Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June 7: Go Local, Florida

By Sylvia Gurinsky

A lot of people are justifiably angry at what's going on with Florida government. Some are so upset that they're using the "S" word - secession. Let's separate our part of Florida from the rest of the state, they think.

That won't happen, and it shouldn't. Those who really love Florida know the state is just going through a bad patch with its leadership and that will eventually change.

That doesn't mean Florida's 67 counties and thousands of communities not called The Villages have to sit and take what comes from the state capitol. At least until next year, when voters might be able to turn the Legislature into less of Rick Scott's lap dog, the alternative is a different kind of independence.

To repeat a motto that many newscasts have used: Go local.

That is to say, communities and counties will essentially need to fend for themselves and learn to be self-sufficient. Don't rely on Tallahassee.

This should be easier in a place like South Florida, which can frequently rely on international business. That's why it's so important for this region to diversify its economy and not depend so much on the types of business - housing and construction - that helped bring about the current recession.

More self-generated income in Florida's regions would mean a lot more money could stay in those regions - and a lot less go to parts of Florida that have nothing to do with them.

Ideally, Florida and its local communities should work in tandem. But Rick Scott has shown repeatedly that he isn't interested in working in the best interests of those communities.

It's time to take him seriously and look out for Number 1 to protect Florida's schools, environment, social and health services and quality of life. For the time being, Number 1 isn't in Tallahassee.

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