Letter to the governor: How about a commissioner?

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Column by Lou Elliott Jones

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Dear Governor,

Hope this letter finds you doing OK.

Being governor in these economic times can test a politician’s ability to accomplish anything as your counterpart in California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, can tell you.

But you seem to have weathered the recent legislative session nicely. You got your Seminole gaming pact. You can brag about bringing money into education that kept the budget at the same level as last year.

In Levy County we won’t feel that education budget blip. We’re actually going to lose money — about $71 per student.

And you are signing in bills that send red light runners’ money to the state. It’s a pity Williston just got their red light system operational and they were counting on that cash.

You will get another $1 a pack out of cigarette smokers while the Levy County Health Department has doctors in offices smaller than a coat closet.

You will also get $30 from folks silly enough to not wear their seat belts while motorcyclists zoom down the road without helmets.

Heard you are running for U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez’ seat just days after your state party welcomed former House Speaker Marco Rubio to the race. Rubio has been running around the state for months collecting checks and talking about how he would change things.

You have had some changes in your office as a press secretary left and a new one came in and an appointments director’s position is vacant. And you have to build a campaign staff.

Heavens knows with the county experiencing 10.2 percent unemployment, a more than 10 percent drop in property values, about $4 million in unpaid property taxes from last year and county workers without a raise in three years, we are low on the totem pole for your attention.

But I gotta say that appointments director job needs to be filled — and fast.

That’s because gubernatorial appointments are a great way to show your appreciation to political supporters and to win the appreciation of new supporters for your Senate campaign.

I’ve been following your appointments this month and notice you have been busy with naming Points of Light, the physical therapy board, the orthotists and prosthetics board, the St. Johns Water Management District, a water and sewer district in Collier County, the State Board of Education, a southwest regional planning council, a drug policy advisory council, the state engineering board, a judge, a sheriff, an interim emergency manager in the wake of Emergency Manager Craig Fugate’s departure to head FEMA, and let’s not forget, because this is the Gator Nation, your appointment of Tim Tebow to co-chair the state council on physical fitness.

Here in Levy County we have had vacant seat on the county commission for more than six months. The approaching trial of the two indicted commissioners is only a reminder that you have yet to fill the final commission seat.

We are grateful that you filled the other one three months ago. Miss Marsha is busy learning everything she can about county operations as quickly as she can. She has been well received by Commission Chair Nancy Bell and the two can be seen together all over the county.

The Levy GOP, which hosted Mr. Rubio at a dinner a few weeks back, is so frustrated with your busy-ness that they are starting a petition drive to ask you to appoint Abraham Blitch, their two-time candidate to the seat. They are asking folks to write, call and chip in your ear on Abe’s behalf.

While this is is not an endorsement for Abe, it is a statement that after more than six months Levy County knows where it stands with you.

And I guess we know where we stand in terms of your Senate campaign.

Call me when you make an appointment. The office has my cell phone number.

Lou Elliott Jones is news editor of the Chiefland Citizen. She can be reached at news@chieflandcitizen.com or 493-4796.