tampabay.com

Nine rants for the price of just one

By HOWARD TROXLER
Published October 22, 2006


Nine Sunday topics in one! And, why yes, thank you, I have gotten taller and skinnier.

- In Pasco County, a high school teacher at a low point tried to take a fatal dose of pills on campus after school hours. She left $300 in a note so the other teachers could have a luncheon at the end of the year. "Maybe a cake or chicken wings or deli platter would be nice," she wrote.

Fortunately, her colleagues saved her. But now her bosses are gunning for her as if she were a criminal. They cite rules that prohibit things such as "immorality" and causing "public disgrace or disrespect."

And I agree, there is immorality and public disgrace here - on the part of the School Board. What is this, Salem? Are they afraid she's possessed by demons or something? I'm not saying stick her back in the classroom right away, but get her some support.

- Note to all candidates:

Stop sending out crybaby announcements that your opponent's TV ad is a lie and you have sent lawyers to make an Official Demand that it be taken off the air. Ooooh, an official demand! Oooooh!

- Also in Pasco County, Sheriff Bob White bought a $36,000 Chevy Tahoe, a purchase noted in our newspaper. The Sheriff's Office said we owed it to our readers to disclose that our reporter had gotten a traffic ticket from the Sheriff's Office a while back.

Just for the record, I haven't gotten any tickets from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, yet I, too, would like to take note of his $36,000 Chevy Tahoe. Vroom vroom, shurf.

- It's stupid not to be able to tell voters at the polling place the name of the Republican candidate who has replaced Rep. Mark Foley. But the same was true back when our Republican-run Secretary of State's Office wouldn't let the Democrats do it either.

- Can we have an emergency session of the Legislature to speed up the abolition of the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority?

At least, let's pass a law making the Sneaky Five wear red rubber clown noses and signs saying, "We Don't Remember 195 Minutes of Telephone Conversation with Executive Director Ralph Mervine. We Thought We Were Just Ordering Pizza."

- United Healthcare announced this week that it was dropping coverage of "anybody who is sick." The company described the move as a "measure to pay for the cost of backdated stock options for our executives."

- Why is Chris Matthews moderating the second debate for governor? Let's hope at least that somebody bones him up on Florida issues and not Washington yak-yak - and that somebody keeps a stopwatch on his questions.

- Wayne Garcia, political editor of Creative Loafing, wrote something this week that I've been meaning to. He said that Joe Redner, "despite his blustery personality and strip-club ownership, has the best handle on the issues facing Hillsborough County than any candidate I have heard this year."

- I am just going to keep saying this over and over:

Any elected official or bureaucrat, city, county or state, who claims he has a "duty" to use my government and my tax dollars to "educate" me on which way I ought to vote in an election has gone off the deep end. This is not even a close call. It is wrong. It is wicked. It is against everything America stands for. It ought to be a felony. Are any lawmakers listening?