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Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Steve Otto Columns

Otto: Conducting the people’s business on a buddy’s car lot

Poor old Rick Scott can’t win for losing. Of course, I say that and also make the governor a huge favorite to get re-elected — no matter who jumps into the race and no matter how badly he cripples this state.

One reason came this week when the governor was back in town to announce a tax break on car registration.

He could have picked any of a number of places to make his announcement. I mean, we would have covered him if he was standing in the middle of malfunction junction.


It seems this week was apparently the real start of a political season that is going to stretch out nearly three years culminating — you would hope — with two presidential candidates who are not even on the radar right now, duking it out on real issues.

So why not, the Gov. reasoned, hold a big political announcement on a good buddy and money donor’s Honda dealership lot. The guy might even sell a few Hondas, not to mention get tons of PR out of the event.

That’s the way things are done anymore. Why not mix the people’s business with helping out a big contributor? It’s the American Way.

He probably would have pulled it off, too, if the governor of New Jersey hadn’t grabbed all the headlines by allegedly getting involved in the now infamous Washington Bridge revenge blockade.

To be fair, we still don’t know if the New Jersey governor came up with the idea or not.

And that’s a tough one, because you don’t know if it would be better for Christie supporters to think the governor is so out of touch he didn’t know what shenanigans his staff people were playing, or if he actually masterminded the whole thing and came out fairly clean, tossing a few underlings under the bus as a price.

I suppose if Scott had thought about it, he could have done the same thing in Tampa, where there is a Democratic mayor blocking some exits on Interstate 275. On the other hand, the traffic is already so miserable nobody would have noticed.


Meanwhile, the final casting for the special election March 11 to fill the District 13 congressional seat left by the passing of Bill Young will come Tuesday with the Republican primary. The winner will face off against former state CFO Alex Sink, who will carpetbag her way over to Pinellas in her quest to be elected.

She hasn’t said if she will come back here if she loses.

Right now the Republican momentum appears to be for David Jolly, the former lobbyist, consultant and friend of Young.

The race has national implications, not just because this has long been a Republican seat, but as a referendum on last year’s breakdown of the federal government.

Unfortunately, the real issues of what to do about health care, flood insurance, transportation and a forgotten war have been glossed over with simple platitudes and no depth.

You can only hope Tuesday’s winner and Sink will use the remaining few weeks to clearly define the issues and say what they might do to get the wheels of government churning.

I’m not holding my breath.

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