Before we get to LDouglas' wonderful post today, Miss Vero would like to say a big hello to a friend that we ran into last evening, who has been a faithful reader in spite of the fact that she doesn't agree with Miss Vero at all! We like to call her "Belle" because she is one of the most lovely, true, conservative, Southern Belles that we know. Our friendship with "Belle" reminds us that, even though we might not see the world the same, somehow the Beach House brings us all together, where a cocktail and a kind word goes a long way. So Miss Belle, knowin that y'all are a big fan of Max Newport , perhaps you'll see fit to join us in the comment cocktail lounge!
Also, we must tell y'all that the Fabulous City of Fellsmere has a new website, where the motto is "cultivate. nurture. grow...":
It is very user friendly (we love the calendar!) and informative, perhaps we can see this type of site for Vero, Sebastian and the county. A job well done by Mr. Harvey Wasserman and the great folks at http://eclipseme.com
And now, back to LDouglas in Green Acres, who's post we would like to add to by providin y'all with, our new congressman, Mr. Bill Posey's web site:
Remember kids, your elected officials are just waiting to hear from y'all, so don't disappoint!
Spring is in the air
It's that time of year again, can you feel it? Spring is in the air. It's time once again for planting spring flowers and something else-- planting your opinion-- in the garden of Florida government. The regular Florida legislative session is starting on March 3rd. The full session is only 60 calendar days (including weekends) so it's going to go by fast. As usual, there’s good and bad news. The bad news is there are hundreds of bills that may (or may not) come up for a vote and our budget woes continue, but the good news is that it's never been easier to have a say about them.
I know some people ask "why bother?" because they feel like their opinion is different from the mainstream or it won't matter. But it does. They say for every letter or phone call received, a politician (or editor) knows there are many others who feel the same. So there is some power and influence behind one letter (or phone call).
Of course, not everything is cut and dry. The recent stimulus plan is a good example of that. I've read the majority of people writing and calling were against it (phone calls are influential too). However, it still passed. But the part that shows the effectiveness of opinions through letters and calls to me is that the birth control provisions were removed while a lot of the environmental provisions held up. There were many religious groups speaking out against including birth control measures and many environmental groups speaking up for the environmental measures- and they both had an impact.
While I sometimes find the process confusing and hard to keep up with, I'm hoping to be able to keep up and keep you informed of when an important bill is coming up for a vote. If you have an issue you care about, there is probably a group with a lobbyist for it willing to send you e-mail alerts. Do a search on Google. The things most important to me as you may know are the "Love Triangle"- food, environment, and health. For Florida's environmental issues, I'll be using the alerts and updates from Dave Cullen, the lobbyist for the Sierra Club, as well as the alerts from the Audubon Society.
I like to use the form letters from those organizations for ease. They're not as effective as an independent letter but they do help. Most of them let you edit it or add your own thoughts. But when it's something really important to me, I also write a separate letter and send it via e-mail. I do my best to keep it short and polite as I know they're busy and they deserve to be treated with respect. If it's real close to a vote, sometimes I'll also hand write a couple sentences and fax it. (I also follow up with a phone call, at times.)
And if there's an editorial I agree with about an issue, I'll e-mail that. I received the fastest reply ever from Governor Crist after sending one of those.
If you ask me, there is no more important time than now to make sure you speak up for those things important to you. We're facing hard times and politicians don't always tend to do what's right during hard times.
Here's a link to the Florida Senate web page listing all the House Bills for the 2009 Regular Session:
Note that page is just for House Bills, odd numbered 1-99, and you have to look to the right to jump to House Bills numbered 101 up, etc.
To get the Senate Bills, you have to use the box, ”select chamber", located above to view them.
Remember the old adage, "You reap what you sow"? Experience in politics tells us that's not always true but it shouldn't stop us from choosing which seeds we believe most in. When all is said and done there's always the possibility we may reap something different. But like gardeners we can have faith in those small seeds and cling to the hope that this year, we'll end up with a good harvest.
Some tips from the Sierra Club on how to write an effective letter if you need a refresher: http://www.sierraclub.org/takeaction/toolkit/letters.asp