Florida Politics Category

Craft beer in Florida meets Karl Marx

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

By Chris Ingram

State Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) has lead the fight on behalf of “Big Beer” interests to force micro-brewers who produce tasty craft beers to use distributors to sell their products.

Big Beer’s biggest cheerleader has taken thousands of dollars from the Big Beer lobby. She is so overcome with hallucination from her Big Beer buddies’ money, she has proclaimed to be like a mother, saying, “I believe I know what’s best.”

Among other things, the keg monitoring queen apparently knows it is best to limit competition, deny consumers the freedom of choice, increase the cost of buying a beer, and add layers of bureaucracy to budding businesses and the entrepreneurs who start them.

kelli-stargel-216x300

Photo: Florida’s keg beer monitoring queen is Sen. Kelli Stargel.

She is so caught up in the talking points of Big Beer, she has even defended the prohibition-era “three tier” system of beer distribution.

Under this neo-Marxian-like system (one that stresses the monopolistic rather than the competitive nature of capitalism), micro-brewers will be forced into a paper transaction with distributors in order for the micro-brewers to sell their craft beers at their own establishments. No beer will actually change possession between micro-brewers and distributors, but paperwork and money will exchange hands from the micro-brewers to the distributors – who will be acting as the middle-men in this non-transaction transaction; ultimately this will increase the cost to consumers.

Earlier this week Mama Stargel claimed (more…)

A Jake Fuller cartoon. Republicans to “Big Beer”: For all you do, this cash is for you!

Monday, April 28th, 2014
BeerBill clr

GOP takes its cash and tramples on free-markets and consumer choice in favor of big business.

Thanks to Republicans, you may have cracked open your last craft beer

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Published in the Tampa Tribune, Sunday, April 27, 2014

By Chris Ingram

In what has to be the new poster child of the laws of unintended consequences, craft beer brewers and their beer-drinking enthusiasts have to be scratching their heads and asking, “What happened?”

Craft brewers — or microbrewers — had gotten the Florida Legislature to consider a bill to allow the sale of growlers, half-gallon sized containers of beer that are prohibited by state law. Along with Florida, growlers are illegal in only two other states.

But before the growler bill they were advocating got to a vote, the Senate Rules Committee passed an amended bill that would allow the sale of growlers but would also heavily restrict the sale of virtually all craft beer sold by microbrewers.

The devil is in the details.

SB 1714 would permit the sale of growlers by microbrewers who sell fewer than 2,000 kegs of beer per year. So far so good, but not great. Brewers producing more than 2,000 kegs per year would be permitted to sell growlers, but they would also be required to distribute all of their beers, regardless of size, through an established beer distributor.

craftbeer1

Fla. Senate leaders want you to pay more for craft beer.

The effect of the distribution requirement would be higher costs to consumers, since the beer distributors would be due a large cut for their role as a middle man. Adding insult to injury, any microbrewery in the state producing over 2,000 kegs would have to sell its beer to the distributor and then buy it back (after a mark-up from the distributor), to sell their own beer in their own microbrewery.

Absurd!

Is it any wonder we call it the “Flori-duh” Legislature?

The bill is being pushed by (Click here to read the full column in today’s Tampa Tribune.)

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him atChris@IrreverentView.com.

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Uber and Lyft denied free markets

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Protecting the candle makers

Published in the Tampa Tribune, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Chris Ingram

I frequently travel on business to Jacksonville and have used local cabs to get to and from the airport. On a recent trip, the cab I was dispatched can only be described as less-than-suitable. It was old, smelled like cigarette smoke, the air conditioning didn’t work, and I had to dig between seat cushions, assorted crumbs and trash to find a broken seat-belt locking mechanism.

After picking me up, the driver asked if I minded if he stopped for a second to pick up some items that someone had left out with their garbage. He collected his new-found treasures and placed them in the trunk on top of my suitcase.

My prior experiences with cabs in Jacksonville haven’t been much better, and my occasional cab encounters in Tampa have been similar.

Last week in Jacksonville, I tried Uber. My car showed up early. It was a late-model sedan. It was clean. Everything from the power windows, air conditioning and seat belts all worked.

Uber

Photo: Uber’s ap allows customers to place their ride request.

