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Q. What's going on? A. Good question

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By HOWARD TROXLER, Times Columnist

© St. Petersburg Times
published May 3, 2002

Selected questions and answers about the news:

Q. How often do people in Pinellas County think about the Pinellas County Commission?

A. Not very.

Q. How often will they think about the Pinellas County Commission after brown water starts coming out of their tap next week with the change in water treatment?

A. Very.

Q. Here's a question about the fight in our Legislature over a new elected "chief financial officer." Would it be too cynical to believe that the real fight was over just how much campaign money he can extort from the banks and insurance companies that he regulates?

A. No.

Q. Given that assessment, what would be an idiotic thing to do?

A. I would say, it would be idiotic to loosen existing laws on campaign contributions from banks and insurance companies.

Q. What is your prediction for what the Legislature will do?

A. Loosen existing laws on campaign contributions from banks and insurance companies.

Q. Do you understand Pinellas County's new school choice plan?

A. First, let me fix this Middle East thing.

Q. In reference to the indictment of four out of five commissioners in Escambia County, which is up in the Panhandle, do any scenes involving Ned Beatty from the film Deliverance come to mind?

A. Yes.

Q. Would you like a sweetheart kind of deal, like those of employees of the city of Tampa and many other public agencies, in which you could pile up tens of thousands of dollars in vacation pay over the years?

A. You bet.

Q. Please speculate about what Tampa Mayor Dick Greco did NOT say when he found out Fire Chief Pete Botto had taken a city vehicle to play jai-alai.

A. "As you know, Pete, we don't tolerate this sort of thing in my administration."

Q. Please provide a Jeopardy-style question for the following answers: In all public men's rooms. On the monotube over U.S. 19 in Pinellas Park. Outside his own office.

A. Where will Pinellas Sheriff Everett Rice next try to install face-recognition screening?

Q. Would you say it is arrogant and sneaky that Eckerd and other pharmacists can use your prescription information for marketing purposes? Do you also think somebody should be kicked really hard in the butt for having the gall to try to justify it as "educating" customers?

A. Yes. Yes.

Q. What comments this week from Richard Radacky, the longtime public servant suddenly thrust into the role of Hernando County administrator, made you misty-eyed?

A. He asked not for a severance package, but just to get his old job back in case he ever gets fired. Also, he asked for a salary almost $10,000 lower than the last guy, saying, "I don't want to appear greedy."

Q. Do the crimes and moral failings of individual members of a faith's clergy invalidate the central tenets of that faith? On a related note, do you believe that pedophilia is a specific disorder that should not in any way confused with homosexuality?

A. No. Yes.

Q. If it's true that the Legislature is balancing next year's budget with extra, one-time money, creating an even worse budget crisis the year after, then what is a completely rational thing for our state Legislature to say?

A. "Hey, what say we give Florida corporations a big fat tax break on top of everything else? We can claim we're creating jobs."

Q. But if the true goal is to create jobs, wouldn't it better to use a targeted tax credit for investment that actually creates jobs, instead of just letting corporations jack up their profits by robbing the taxpayers?

A. Beats me. I don't know nothing about that stuff.

Q. Wouldn't it be really, really cool to settle the dispute between the city of Largo and the Renaissance Festival by forcing the lawyers to joust?

A. Come to think of it, yes.

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