From the Left- The Daily Commercial: Florida politicians’ flaunt their abuses of power

Barbara Hill, Guest Columnist
Enough is enough! I opened the paper and read that out-of-state donors gave Gov. DeSantis more than $50 million. Why? They know he has to win the governor’s mansion again in order to be a viable presidential candidate for 2024. This amount of money is obscene when you think of the 2.1 million children in Florida who go to bed hungry.

The amount of money spent on campaigns on both sides of the aisle has reached the point of the absurd. Donors buy not just favors, but politicians. Those of us who cannot afford to buy their own politicians have to write letters, make calls and send emails knowing full well it won’t change a thing. By the way, DeSantis refused to apply for more than $820 million in federal food stamp benefits to feed the hungry children in Florida. Does this bother you? Because it sure bothers me!

Look at what DeSantis has done to alleviate the overwhelming amount of COVID cases and deaths in Florida. Don’t mandate masks, or you’ll be fined; don’t require proof of vaccinations for cruise ships, which are sailing petri dishes, or you will be fined; and, of course, and let’s make fun of the science and well-respected physicians because the base loves it. The people of Florida are paying millions in legal fees for his follies and I, for one, have had enough. Try to find out how much this administration has spent on legal fees, and you will be frustrated at every turn.

Whatever happened to common sense? I know — it’s all about power and money. My question is, why do people continue to vote against their own best interest? They keep sending the same “care-less” legislators to local, state and federal positions. It’s insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

When the people vote for constitutional ballots to improve the lives of Floridians, the GOP thwarts them at every turn — whether it’s class size, the lottery, restoring felons’ rights to vote, and dozens more that are barely recognizable once the legislature gets their hands on them. Remember, they are the party of big business and not the party of you and me — all about power and money.

This is an example of an abuse of power on a local level: In 2016, the county approved a referendum relating to the North Lake County Hospital District. It gave the district the authority to levy an ad valorem tax not to exceed one mil to fund indigent care to qualified residents for another 10 years — until 2026.

It’s my understanding that Anthony Sabatini decided health care for indigents was not necessary and the millage should be zero.

I attended a meeting of the district on Sept. 9 to set the millage, and it was clear the fix was in. The issue was obviously discussed outside of a publicly noticed sunshine meeting, and the millage giving money to the hospitals, according to Sabatini, is “corporate welfare.”

At the meeting, I listened to many individuals in the health care services speak of the need for this funding, which was totally ignored by the majority members of the district.

Several members and the accountant suggested to at least set a minimum millage so the accountant could present various millage rates to the district (there can be no discussion if the rate is set at zero). It was clear to me that the chair, Barbara Price, was having none of that since she repeated over and over, “Zero millage.” Price allowed little to no discussion on the merits. Sabatini’s representative called in during this time to ensure all was going as planned.

In my opinion, the district obstructed the intent of the 2016 referendum, which may be an ethical violation, a violation of the public trust,a violation of the district’s fiduciary duty, and a Sunshine Law violation by the board and the legislator, who were discussing board business outside of a duly noticed public meeting. When will our elected officials learn they work for the people of Florida? This is an absolute abuse of power!

When will we say enough is enough?



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