Even better, the driver was a delightful man who knew how to carry on a conversation using flawless English, with just a slight Sudanese accent. His name was Abbas. He came to the U.S. as a political refugee from Sudan 10 years ago. When he arrived, he had little more than the shirt on his back. A decade later, he has a college education, owns a fleet of 10 cars and employs over a dozen people.

Abbas is an American success story with deep lessons about the value of a good education, picking yourself up from nothing and turning yourself into something, through hard work and determination.

He has learned a lot about American government and burdensome regulations by helping with Uber’s fight in Tallahassee to break the monopoly that traditional cabs have in most markets.

Hillsborough County is one of those markets. In fact, we’re one of the worst — (Click here to read the column in today’s Tampa Tribune).

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.

Click here for more content on Irreverent View.

Please feel free to submit a comment on our blogs. By posting a comment you acknowledge reading and following the terms and conditions of posting found hereYou may also submit a comment by e-mail. If you e-mail a comment you consent to your comment and name being posted on the Irreverent View website. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, please state so in your e-mail.

The District 13 race: Local boy vs. machine-backed outsider

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune, January 25, 2014

On Wednesday, I sat down for lunch with David Jolly. Despite his jeans and untucked button-down shirt, he looks like a congressman. He has a low-key and modest demeanor, but his personal style doesn’t make him a slouch. Although no freshman member of Congress from Pinellas County (or Hillsborough, for that matter) could fill Bill Young’s shoes, Jolly is the most qualified and prepared to hit the ground running.

Congress_Race_Florida

Photo: Sink and Jolly. (campaign photos)

For her part, Alex Sink, the hand-selected candidate of Democratic Party leaders in Washington, looks good on paper (other than she’s not from the district), but as a campaigner, she’s more awkward than Miley Cyrus teaching an etiquette class. The party bosses must have forgotten Sink’s lackluster personality is why Rick Scott is governor. What they didn’t forget was (more…)

Waiting anxiously (snicker) for a new ‘Flori-duh’ lieutenant governor

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune, January 14, 2014

The best-kept secret in Tallahassee that is of zero consequence to Florida is who will Gov. Rick Scott select to be his lieutenant governor (and when will he do it).

For a guy who has built his entire political purpose around “jobs,” this is one job he can’t seem to fill. And who can blame him? The position is largely ceremonial, having only one constitutionally delegated power — to succeed the governor in the event of his death, resignation or incapacitation.

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Photo: Governor Rick Scott.

Any politician with the slightest yearning for a political future would take a pass if offered the opportunity to serve as lieutenant governor. In modern times, the lieutenant governor from Florida has never gone on to higher elective office.

This doesn’t keep Tallahassee insiders and political pundits from debating over which demographic group (women, blacks, Hispanics) Scott needs the most help with in his re-election campaign — and speculating whom he will pick to fill the biggest electoral demographic void. This is complete bunk, of course, because with the exception of the newly-minted lieutenant governor’s immediate family, pretty much no one is going to vote for Scott just because his lieutenant governor is black, or female or Hispanic.

Even though (more…)

Scott narrows field for lieutenant governor to two

Monday, January 13th, 2014

By Chris Ingram

Sources close to Governor Rick Scott tell me that Scott has narrowed the field of potential appointees to fill the lieutenant governor position to just two people: Hillsborough County Commissioner/former state representative Sandra Murman and Miami-Dade property appraiser/former state representative Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

The position has been vacant for ten months following the resignation of former LG Jennifer Carol. Carol resigned after being questioned by law enforcement about her role in an illegal gambling operation. Carol has not been charged with any crime and later said she was “forced” to resign. 

Carlos_Lopez-Cantera

Lopez-Cantera

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Murman

 

The largely symbolic position carries no constitutional or statutory authority other than as the person who is next-in-line of succession in the event of the governor’s death, resignation or incapacitation. The position comes with an annual salary of $125,000, a small staff, and an office and travel budget of approximately $500,000. The desire to attend lots of funerals of second-tier elected officials and other so-so VIPs, as well as putting on a happy face at Lincoln Day Dinners and various other events as the governor’s surrogate are job requirements.

The post is largely viewed as a political “dead end” as no modern lieutenant governor from Florida has ever gone on to further elective office. 

