"A bill that has made its way through the Florida House and Senate by wide margins would subject cities and counties to litigation and fines if they commit the offense of obstructing the 'view zones' of billboards along the public roadways with tree clutter.
"Apparently, in Tallahassee they believe that what draws millions of visitors to Florida each year are lots of cheesy roadside ads touting time-shares and thrill rides, not the scenic natural beauty that some local governments try to promote with highway beautification efforts.
"It's no joke. Rep. Randy Johnson, R- Celebration, spoke in favor of the bill, saying that Florida's tourism industry 'depends on billboards, not trees'." (Lakeland Ledger editorial)
Looks to be the perfect "slam dunk" for the governor's veto, doesn't it? But we're in Florida, folks. It all depends upon his majesty's mood -- or "devious plan" -- when the bill hits his desk.
With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, here's a little poem to reflect the legislature's attachment to their lobbyist bosses. Will the governor be joining them?
How do I love thee?
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee for the size, the breadth and height
Thy billboards may soar; yet lose not sight
Of the reach of thy contributory grace.
I love thee to the dawn of everyday's
Most urgent need, by sun and neon-light.
I love thee openly, forget what's wrong or Right;
I love thee purely, as I seek thy Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
Along the roadside, with politician's faith.
I love thee with a love that dare not choose
A scenic view, -- I love thee as the breath,
The feeding hand, the blood of life! -- for, lest I should lose,
I shall but love thee more with each tree's death.
More on the legislation . . .