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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
If you put a bunch of wilted, 3-week-old lettuce in one pile ...
And Florida's governor, state chief financial officer and Legislature in another pile ...
The two piles would be just about equal in the leadership they are providing on this big change in car insurance that is happening on Oct. 1.
The governor, Charlie Crist, is darned worried about it. But he respects the Legislature, you know, and doesn't want to seem too bossy. Good grief! Where is Jeb Bush when you need him?
Our state's chief financial officer, Alex Sink, is fretting over this car insurance thing too. She even wrote a letter to the Legislature that said, in no uncertain terms, uh, this bears careful consideration.
A fine pair of jellyfish they are. If they washed up on the beach they would dry right up, Charlie and Alex in the sand. I can just hear the cry of a passer-by: "Eww! I just stepped on a Florida CFO!"
On Oct. 1, Florida's rules for auto insurance are going to change radically. They are going to change in ways that we can't even predict yet. In fact, it is not clear whether after Oct. 1 the worst driver in the world has to have auto insurance in Florida at all.
We are getting rid of "no-fault" insurance, which every driver has had to carry until now. Some folks will buy extra coverage and be better off. Some won't, and their costs will shift from insurance companies to society at large.
But we are backing into this change by default, in the absence of a clear, thought-out decision. A few years ago, the Legislature said: "Hey! Let's let this law expire on Oct. 1, 2007. We'll figure something out by then." But nobody did.
Make no mistake: No-fault stinks, too, the way we have it, which is why folks want to get rid of it. It encourages waste if not fraud. With a $10,000 limit, it's amazin' how often each patient needs ... oh, about $10,000 worth of fixup.
So, change it.
Or if we really want to kill it, at least we need to make things clear before Oct. 1. The state driver's license folks - the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles - say that as far as they can tell, we won't have to have ANY insurance in Florida anymore.
What should the governor and the CFO do? They should take a stand. They should lead the charge to put pressure on the Legislature. They should bang the drum, preach from the pulpit. After all, the Legislature is convening on Sept. 18 for a budget session anyway.
I know, I know. There are politics about these things. But there are ways to go about it. Call 'em your friends. Tell 'em how much you respect 'em. Shine their shoes if you must. But, by gosh, make it clear that you think they have to do something, and that the people of Florida ought to be demanding it too.
What a weird way to run a state! Despite what publicity there's been, I don't think the people of Florida have fully tuned in to the changes that are coming. Lots of folks won't until they get in a wreck, when it will be too late.
Let's hear from Gov. Crist and CFO Sink, instead of Gov. Dither and CFO Tut-Tut.
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I hope you'll join me from noon to 1 p.m. today on TroxBlog for our weekly live, online chat about current events in Florida and the Tampa Bay area. Just click on the "Blogs" link at www.tampabay.com, or use the address blogs.tampabay.com/troxler.