two martini glasses together
Two martini glasses waiting for Cheers!

It’s called Paradise Pointe West. For lots of folks, especially for “snow birds” escaping winter weather, this part of Florida in Pasco County is like paradise. Admittedly, when Art (late husband) and I bought a condo and moved here, we too thought we had found a blissful home. As we floated around in the community’s large swimming pool on an early evening, Art would wonder aloud what the poor folks up north were doing. After a dip in the pool, it was martini time; Art carried his cocktail in a small jug especially fashioned with a leather strap to hang around his neck.

But those days are gone forever—not the martini drinking, but the favorable view of Floriduh. My gripes are primarily political—too many trumpsters and white nationalists and too few culturally inclusive progressives (in this county particularly). This state has been governed by Republican Rick Scott for two terms and he is now campaigning for a U.S. Senate seat held by Senator Bill Nelson, a middle-of-the-road Democrat and former astronaut. Scott follows the Trump lead like a puppy dog and is no fan of environmental protection. He has ordered those in his administration to never use the term climate change and each year has refused requests to increase the budget for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. He has also repealed other laws and regulations protecting the environment and drastically reduced the environmental enforcement staff.

Now, at this moment, coastal Floriduh is facing a massive red tide, a foul-smelling toxic algae that is polluting beaches along Florida’s southwestern coast, and killing fish, manatees, sea turtles and other marine life that have washed onto beaches. Restaurants, fishing boats and tourism are all suffering because of the red tide. This has happened before, but “Florida has been plagued by an ‘extreme amount’ of toxic algae and although it’s not Scott’s fault, he has been exacerbating it,” by his “multimillion-dollar budget cuts to environmental agencies,” according to a news article in the Washington Post.  And guess what? Scott says the toxic mess is all Nelson’s fault. DUH! Scott is the governor; Nelson is a Senator. Now tell me who is responsible.

In addition to that political absurdity, the Republican campaigning to become Florida’s governor is Representative Ron DeSantis, who told a campaign rally of supporters that “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by “voting for Democrat Andrew Gillum, the black mayor of Tallahassee running for the governorship. Gillum ignored the racist comment. If you don’t get the racism, I will have to draw a picture for you.

Bottom line: I’ll stay in Floriduh for a variety of reasons. My daughter is here. My health would deteriorate with cold weather in the North or Northwest. No state taxes–yet. And I still can drink my martini here. So Cheers, y’all!


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