling was significantly flawed.

The other issue is simply the fact that even though polling can be done quite quickly these days, by the time you get close enough to the primary election to find out the current poll results, it will be too late to react if the polling indicates DeSantis is in trouble.

There are several prominent Republicans in Florida, who could mount a primary challenge to the current Governor, but to do so without the endorsement of the State Party organization would be political suicide. It's certainly true that anybody who decides to mount a serious challenge against the current Governor will without question endure his full force personal and political wrath.

Republican politicians, especially those who have reached an elevated level in the state political hierarchy, are risk adverse. There's no doubt that deciding to oppose Governor DeSantis and forcing a Republican primary for the governorship, and losing, would relegate the loser to the Republican trash pile.

As a lifelong Republican, I am already on record saying that I will not support Governor DeSantis in the upcoming gubernatorial election. I think his approach to the governorship with all its draconian trappings is a travesty for this State and has made us look like the laughingstock of Republican controlled states in the country.

Political leopards like DeSantis, don't change their stripes. There will be no Ron DeSantis 2.0 who is more compassionate, more understanding, more willing to compromise, and less willing to do political and legal battle over any and every issue.

There will just be more of the same.

DeSantis was never really like Donald Trump. He's proven much more to be like Attila the Hun running roughshod and focusing on what he thinks his best and political force to get his way.

I would love to see a gubernatorial race between Ron DeSantis and Charlie Crist. The voters of Florida would never have a starker difference between their gubernatorial candidates.

So, if the Republicans want to stay in power, in the Governor's office, in the Florida House and the Florida Senate, it's just simply time for some serious soul searching.

But remember this, those of you, who serve in the Florida Republican Party organization, if you even begin to talk about this openly, get ready for the full wrath of Governor Ron DeSantis.

 He will be coming for you.

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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Friday, September 10, 2021

Maybe The Lid Is About to Come Off the Corruption In Manatee County

WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD

I've been around local government in Florida on both the West Coast and the East Coast for well over 30 years, but I must admit when I moved to Manatee County, I was absolutely shocked at the amount of good old boys underhanded dealing that goes on.

From the County Commission, where you can openly admit that you violated the law and have all your legal expenses for your defense on a charge for that violation paid for by county taxpayers (Approved by the County Commission) to this current debacle at the Manatee County Building and Development Services Department.

For some details, check out this article from The Bradenton Times by Dennis "Mitch" Maley Saturday, Sep 04, 2021: Chaos at the County Building as Top Officials are Escorted Out.

And, by: Jay Heater Managing Editor: Manatee County inspector general's investigation leads to six county employees being placed on administrative leave.

From the YourObserver Article: “The inspector general's investigation involves possible favoritism granted to Mallaranny LLC in improving a 50-acre, agriculturally-zoned property in Myakka City. Mallaranny LLC is managed by Jeremy Croteau, who is president of the Sarasota Medieval Fair.”

I, for one, didn't even know Manatee County had an Inspector General's office. They must be kept down in the basement in a locked room and only let out when things get totally out of control.

With the large number of prominent builders building anything and everything they can as fast as they can in Manatee County, and the very obvious willingness of the Lakewood development folks out at SMR to throw both their money and their political weight around, it's hard to imagine that there aren't a lot of things going on that shouldn't be in Manatee County.

Sooner or later, all of it comes to light.

One of the things that newly minted Manatee County Administrator Dr. Scott Hopes needs to be extra careful of is that the people who blew the whistle on this crowd of ne’er-do-wells do not suffer any consequences for their courage and desire to bring out the truth. And those of us in the media have an obligation to follow these events carefully and make sure that doesn't happen.

The last thing that needs to go on here is the guys at the top who are responsible for this, do not need to end up back in their plush jobs, hobnobbing with the big players, drinking bourbon, and smoking cigars, while the person that blew the whistle ends up out on the street.

That's been the way it works out a lot of times in Manatee County and now is the time for Dr. Scott Hopes to step up and start cleaning house, because the house is rotten to the very foundation.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

"Help a Brother Out" – FL Groups Rally to Resettle Afghan Refugees

Florida News Connection

By: Trimmel Gomes September 3, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Organizations providing relief support for Afghan refugees say more people can help by simply taking time to learn about the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Groups like Catholic Charities Jacksonville are preparing to handle a surge of over 150 Afghan refugees, who'll need basics like food, housing and jobs as they begin their new lives in the community in the next few months.

Matt Schmitt, associate director for the group, said at the same time, he has been trying to help clear up some misunderstandings that stem, in part, from the name of the effort: the Afghan Parolee Support Program.

"People are worried that the refugees that are coming from Afghanistan are a security threat," Schmitt explained. "They're concerned that the term 'parolee,' by the way, it sounds like someone who's been released from jail or from prison, and that is the farthest from the truth."

Schmitt explained the terms are used by the federal government as subcategories for refugees, such as someone on a Special Immigrant Visa, a 'parolee' or 'asylee,' and they have no connection to the criminal justice system. He added all refugees will be completely vetted through the U.S. State Department before being sent to resettlement areas like Jacksonville.

Schmitt urged people to do more research, by visiting his organization's website or searching online for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Department of State, and other sources to keep up with what's going on.

"And then after that, feel free to get involved," Schmitt emphasized. "We're doing humanitarian work. If you were in this situation, wouldn't you like to have someone reach out, you know? It's 'help a brother out,' that's what I've been saying lately, help a brother out."

