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OP- Ed:

Let Us Reason Together ...

and Get Moving!

I was getting worked up

into a lather over our water crisis:

red tide and the algae blooms.

Wanting to take on Big Sugar in a

dual and enlist everyone I could in

my crusade. I have never been a

fan of big protests and civil disobe-

dience, but for a fleeting moment I

envisioned hundreds of us blocking

Big Sugar's trucks from leaving or

entering their property.

Then I spoke with a friend -

whose job is to be in the know -

who'd attended a meeting on the

issue, of regional players who had

facts and perspectives from differ-

ing jurisdictions and levels of re-

sponsibility for

Adam Putnam has been

grooming to be the governor of

Florida since he was 22, when he be-

came the youngest state house repre-

sentative ever elected in 1996.

After two terms in Tallahas-

see, Putnam served 10 years in Con-

gress, rising to a key leadership

position as chairman of the House

Republican Policy Committee.

Putnam, whose family has

been citrus farming and cattle ranch-

ing since the 1920s, returned to

Florida in 2010 and was elected state

Agriculture Commissioner.

In 2014, he was re-elected

state Agricultural Commissioner and

set about launching his long-ex-

pected run for governor,

Bi-Weekly August 23 - September 5, 2018

Covering the Gulf Coast of South Florida

Vol. 4 No. 2

On Vacation? Take us home with you! Read our digital Flipbook version at


Cont. pg 16

We've reported the numbers

many times, but here's a refresher for

those who have forgotten or weren't


--According to the National

Institute on Drug Abuse, 115 people

die every day from opioid overdoses in

the U.S., a fivefold increase from the

end of the 20th century. The NIDA es-

timates the "economic burden" of opi-

oid abuse to the country at $78.5

billion annually.

--According to the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention, 40

percent of overdose deaths are linked

to prescription opioids.

Florida no longer holds worst

offender title: The CDC also has noted

that Alabama physicians lead the U.S.

in the number of opioid prescriptions

written, 5.8 million of them in last ac-

counting, about 1.2 prescriptions for

every man, woman and child in the


There has been progress. The

American Medical Association re-

ported in May that opioid prescriptions

nationwide declined 22 percent from

2013 to 2017. The report credited in-

creased access to and use of state pre-

scription drug databases; increased

access to naxolone, which can reverse

the effects of opioid overdoses; and an

increase in the number of physicians

who specialize in treating opioid over-


Plus there was something in

an Associated Press story last week

that caught our eye. As an experiment,

letters bearing the ad-

Florida is the freest state in

the nation, according to a Cato Insti-

tute study that ranks each U.S. state

by “how its public policies promote

freedom in the fiscal, regulatory, and

personal freedom spheres.”

The Sunshine State earned

seven top-10 rankings, including four

number ones – in the Overall, Fiscal,

Economic and Cable categories – in

the 2018 edition of "Freedom in the

50 States," produced by the Washing-

ton-based think tank.

Florida was also named the

freest state in Cato’s inaugural 2014

edition of the four-year study.

“Floridians should be proud

of their No. 1 ranking,” study co-au-

thor William P. Ruger wrote.

“Florida’s leaders have largely

avoided restrictive policies that have

harmed economic growth in other

states while making opportunity-en-

hancing reforms that have benefited

current residents and the hundreds

flocking to the state each day.”

Ruger and co-author Jason

Sorens developed the ranking by ex-

amining “state and local government

intervention” across a range of more

than 230 policy variables in 25 cate-

gories – from taxation to marriage

laws, regulatory policies to victimless

crime enforcement to property insur-

ance affordability.

“Over the past two decades,

Florida has made tremen-

After the Revolution, our na-

tion experienced many unstable so-

cial and political disruptions. It

looked as though America was never

going to form a union. Every state

acted as an independent country.

Each governed without considera-

tion for the others. There was little

unity and each had their own cur-

rency. They taxed each other's im-

ports since many trade channels with

the British had closed. Many repudi-

ated paying war debts and regional

conflicts prevailed. They evaded talk

of centralized dominions.

The country was in a mess.

They needed a way to enforce law

and order, collect taxes, pay off pub-

lic debt, and regulate interstate trade.

For a nation founded by independent

revolutionaries, this would not be

easy. But leaders like George Wash-

ington and Alexander Hamilton

knew the country would remain in

chaos, short of divine intervention.

Someone had to address the difficult

task of forming a central authority to

govern the independent colonies. We

needed a group of unbiased centric

leaders to prevent another civil up-

rising. It was time for law and order

after a war for liberty. Our destiny

was in our very own hands.

The task of creating a gov-

ernment was fastidious. Disputes

among delegates were fierce. Those

from the populous states disagreed

with the smaller ones. Slave owners

and abolitionists fenced over moral-

ity. All feared an oligarchy. Others

had abundant concerns over reli-

gious freedom. They fought over the

Virginia Plan where population de-

termined representation vs. the New

Jersey Plan, which proposed equal

representation. They agreed on a

representative republic: One that

confined slavery; one with religious

freedom, one that contained govern-

ment. The Connecticut Compromise

created bicameral houses to amalga-

mate the Virginia and New Jersey

plans. This unity ended the con-

tentious uncivil war.

With a consortium of inde-

pendent states demanding individual

representation, there were many

compromises made. Each wanted in-

dependent authority over governing

and feared loss of liberty; or worse.

After the Constitution was presented

to the colonies, they demanded writ-

ten rights before they would accept

this aberrant concept of representa-

tive democracy. Eventually, a con-

sensus was reached in

The New Leviathan of


Florida: Freest State in the Nation

Making a Dent in the Opioid Epidemic

Cont. pg 11

FL. Governor Primary Heats Up

Cont. pg 5

Coastline Water Quality:

The Search

For Solutions

Cont. pg 5

Cont. pg 5

GOP candidates for governor Adam Put-

nam, (L) State Agricultural Commis-

sioner, and State Rep. Ron DeSantis.