Wednesday, March 4, 2009



Today's post is required reading kids, no excuses!

We're off to another Florida Legislative session. Take your hand off the mouse. Now quick tell me, who's the Adjutant General of Florida?
Time's up.

Very impressive if you know and if you don't, don't feel bad. I didn't know we had one, let alone whom. I found that information on the Project Vote Smart web-site. But more on that later.

The first order of business for anyone politically minded and wanting to have a say this session is to have our elected officials contact info at hand so you can strike while you’re hot. This information is printed in the newspaper once a week and can be found anytime on the internet. But I found a couple web-sites that have done some legwork making it easy for us to bookmark and refer to when we're ready. But before I get to that, I want to bring up the subject of gerrymandering. If you want fair elections and fair representation it's important to end it.

Take a look at these two district maps as a good example:

Senator Ken Pruitt District 28 map:

Senator Mike Haridopolos District 26 map:

Notice how zany the lines are drawn and how you and your closest neighbor could have two different politicians representing your interests? District lines are supposed to be drawn to keep each district nearly equal in size in population. But they're being used by both Democrats and Republicans to draw lines so they can choose their voters instead of letting voters choose them.

According to an editorial in the PJ a while back, elections in Florida are among the least competitive in the country because of it. Every ten years after the census, they get to redraw the lines and the next census will be completed in 2010. So if you're not comfortable with being gerrymandered to suit a politician or political party, Fair has a petition you can print and sign (and pass out) to get an Amendment on the 2010 ballot that will require districts to be compact and community based. There are actually 2 that need to be signed. One for congressional and one for legislative. Keep in mind if the amendments do make it to the 2010 ballot, they need to pass with 60% support in order to become law.

Here's an in-depth article with more information on gerrymandering:

Here's the PJ Editorial:

Now for the contact info

From the *IRNA* web-site:
Email, Write or Call Your Elected Officials (local, state and federal level):

Representatives Debbie Mayfield and Ralph Poppell (as far as I know) only allow e-mail through their web form while Governor Crist and Senators Haridopolos and Pruitt have regular e-mail addresses you can add to your address book if you don't want to use the web links in the link above.

Governor Crist:

Senator Mike Haridopolos:

Senator Ken Pruitt:

The Project Vote Smart Web-site lists all our elected officials, even the obscure (to me). Like Douglas Burnett, the Adjutant General. In case you didn’t know, the Adjutant General is the head of the Department of Military Affairs. Project Vote Smart is a good web-site because it also lists our public officials you rarely hear about and has biographical information, voting ratings and interest group ratings among other things for our re-elected politicians.

One more thing (for now)

Both the Florida House and Florida Senate web-sites have a feature where you can track any of the bills you're interested in. You'll have to register but it's a short process.
Go here:

Once there look below the Login and Reset buttons to Not Registered? Click here: and click. Type in your information, select how often you want to be updated and then click Submit.

They'll send you a confirmation e-mail to make sure it's a valid e-mail address and you'll have to reply in some way to it. After that, you're set to sign in and go down through the list of bills and select those of interest to track.

There's probably something in this legislative session for everybody. Here at the Beach House we're finding out that we're politically aligned on some things but at opposite poles on others. Or maybe on none at all. But that's what makes the world go around.

The song that fits

Left and right
Like day and night
That's what makes the world go round
In and out
Thin and stout
That's what makes the world go round
For every up there is a down
For every square there is a round
For every high there is a low
For every to there is a fro
To and fro
Stop and go
That's what makes the world go round
You must set your sights upon the heights
Don't be a mediocrity
Don't just wait and trust to fate
And say, that's how it's meant to be
It's up to you how far you go
If you don't try you'll never know
And so my lad as I've explained
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
You see my boy it's nature's way
Upon the weak the strong ones prey
The human life it's also true
The strong will try to conquer you
And that is what you must expect
Unless you use your intellect
Brains and brawn,weak and strong
That's what makes the world go round

From Disney's "The Sword in the Stone"Composed by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

TTFN, LDouglas



SilentMartian said...

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Good post! Yes something we all need to know. Thanks for the easy peasy sites!!

LDouglas said...

Thank you Linda. And thank you Silent Martian. I'll add them to my address book.

The Press Journal had a good article about gerrymanding today. It's an easy read and explains it pretty well. You can find it here: