By Ralph De La Cruz
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
Thank you, Rick Scott.
I know, I know.
You’re thinking something along the lines of: “WHAAAAT!???!”
But it occured to me, after the latest scandalous stories about Scott and his health care company, Solantic, that Scott is merely the symptom of much deeper problems.
And in that regard, he’s a morality tale in the flesh for Floridians. An educational opportunity for those of us who worry about the future of our state. And after his unrelenting attack on public education, we should try to squeeze something out of him for the sake of education.
Who could’ve known, Before Scott (BS), that in Florida it’s not illegal or unethical for the governor to have a $62 million stake in a company that does sizable business with the state government he oversees?
Who knew that unlike other states and the federal government, all you have to do is simply transfer that stake to your wife? The same wife with whom you share a house (or houses) and bank accounts. And — poof — just like legal magic, it’s as if the $62 million didn’t exist. Except, of course, for that lovely windfall. Is this a great state, or what?
BS, who knew that no matter how really, really, really, really bad a Florida governor turned out to be, there’s no way to recall him?
BS, Florida politicos had been using and abusing state law for decades to get what they wanted, and to pay back favors. But it was done so subtly. You’d have to go all the way to the second floor of the Capitol and see the army of lobbyists who actually write and push through the laws that benefit their clients before you could grasp what was really happening.
Say what you may about him, but at least Scott is brazenly upfront. Remember Scott’s inauguration fundraisers with folks such as the private prison company GEO Group? Followed now by his move to privatize prisons.
By the time he’s done as governor, the public is going to have a real understanding of the magnitude of the problems we have with the political processes in this state.
Maybe, after decades of skating along, of trusting, of accepting our political fate, we needed a Rick Scott shock to wake us up.
But we’re awake enough now.
Thank you, Rick Scott.
But please, no more.
A lot of folks have been commenting about the Scott shock and asking questions about a possible recall.
Here are a few resources for those folks to check out:
The Scott recall movement has a Facebook page.
And state Rep. Rick Kriseman is sponsoring legislation to support recall of state officials and cabinet members. It’s not focused directly on Scott, but rather is a broad accountability bill that would give voters a recall recourse over state officials
As for the Solantic mess, Republican state Sen. Mike Fasano re-filed a bill in early March that he had previously authored. As with Kriseman’s bill, it’s not aimed at Scott. But it requires the governor and other high-ranking state officials to place their holdings in blind trusts while they are in positions of public trust.