Commissioner Murman told me this morning that she, (more…)

Ideological opposites set a good example

Friday, December 20th, 2013

By Chris Ingram

Earlier this week, Kevin Beckner and Tim Euler were inducted into the Rotary Club of Tampa. I was proud to have sponsored both of them as members of the Tampa club, which celebrates its centennial anniversary next year as part of the international civic organization.

Kevin Beckner is a Hillsborough County Commissioner, a Democrat, and the county’s only openly gay elected official. He had spoken at the club earlier in the year and was interested in Rotary, so I invited him to come back as my guest and consider joining.

Tim Euler is the new Head of School at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa, where my girls are students. Tim is an unapologetic Christian conservative and a Republican. Tim moved to Tampa from Orlando over the summer, and we developed a friendship; as with Kevin, I asked him to be my guest at Rotary.

Kevin and I scheduled the day for him to attend his first meeting as my guest weeks in advance of the actual date. I had all but forgotten which day it was when I invited Tim to attend as my guest the same day. When I realized they were coming on the same day, a slight panic set it.

Panic because I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over with these two ideological polar opposites sitting together at the meeting. I considered telling one of them a little white lie to keep him from coming to the meeting on the same day as the other.

I decided to (more…)

A Christmas wish list

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

This year’s list includes Charlie Crist!

Photo: Charlie Crist

Photo: Charlie Crist

 

By Chris Ingram

With Thanksgiving past us, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas.

I only want a handful of things for Christmas, and fortunately for my loved ones, they didn’t have to fight people at the mall at 4 a.m. on Black Friday to get me what I want. Because nothing I want is sold in stores.

Here’s my hodge-podge list of what I want for Christmas.

Fix our roads. I would ask for less traffic on our area roads, but that isn’t going to happen. So instead, I am asking for a few things related to traffic that we can all do to make our roads safer and less congested.

First, I wish that everyone who feels the need to instantly respond to Tweets, texts, emails, and Facebook postings on their mobile device while driving, would put the darned things down and just drive before they rear-end someone and make some trial lawyer rich.

Second, I’m asking that people who feel the need to (more…)

The Pros and Cons: Should medical marijuana be legal?

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

By CHRIS INGRAM

Special to The Tampa Tribune Sunday, November 24, 2013
marijuana_debate_header

Thanks to a well-funded effort by ubiquitous trial lawyer John Morgan, Florida voters are likely to get the opportunity to vote for, or against, approving the use of medical marijuana next November.

For most supporters, the issue of medical marijuana is a highly emotional issue based on personal beliefs and scientific evidence that is often criticized by the establishment. Meanwhile, opponents say approving marijuana usage for medicinal purposes is a mere foot in the door that will eventually lead to approval of recreational marijuana use. That, they say, will lead to greater use of harder drugs and create more societal ills.

Personally, I have never used marijuana or other illegal drugs, and wondered what all the fuss is about. But I know plenty of people across the social spectrum who smoke pot, and it seems no more harmful than alcohol. The libertarian in me says take a laissez-faire approach: If it does no harm, let the individual decide for himself.

The “facts” on medical marijuana are as diverse as the people who smoke it. Credible studies from one side are countered with convincing conclusions by the other – and both sides have strong and plausible points.

At over $40 billion annually, enforcing our nation’s marijuana laws is expensive. Pot is big business not just for dealers, but for those who enforce our drug laws. And marijuana has the potential to be a boon for the pharmaceutical industry. If scientists are able to package the benefits of marijuana into a pill, it would be a gold mine for the drug companies. Those companies have a vested interest in keeping weed unavailable to patients in its natural state.

For the pro-legalization point of view, I spoke at length on two occasions with John Morgan. To date, Morgan has put more than $1 million of his own money to get the medical marijuana issue on the ballot next year.

For the opposing view, I spent a day with Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, discussing the issue as we patrolled the streets and went on a scheduled security check over Hillsborough County in a sheriff’s office helicopter.  (Click here to read the full column in Sunday’s Tampa Tribune.)

Gee still

Click on image to quick link to video interview with Sheriff Gee.

Morgan still

Click on image to quick link to video interview with Sheriff Gee.

 

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.

Please feel free to submit a comment on our blogs. By posting a comment you acknowledge reading and following the terms and conditions of posting found here. You may also submit a comment by e-mail. If you e-mail a comment you consent to your comment and name being posted on the Irreverent View website. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, please state so in your e-mail.

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