By B. Virginia Comella
Florida has lost its way. In danger is the precious balance of powers established in the U.S. and Florida constitutions to prevent a totalitarian government.
Because there are no longer checks and balances in Florida, our government has become a tool of a would-be tyrant, who cares more about running for president rather than about addressing the real concerns of Floridians.
Florida is in danger of becoming an extremist one-party state, with the Florida Legislature and the state’s Supreme Court being intimidated into positions that endanger the rights of every citizen.
Instead of creating the “freest” state in the Union, Florida is reduced to a government that destroys our precious freedoms. These include the rights to free speech, privacy in our most personal decisions, and voting.
Local governments have lost their ability to address local issues, while their duly elected officials have been removed by the governor without cause. Last year’s Legislature enacted laws of questionable constitutionality and created a culture war between right-wing ideology and the rest of us.
Floridians have many real needs that were not addressed. Rather than squelching free speech and privacy rights and micromanaging local governments, our public officials should have found solutions to difficult problems affecting most Floridians.
Hurricane Ian demonstrated that these problems included improving infrastructure, managing growth, protecting our environment, resolving the insurance crisis, and increasing the availability of housing for working Floridians.
Other priorities include excellent public schools that teach students to think for themselves, and encouraging rather than discouraging all eligible citizens to vote.
November’s election may be our last chance to keep Florida a democracy, rather than a totalitarian state without checks and balances. Please, I urge you to do the following three things:
1. Vote for Charlie Crist for governor.
2. Vote for fair-minded legislators who will work to solve Florida’s real problems. In Florida’s House District 29, covering most of West Volusia, Rick Karl is that person.
Rick is qualified. He served as the director of Aviation and Economic Resources for Volusia County. In that job, he successfully ran Daytona Beach International Airport, and worked to attract businesses to diversify Volusia’s economy. He has lifelong ties to Volusia County.
3. Vote “No” to retaining Florida Supreme Court justices who have consistently attacked your constitutional rights. These justices are John Couriel, Jamie Grosshans, Charles Canady and Rick Polston. Only Justice Jorge Labarga has exercised moderation and should be retained.
Florida’s future depends on you. Please vote!
— Comella, of DeLand, currently serves as chair of the DeLand Planning Board. She retired to DeLand after spending 31 years as a federal human-resources manager. She has been a lifelong student of U.S. history and government, including holding degrees in history and government and a law degree.