Schmitt pointed out the Catholic Charities of Jacksonville website has information about how to help. They need gently used furniture and household items. People can also volunteer their time, or donate money and specify that it go directly to resettlement efforts.

The State Department named Jacksonville among the top 19 "welcoming cities" for refugees, but organizations in other parts of the state also are gearing up to help with resettlement.

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the The Trust Project

Sunday, September 5, 2021

End Times or Just Coincidences

WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
In Search of Robin  

Events in the last two years have been truly startling.

There was the election fiasco, which nearly tore our country apart and has created continuing deep political divides. Then there was the onset of the COVID-19 virus. Over politicized, downplayed, mismanaged, and as we watched the world became engulfed in a viral pandemic.

Then there was the 2nd wave of the COVID virus called the delta variant. Once again, over politicized, downplayed, mismanaged, and as we are watching The United States and much of the rest of the world is becoming completely engulfed by yet another version of this invasive virus.

Then, we have recently experienced the complete collapse and downfall of the government in Afghanistan which the United States spent billions of dollars creating, arming, equipping, and propping up and all of this occurred in just a little over 30 days.

The minister in our church recently asked an interesting question. He posed the question, what is God trying to tell us? You might be more comfortable with the question: What is the world trying to tell us?

But certainly, something is trying to tell us something.

What fascinates me about all that we've seen in the last 30 months is not so much the magnitude of the disasters Covid-19, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, governments collapsing, it's the rate at which these things are occurring. Despite all of our knowledge, technology, and military capacity, we don't seem to be able to affect the rate at which these events occur.

Usually in world events, there is a rhythm or a cadence to the things that occur on a global basis and history often provides us a glimpse into the future as we compare current events with past events. Such does not seem to be completely applicable in the season that we're currently in.

It's hard to get your head around a flu-like virus that can completely shut the world's economy down in a few short months. It's equally hard to get your head around the politicization of such a sequence of events and how that politicization has worked in favor of spreading the virus.

It's difficult to believe in today's modern world with all our technology, ability to gather information, that a government can fall completely in just over 30 days after spending 20 years establishing itself.

In science, and mathematics we often look past the event and put more attention on the rate at which it happens.

For example, massive events that play out over a longer period of time are much easier to manage and cope with than events that are catastrophic and occur with a moment's notice and are complete in a short period of time.

The rate of occurrence of disastrous consequences is increasing despite our best efforts.

One thing is for certain, if we haven't learned anything else in the last three years, or so we should begin to understand that as humans, we're not in complete control of what happens on this planet.

Most of us have seen the cartoon with the guy carrying a sandwich board over his shoulders, a Bible in his hand and the sign says, “The end is near.”

Maybe, maybe not.

If you'd like a biblical perspective let me point you to two books in the Bible. The first one is Daniel in the Old Testament, and the second is revelations the last book in the New Testament.

Further exacerbating all of this is  a growing lack of faith and an increasing level of distrust in our fellow human beings. There are a lot of people who would like to draw the lines of this distrust along ethnicity, skin color, or other differences but the fact of the matter is a lot of us just don't trust each other regardless of those issues.

And are growing distrust of government at all levels from the school board to the White House isn't helping much at all.

I didn't come to this Post with an answer, or even a suggestion for that matter. I'm merely raising the issue that the rate at which things are beginning to decay in our country and worldwide is a cause for major concern.

Sooner or later, some country, despot, or other individual is going to figure out how to take advantage of all of this, and I'm confident the results of that event will be truly catastrophic.

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Friday, September 3, 2021

Grumpy Governor Or Just Simply A Bully - DeSantis Marches On

WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
You often hear the comment made about an individual, "That he or she marches to their own drummer.” Well, it seems Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis is marching to his own drum core these days.

From threatening to withhold salaries from school board members and school district administrators to proposing to fine businesses for violating Florida's vaccine ban, the Governor seems intent on taking a hostile, bullying approach to dealing with people trying to protect themselves from the coronavirus and its variants.

For some additional information check out these online articles from Forbes and Fox News:

From Forbs by Tommy Beer Forbes Staff: Gov. DeSantis’ Net Approval Rating Drops 14 Points Amid Covid Spike, Poll Finds .

From Fox News by Fo13 News Staff: Florida Department of Health will fine businesses $5,000 for violating state's vaccine passport ban.

It's not too surprising to see the Governors' approval rating dropping as he continues to use brute force in an attempt to apply rules and regulations that seem archaic if not draconian in nature when it comes to dealing with the COVID issue.

The Governor seems to have forgotten that he's a public servant not a public master. Over inspired by the Trump era of forceful action, DeSantis has overstepped the bounds of common sense in his irrational dealings with local officials and businesses that simply want to protect their staffs, their customers and in the case of the educational system the teachers and the students.

I don't think the average person on the street who is watching all of this unfold views the Governor's actions as leadership as much as they view it attacking those with whom the Governor has differences.

The courts have handed Governor DeSantis a defeat over the mask mandate issue and yet the Governor continues to waste valuable time mounting legal challenges against his defeat in the court system.

I think it would make more sense again to the average person who's watching all this happen if the governor spent his time trying to help resolve the masking problem rather than fanning its flames and wasting money in a disagreement with the court system.

As the political season plays its way out, all these actions are going to come back to haunt DeSantis on the campaign trail. For now, the Governor's political adversaries are taking a cautious approach to their dealing with how the Governor is handling these issues but look for that to change very soon.

DeSantis could use a little more compassion and a little more common sense and a little less outwardly hostile aggression against the people trying to educate our children and the businesses he so vehemently indicates he wants to support.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2021