Peter Schorsch: No joy in Mudville, the Legislature struck out

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light, and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; but there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.

Mudville, in this case, is Tallahassee. And Casey is a stand-in for any number of people or issues.

Florida politicos are waking up to a political environment they could never have forecasted. Jeb Bush is now two weeks removed from the presidential race. Marco Rubio, the final hope of the establishment GOP, is the proud winner of the Minnesota caucuses and is in danger of losing badly in his home state.

The race to replace Rubio in the U.S. Senate remains caustic, yet undefined, with one of the state’s most loathed politicians, Alan Grayson, the presumptive frontrunner.

The impact of the redistricting rulings continues to be felt with good leaders and great people, like Gwen Graham and Dan Webster, with uncertain futures. Meanwhile, pols years removed from office, like Mike Haridopolos and Rod Smith, are plotting comebacks.

As for the issues before the Legislature, Tuesday marked the day when things fell apart. The gaming bills are dead. The fracking bill is dead. A deal for ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft is all but dead.

Things are so dead in Tallahassee that for the first time in 21 years, a gubernatorial appointee will lose his job due to Senate opposition.

Major tax cuts look dead. Popular sales tax holidays are in danger. Daily fantasy sports may be dead in Florida by next football season. Judicial term limits – a top priority for Speaker Designate Richard Corcoran – appears dead.

Somewhere in this favored land, the sun is shining bright. Donald Trump is basking in the glow of his victories. Those who believe the fewer bills the Legislature passes the better should be pleased today.

They’re not necessarily wrong. But I also think of this…

For the second year in a row, the Legislature is poised to finish a session without awarding any of the legal damages owed to the surviving victim of one of the most horrific child abuse cases in state history, reports Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald.

Victor Barahona, the surviving twin brother of Nubia Barahona, was found near death and covered with pesticides alongside his sister’s decomposing body on Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County in 2011. They were 10 years old.

“The twins had been sexually abused, starved and forced to sleep in a bathtub for years by the foster parents who adopted them, Jorge and Carmen Barahona,” Klas reminds us. “They were ordered to eat cockroaches and consume food that contained feces and, despite numerous complaints to the child abuse hotline and warnings from teachers, the state failed to stop their parents from routinely beating and binding them inside their West Miami-Dade home.”

If the Legislature can’t pass a claims bill to make the victims of the case whole, what can it do?

No, there is no joy in Mudville — Florida’s politicians have struck out.


Peter Schorsch is a new media publisher and political consultant based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Column courtesy of Context Florida.   

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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