Monday, March 23, 2009

March 23: Leave Florida's Department of Community Affairs Alone

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Ah, the reliable things: Death, taxes and the ability of the Florida Legislature to come up with something devious and damaging each year.

This time, it's legislation that would either eliminate or weaken the state's Department of Community Affairs, Florida's government environmental watchdog, and transfer most of the responsibilities to the Department of State, which, as you will recall, has one botched U.S. presidential election in its history (Though current Secretary of State Kurt Browning is not to blame for that.).

Keep in mind that many legislators get lots of campaign checks from big developers. The big developers aren't getting much business these days - something about the economy going south - and they'll try anything. Especially with suitors as willing as lawmakers.

Never mind that Florida's environment, which could play a role in the state's economic recovery, would get ruined in the process.

So far, it looks like the Florida Senate isn't as hard-charging on the legislation as the Florida House. Hopefully, both the Senate and, if necessary, Gov. Charlie Crist will put the kibosh on this plan.

The Department of Community Affairs has been a consistent success story in Florida. The Florida Legislature should leave it alone.

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